Archive for February, 2013

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

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In the dark, winter months sometimes rich, comfort food is what I crave. Here’s a dish that quickly became a favourite. It’s healthy, hearty and satisfies. Plus, butternut squash is full of antioxidants, vitamin A and dietary fibre!

4 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley

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Peel and cube a medium sized butternut squash, removing seeds and pulp. Cut cauliflower and onion into medium sized pieces. In a large pot steam all of the vegetables together for 10 minutes or until soft.

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Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Using a blender or an immersion blender combine steamed vegetables and 1/4 cup water and puree until it is smooth and creamy.

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Transfer mixture into a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add fresh garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add goat’s cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until cheese has melted and is mixed in.

Serve over pasta. Top with cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley.

makes approx 5 cups of sauce
2 weight watchers points plus per cup of sauce

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Groaning Cake: as featured in The Birth House

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I recently finished reading The Birth House by Ami McKay. This recipe is mentioned several times. At first it appealed to me because it sounds delicious. As I continued reading it, the biggest part of the appeal became the sense of tradition, womanhood and community that were represented through this cake. The book states, “the tradition of groaning cake, or kimbly at (or following) a birth is an ancient one. Wives’ tales say the scent of a groaning cake baked in the birth house helps to ease the mother’s pain”.”

This afternoon I am off to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a good friend’s new baby. It seemed almost serendipitous that I should come across such a perfect recipe for the occasion.

2 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves

3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple (grated, no skin)
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients except sugar. Add apple and stir well.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, orange juice, molasses and sugar and combine thoroughly.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix well. Stir in almond extract. Divide batter evenly between 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes until loaves are golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Additions: raisins, dates, dried fruits, or nuts.

Cut each loaf into 12.
3 Weight watchers points plus per slice
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Rainbow Fruit Spears

Here’s what I am bringing to work tomorrow for snack Friday! Healthy and beautiful treat option. Saw it on Pinterest and had to try it! strawberry, peach, pineapple, green grape, blueberry, blackberry, red grape, raspberry.
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Dragon Bowl Peanut Stir Fry

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One of my favourite vegetarian restaurants is The Coup in Calgary, AB. They make one of the most delicious stir fry dishes, and they call it a Dragon Bowl. This is my take on it…

Home Made Peanut Sauce
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp water
A dash of Tabasco sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
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Mix peanut butter, honey and soy sauce together. Slowly add water into the mixture until the sauce is smooth. Add tobasco, garlic and ginger and stir until thoroughly combined.

Steamed Vegetable Stir fry
2 medium carrots chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
Red pepper, cut into strips
Yellow pepper, cut into strips
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup snap peas halved
Bean sprouts
2 lime wedges
Peanuts
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

In a sauce pan bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil. Add rice, turn heat to low and cover. Cook approx 35 minutes until water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

In a large sauce pan using a steamer, bring a small amount of water. Add carrots and onion to the steamer first. Cook until slightly softened. Add the peppers, broccoli, snap peas and steam all vegetables together for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
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Layer the ingredients in a bowl, starting with the rice, then vegetables and spoon the peanut sauce over top. Then top with fresh bean sprouts, peanuts and a wedge of fresh lime. YUM!

11 weight watchers points plus value for peanut sauce recipe
3 ppv for 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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1 medium sized acorn squash
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 cup white mushroom, diced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomato, halved
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Turn oven to 375 F

In a sauce pan, combine quinoa with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then allow to simmer with a lid on for 12 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat.

Cut the acorn squash in half and remove seeds and pulp. Cook acorn squash face down either:
A) the oven in a shallow dish with a bit of water at 350 for 40 minutes or until soft.
B) in the microwave on a plate with a bit of water on high for 8 – 10 minutes or until soft.

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Allow to cool. Once cooled, spoon out cooked squash (careful not to puncture skin). Add squash to cooked quinoa. Mix together until smooth. Place squash shells aside, they will being used as bowls.

In a large frying pan or wok, over medium heat, add oil, onion, carrot and garlic. Cook until onion is soft. Add zucchini, red pepper, and mushrooms to wok and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes. Finally, add tomato, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Turn heat to low.

Spoon squash quinoa mixture into wok and mix all ingredients together. Let ingredients rest on low for 3-4 minutes.
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Place acorn skins in Pyrex dish. Scoop mixture from wok into the skins. Pack in with spoon. They will be more than full. Top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 minutes, then broil on high for 2-3 minutes until cheese is bubbling.

Serve hot.
7 weight watchers points plus

Power Start Smoothie

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1 cup fresh spinach or kale
1 small banana
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.

4 weight watchers points plus
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Portabella Mushroom Pizza

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2 portabella mushroom caps
2 tsp pesto
6 mini bocconcinis halved
6 cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup kale chopped
1 diced green onion
6 tbsp grated mozzarella
Fresh basil, chopped
Balsamic reduction (optional)

Turn oven on to 400 F. On a greased pan, bake mushroom caps for 3-4 minutes on each side to soften.
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Remove from oven. Spread 1 tsp pesto on each cap. Then top with red pepper, green onion, kale, cherry tomato and bocconcini halves. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Serve hot. Pairs well with a spinach salad.

WW points plus value 6

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