Cashew Cream Sweet Potato Mash

File this under “necessity is the mother of invention!” We don’t get much snow where I am, but we got a dusting yesterday. So, the roads closed right about the time I got to the bottom of my veggie crisper – oh, no!!

Lunch today meant getting a little creative with the giant (SERIOUSLY giant) sweet potato I had on the counter, and some cashews from the fridge. And it turned out AMAZING. Give this a try, even if it’s not the last food you have left in the house!
Cashew Cream Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients

Potatoes
– 2 large sweet potatoes (or one freakishly large one – I think I had a 2-pounder!), sliced into 1-2″ chunks
– 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have coconut)
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– sprinkle of salt

Cashew Cream
– 1 cup fresh, unsalted cashews
– water
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 cup Dried coconut flakes, unsweetened (can be omitted)

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the spices, stir, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the water, stir, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.

IMG_1321In the meantime, in a high-speed blender (like Vitamix), add the cashews, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut flakes, add water to come to just the top of the cashews, and blend until super-smooth and creamy, with no trace of the nuts.

When the potatoes are ready, put them in a bowl, and mash them with the cashew cream to taste. Top with a little more, just for fun.
IMG_1329
NOTE: You will have leftover cashew cream, which is AWESOME. Use it as an amazing fruit topping, in smoothies, over any baked goods (bread, whatever), eat it straight from your bowl as a treat, or just make more sweet potatoes tomorrow!

Health-Preserving Quick Veggie Noodle Soup

Healthy Veggie Pot

There’s not much cooking here, but a fair amount of chopping. It helps if you have a grocer with a good salad bar nearby … but even if not, it’s about 5 minutes of chopping, and I promise it’s well worth it!

2 quarts water
1 cup Broccoli florets, in small pieces
1-2 cups Sugar snap or Snow peas
2 Carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 Shiitake mushrooms, cut into matchsticks or finely diced
2 Chinese napa cabbage and/or bok choy, finely shredded
handful Bean sprouts, well rinsed

2 tbsp Sesame oil
2 Garlic cloves, pressed or cut to small dice
1 Small piece ginger, cut to small dice
1/2 Onion, finely diced
2 Scallions, sliced lengthwise, very thinly

2 1/2 cups vegetable or miso broth (or 2 1/2 cup Water + 1 tsp stock granules)
2 cups Udon, soba or rice noodles – cooked ahead/separately, or with the soup, per the below

Optional add-ins
Tamari or soy sauce
Asian Hot pepper sauce
Lime (wedges)
Cilantro

Put water on to boil, and prep the broccoli, peas, and carrots. Toss into the water and cook for 5 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, prep the mushrooms and cabbage. With a strainer, remove the vegetables (leaving water boiling) and rinse in cold water, and set aside. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, and bean sprouts to the boiling water, cook for one minute, then rinse in cold water, and add them to the rest of the veggies.

In a large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat, and add the garlic, ginger, onion, and scallions and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from heat, and carefully (so it doesn’t splatter) add the broth and 1/2 to all of the cooking water from the veggies. If you want the soup brothy, add more; if not, add less.

Add the noodles to the soup (using rice noodles will keep the broth nice and thin, as they’re less starchy), and cook until the noodles are ready. Add the veggies back in, top with sauces as desired, and serve.

Developed and posted by: Jennifer Silverberg, Eat Yourself Well

Easy Roast Veggie Polenta

Roast Veggie Polenta

I like this dish super-simple, to let the natural flavors of the polenta and winter vegetables shine. If you want to fancy it up a bit, feel free to add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end, or add just about any fresh spices you have on hand to the veggies, midway through cooking.

Serves 2

Polenta
1 cup organic (non-GMO) polenta
5 cups water or homemade vegetable broth
1 tbsp coconut oil
2″ x 2″ square of fresh parmesan cheese (optional – omit for vegan version)
1 tsp sea salt

Vegetables
About 8 fresh small turnips (about the size of a large radish), trimmed and quartered
About 16 small carrots (the kind sold in a bunch) – Washed, and if they are any bigger than your finger, slice them lengthwise
10 – 15 brussels sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher/sea salt to taste
Microgreens/sprouts as garnish, to add texture, flavor, and nutrition!

