Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh come on...y'all know how much I like to make soup...I try to limit soup posts...ok no I don't

At least this one is pretty darn unique.  We will call it the eye opener due to the fact that you may be able to cure night blindness just by eating one bowl...not really...probably two bowls though.  This is a slightly sweet but a little spicy (not in a hot way, but a tasty way) sweet potato and roasted butternut squash concoction with some beans, and to max it out in the end, just add a pat (or 6...I mean 2) of butter to your bowl and you can just feel those carotenes splittin' on up in to those retinols and being sucked right through your small intestinal the whole point here is that this soup has a few sources of vitamin A...I really hope you got that because....anyway, on to the soup.  For this spectacular soup you will need:
One medium or large sweet potato cubed - leave the skin on or you're not cool
One medium butternut squash halved
2 medium yellow onions chopped or stringy however you like
5 cloves of garlic with medium chop
1 package of frozen lima beans
1 cup red lentils (oooooweeee yummy)
3 cups veggie stock
8 cups water
1 tbsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
If you are like me - a little bit of grass fed butter for your personal bowl (totally optional)
First thing...preheat the oven to about 375-400.  Throw those onions in a hot stock pot with about 3-4 tbsp olive oil and toss a pinch of salt over them.  Give them a little toss around and then throw that cumin over them and stir it up to let that cumin get nice and toasty.   As the onions start to get clear and soft, throw those cubed sweet potatoes in there and be careful not to drool in to the pot while you are smelling the nice toasty cumin.  Throw a little pepper in and toss the garlic in also.  Stir it all around a little bit, just enough to let the garlic get fragrant and then pour in the veggie stock and let that deglaze all of the good sticky cumin and onion residue off the bottom of the pot.  While that returns to heat, place the squash halves skin side down on a pan and throw them in the oven and leave them alone for about 45 minutes.   Let the mixture in the pot return to heat and then dump the frozen lima beans all up in the mix.  Toss a couple of pinches of salt in there, let it return to heat and then add all that water.  Get the whole mix up to boil and then smack a lid on it, turn down the heat and let it simmer while the squash gets soft in the oven.  After the squash is soft, take it out and scrape all of that soft orange flesh out in to a bowl and then add it all to the pot and stir it all up.  For the last step, about 20-25 minutes before you want to eat it or store it, throw in the lentils while it is still simmering.  They don't take long to cook and are done when they are yellow instead of orange.  All done - you may want to salt to taste, or add a little cayenne to your bowl for some extra kick, just be sure to taste along the way and make sure you let the lima beans and sweet taters get cooked all the way through and you are golden....or more of an orange color in this case.  See better tonight!

Gluten free as always

Fruit...veggies....protein...millet and flax......oh yeah and chocolate baby!! Today's lunch!!

A long day at school going to class, studying for tests, working on projects and waiting around for this semester's first community gardening meeting calls for one thing....the Bento Box.  That's's a today's lunch post.  I just have to be extremely careful because I am on Clemson campus with a box that has almonds and peanuts in it...very dangerous situation here at Clemson due to the squirrel intelligence agency.  These nuts will have to be contained behind closed doors today. for lunch today we have a New Zealand grass fed sharp cheddar cheese sandwich on toasted millet and flax bread with some nice baby greens and some cracked peppercorns - which is some kind of speak for what we call pepper where I come from, but the sandwich sounds so much more "bistro" when I say cracked peppercorns, but let's face it...ain't nothin' bistro about this sandwich that was tossed together in about 2.634 minutes this morning while I tried to keep my dog from eating the over easy egg I had just made for breakfast.  In addition to the cracked peppercorn and cheese sandwich, we have a delightful carrot, dried figs, roasted peanuts, some raw almonds, and if you look very closely through the dark shadows of the snug little compartments of my lovely little lunch labyrinth you might just spy a small piece of chocolate lying in wait to melt in my mouth and deliver all of its yummy, bitter, 85% cocoa, short and medium chain fatty acids in to my bloodstream.  While you think that was a dramatic and ridiculous....borderline insane way of describing the smallest item in my box, think again and look it up.  There is a lot we don't know about fat....and then there is much we do know.  Try to love yourself more today and put some things in your body (through your mouth of course) that your body might just thank you for in ways that make your brain say nice things to you.  

Gluten free as always

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Staple

Here is a must have side for your arsenal of quick and tasties that can go along with pretty much anything.  I was in the grocery trying to pick up a few things to cook Sunday night dinner at my parents' and I noticed how nice and yellow the winter squash were so I picked one up.  The bulk portobella mushrooms looked darn good too so I grabbed a couple of those and I was off.  If you don't have an onion, garlic, a block of parmesan, a little olive oil and some butter lying around the house then you may want to grab those staple items also.  This side dish is quick and easy, but so good that if you're not cooking for four, you'll be dreaming all night about how you get to eat it again for lunch the next day (or maybe even breakfast).  Spaghetti squash is so called because after you cook it up, you can scrape the flesh out with a fork and it comes out in strands that are so similar to spaghetti noodles it is quite scary - it's like a little spaghetti noodle making machine.  If you're being carbohydrate conscious, or just trying to eat more veggies as we all probably should, then the spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta - you can even save the seeds and roast them up for a snack later.  For the spaghetti squash and mushroom side dish you will need:
1 heavy, yellow spaghetti squash (they're the oblong, round, yellow ones)
2 large portobella mushroom caps sliced
1 medium yellow onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic chopped fine or minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter (optional)
Salt and pepper
Get a pot of water (big enough to hold the squash) boiling.  You can throw in a generous portion of salt so that while the squash is cooking it takes up a little of that salty flavor.  Cut the squash in half longways - be careful cause these things don't just cut in two like a summer squash.  Lay the two halves in the boiling water and let them boil while you get over to the rest of the ingredients.  In a large skillet, heat up about 4 tbsp olive oil.  Don't do like I did and stick your finger in the oil to see if it is hot because that will burn your finger and it will hurt - it's hot when it just starts to give off a little smoke.  Throw your chopped onions in now and throw a small little pinch of salt on 'em.  As the onions are getting soft, you can slice up your mushrooms and check on your squash or if you're like me you can cut off a little pat of butter and eat it while no one is really looking.  Seriously though, make sure your mushrooms and garlic are ready before the onions start to get that nice little brown coloration - and when the onions are soft and slightly browned, throw the mushrooms in the skillet toss a half pinch of salt over 'em and let them get soft.  I always see on tv where they never wash the mushrooms or salt them because supposedly it changes the texture and all this mess, so if I am cooking them, I don't wash them - just thought I would throw that out there, but I did give them that little pinch of salt.  After the 'shrooms get dark and soft, toss in the garlic and give everyone a little stir around - if it's dry in there you can add a little more oil.  At this point, the squash should be done.  It will be soft to the prick of a fork.  Take the halves out and rake the flesh with a fork and watch the magic.  Dump all of the "spaghetti" in to the skillet with the 'shrooms and onions and garlic and mix it all up.  This is where I add the butter - if you're trying to avoid saturated fat or you don't like butter for some horrible reason then you can just add a little more oil or just don't add anything.  Grate a little Parmesan on top of the whole mess and you've got a side that might just take over the whole meal and decide that it is not a side anymore and that it is not going to take any abuse from anybody and it will now name itself the star of the yeah, it's pretty good.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  By the way, a piece of baked wild salmon and a nice green salad goes really well with this one.  Enjoy!!

As Always, Gluten Free