Note: I give these instructions in two steps because I have only one oven, and can’t cook the polenta and veggies at the same time. If you have two ovens, feel free to do both steps below at once!

First, start the polenta. Then, while it’s cooking, prep the veggies, and later add them to the oven.

Preheat oven to 375. This is the easy way to cook polenta – very little stirring! Measure the polenta, salt, coconut oil and water/broth into an oven-ready saucepan and stir. Place the saucepan in the preheated oven, and stir about every 10-15 minutes until the polenta is done (about 40 minutes). After the polenta has been removed from the oven, stir in the parmesan cheese, and keep the polenta warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, prep the vegetables, then toss them in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Put on a bake sheet in a single layer (really important – if they are overcrowded or overlap at all, they will steam and be mushy, rather than deliciously brown and crispy!). When the polenta is ready, pop the veggies in the oven and turn up the heat to 400 (425 if your oven runs a little cool). Roast, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned like in the picture above.

Plate the dish by placing the roast veggies over the polenta, adding the greens next to or over both. Add fresh ground pepper over all and serve.

Weekday Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

Weekday Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

This is one of my very favorite recipes, because it’s endlessly variable. Add coriander with the cumin. Top with that leftover salsa. Slip in some spinach … and on and on. But I digress … here is the basic recipe!

Makes Two Meals

1 cup raw quinoa – any type
1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tbsp cumin
splash of olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin – you’re cooking with it)
—————-
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
About 2 cups (or more) of arugula
1 green onion, sliced
—————-
1/4 cup tablespoons balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Optional: Avocado, pepitas, lime juice, walnuts, diced bell peppers, or anything else you have on hand!

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice the sweet potato into small squares (no need to peel first). Toss in just a small bit of olive oil, the cumin, and salt, put in single layer on cookie sheet (or similar) and put in oven for about 25 minutes or until brown. Stir once or twice so that they brown evenly.

In the meantime, rinse quinoa, place in saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

While they are cooking, put the raisins/cranberries, arugula and green onion into a bowl, and sprinkle with the vinegar, mustard, and salt, then toss to coat (yes, you can just toss it all in there and stir it around). Let sit for a few minutes, then add pepper and olive oil and stir it around again. Add any optional items you would like.

When it’s all ready, plate the salad, spoon some quinoa over it, and toss on the crispy, delicious, hot sweet potato.

And have fun with this … have some fresh herbs on hand? Toss ’em in. Like garlic in your dressing? Toss it in. Don’t have raisins but have apples? Go with that. Enjoy!

Bold Winter Greens Salad

Bold Winter Greens Salad

Bold Winter Greens Salad

This bold winter salad pairs well with hearty but simple winter soups like white bean, or veggie chilis. I usually find myself going back for second and third helpings – and it actually holds well in the fridge as well – so I make a LOT of this salad at a time.

Dressing:
1/3 C tablespoons olive oil
1/4 C tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raw honey (or regular if raw is not available)
1 tablespoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns

Vegetables/Fruits:
4 – 6 collard leaves, trimmed and finely chopped
1 bunch kale, with stems removed, then rolled (like a cigar) and thinly sliced into ribbons
1 head romaine lettuce, diced
1/4 small head red cabbage, diced
Optional: other winter greens, like escarole, chicory, or endive, sliced
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced – no need to peel
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1 large carrot, sliced horizontally using vegetable peeler
Optional: walnuts, crushed

Directions

Mix all dressing ingredients in a mason jar or similar, shake well, and sit aside to let flavors blend. Salt can be reduced a bit if needed, but not eliminated entirely, or the ingredients will not mix properly.

Chop all vegetables per ingredient instructions. This salad is MUCH better if the thicker greens, like collard and kale, are properly prepared by being thinly sliced!

Place all veggies in a large bowl, and toss with about half of the dressing. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, and then serve with remaining dressing added to taste. Top with walnuts, if desired.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie, Baked in the Shell

Pumpkin Pie Baked in the Pumpkin

Fresh Pumpkin Pie SliceOk, now THIS was a fun one to figure out! I wanted a fully REAL food pumpkin pie – nothing processed. And I wanted to bake it in the shell. And I wanted it to be fairly easy. Here you go: simple, healthy, and beautiful!

If you’re thinking of making this for Thanksgiving, you may want to make it once or twice ahead of time, too. Not because it’s tricky or anything, just because it’s delicious :-).

Ingredients
2 medium “Sugar Pumpkins” – these are NOT jack o’lantern pumpkins, they’re quite different. Look for ones marked “sugar pumpkins” or “baking pumpkins.”
1/2 cup maple syrup
3-4 tbsp “pumpkin pie spice” (or mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice)
1 tsp salt
1.5 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon vanilla
I also like to add some freshly ground nutmeg and a little fresh ginger if I have it on hand
Pepitas for garnish
Optional: 1/4 cup marscapone cheese – makes the pie super-creamy, but omit for vegan version
Optional: 2 eggs – they’re not needed, but some people prefer the texture of eggy pumpkin pie

How to make

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the tops off of both pumpkins, and cut one in to halves, leaving the other whole. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and other tissues and put aside (you can roast the seeds later if you like).

Pumpkin pieces ready to roastMix the maple syrup, spices, and salt, and pour into the “bowls” of the halves and the whole pumpkin, and spread around the inside surface. Place these on a large baking sheet and lay a piece of aluminum foil over all. Place into the oven – they are going to cook about 30 – 50 minutes (totally depends on the pumpkins, they can vary considerably), until softened but the shell of the large pumpkin is still solid (not collapsed).

Remove the pumpkins to cool. Put the cashews, a little water and vanilla in a high speed blender (like Vitamix) or food processor. Note: If you do not have a high speed blender, simmer the cashews in water for about 15 minutes, then discard the water before processing) Process until smooth, adding a little water as needed to make smooth. If you are using marscapone cheese and/or eggs, add them now.

When the pumpkin pieces are cool enough, pick them up and pour the remaining maple syrup/spices from them directly into the cashew mix and continue blending on low. Then, scrape the soft pumpkin pulp from the pumpkin halves, all the way to the skin (discarding skin), and add to the blender (still on low). Last, scrape about half of the pumpkin pulp from the whole pumpkin, leaving enough to preserve the structure, and also add this to the blender. Process until smooth. Note: you may overflow your blender, and have to blend in stages.

Taste the pumpkin mixture (assuming you haven’t added eggs) and adjust seasonings – I usually wind up adding some more spices at this point.

Pumpkin ready to go back into the oven

Pumpkin ready to go back into the oven. Note that the filling will expand a bit, so expect it to overflow if you fill to the edge.

When the filling is ready, slowly pour it back into the whole pumpkin, and put the “pie” back in the oven to bake for another 40 – 50 minutes or so, until the top is browned and the filling seems to be set. Remove, and let cool to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator to serve later (most people prefer pumpkin pie to be chilled).

I like to serve this topped with a little more cashew cream or marscapone, blended with a bit of maple syrup, plus a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds. Slice from top to bottom and put slices flat onto plates, then top with the cashew cream or marscapone. Beautiful and delicious – Enjoy!!!

Real Food Challenge: Kilospire’s Yellow Curry Stir-Fry

Kilospire Yellow Curry Stir-FryKilospire (super-cool blog run by my good friend, health and wellness researcher and life hacker Trevor Parks, and nutritionist, personal trainer, and triathlon coach Denise Whitson) has joined Eat Yourself Well for the REAL FOOD CHALLENGE, and has posted a great recipe that makes about 16 servings for $20 – feeing a HUGE family, and/or lasting for multiple meals throughout the week!

Ingredients are posted below (I make it without the chicken, but that’s up to you). The full recipe is at the Kilospire Blog

1/2 of 14 oz. tub of Mae Ploy Thai Yellow Curry paste $6.35 on Amazon
3 13.5 oz cans coconut milk ~$2.40 ea
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts ~$2.50 per/lb
5 medium sized potatoes ~$2.27
1 lb. carrots ~.60
1 medium sized onion ~ .20
1 green pepper ~.33
2 lbs. white or brown rice = ~$2.00
About $20 bucks. Shop smart!

Again, find the full recipe at the Kilospire Blog

Turmeric Green Tea – Antioxidant Blast!

Turmeric Green Tea

This super-simple green tea adds a blast of flavor and healthy antioxidants with a shake of ground turmeric … delicious and oh-so-healthy!

Preferably, use a tea strainer (like this) with loose green tea – the tea is less expensive this way, and causes less waste. If you don’t have one, it can be made with tea bags also.

Simple Instructions (makes two cups);

Add green tea and about 1 tsp (more if you like) powdered turmeric to a tea strainer. Bring water to a boil, take off the heat and wait a minute or two to let it cool just a bit. Put the tea strainer in the first cup and pour water over all. Let the tea brew in the cup for about 2-3 minutes. Then remove the strainer and move to the second cup to repeat the brew, adding about a half of a tsp of turmeric to make up for the parts that strained into the first cup. Again, brew for about 2-3 minutes.

On the choice of green tea: any type will be good, but recent tests among common brands have shown Teavana Gyokuro Imperial Loose-Leaf Green Tea to have the highest levels of EGCG (the antioxidant in green tea believed to be most responsible for its health benefits).

Good Morning Groats Recipe!

Groats Recipe - Eat Yourself Well

Nothing is better than waking up to a hot, delicious breakfast that is already cooked. Start these groats in the evening, and that’s exactly what you’ll have when you wake up on a cold morning!

Groats have a delightful chewy texture, are extremely high in fiber, and also high in zinc (great for cold season), bioavailable iron, selenium and vitamin E, among other nutrients. If your grocer doesn’t carry them, they’re easy to find online, at Amazon and other sites.

Pressure-Cooker (fast and simple)
Put two cups of groats with 6 cups of liquid (water, or a mix of water and coconut water or milk, apple juice, green tea, or just about any other liquid you like) into your pressure cooker. Allow to come to medium pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Add any add-ins you like, below, and serve!

Slow-Cooker (like the universe making you breakfast in bed)!

For easy cleanup, lightly grease the slow cooker with coconut oil. Add 6.5 cups of liquid (water, or a mix of water and coconut water or milk, apple juice, green tea, or just about any other liquid you like) to two cups of groats in the slow cooker. Put the slow cooker on low heat and cook for 8 hours. Stir, add any add-ins you like, and serve!

Add-Ins (This is where it gets REALLY fun) – pretty much whatever is in season!
Apples (chopped)
Raisins
Almonds (whole or chopped)
Peaches
Bananas
Coconut Flakes
Cranberries (dried or fresh, chopped)
Vanilla
Cinnamon
Berries: blue, black, straw, etc.
Walnuts
Hemp Seeds
Goji Berries
Chia Seeds
(You get the idea – whatever you like!)

Note: Though oats do not contain gluten, they are frequently processed in the same factory and can be contaminated. If you are sensitive to gluten, choose groats that say “gluten-free.”

Bittersweet Winter Greens Salad

Winter greens are delicious, with stronger flavors than most summer salad choices. That’s a good thing, so that they can stand up to the heavier winter flavors of root vegetables and so forth … but for small children and others that are more sensitive to strong, bitter flavors, you may want to balance the flavors with a slightly sweet dressing.

This recipe uses a quick “cheat” that is probably already in your fridge.
Bittersweet Winter Greens Salad

Bittersweet Winter Greens Salad Recipe

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery for a large bag of winter greens: escarole, sorrel, swiss chard, arugula, etc. Just before preparing the salad, wash the greens and let them dry in a colander. 

 

In a small mason jar, mix 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp jam – apple, berry, or other sweet flavor. Add a pinch of salt, a twist of pepper, and then put on the top and shake until well mixed. Pour over the greens (to taste), toss, and serve immediately.

Optional add-ins: any nuts, feta cheese, purple onions, dried fruits (cranberries are delicious), oranges or mandarin bits, or avocado (of course). Also great served over leftover quinoa or other grains.