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Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Stew

Butternut Squash SoupCOCONUT CURRY BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW
My favorite thing about fall is the return of weekly soups to my crockpot. If you don’t have a crockpot, my advice would be to get one – as soon as possible. I purchased my first crockpot in college at Target for $7; and it’s still running. Last Christmas I upgraded to a bigger one with a timer, but the point is – any crockpot works and you’ll love the food it makes! This stew, in particular, is a favorite of mine and clients who’ve done our 28 Day Nutrition Program.

Loaded with nutrient-dense foods and spices that aid in reducing inflammation in the body, this stew helps to give the immune systems a boost for the change in season (and increase in colds!). Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash
6 cups coconut water (regular water is also fine or a combo of both; can add more water if needed/desired)
1 organic vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup adzuki beans, dried
½ cup quinoa, dried
Half (15 oz.) can Organic Coconut Milk
1 Tbls. each of: curry and turmeric
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. each of black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper (can do more/less cayenne based on desired level of spiciness)
1/3 cup organic peanut (or other nut) butter
Leaves from 3 stems kale, washed & stems discarded
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin horizontally & seeds removed

Directions:
(1). Remove the shell from the butternut squash and slice into cubes [check out this video tutorial: http://ow.ly/pxQEs for guidance!].
(2). Place water, coconut milk, spices and bouillon cube in the bottom of the crockpot and whisk to mix.
(3). Add squash, beans, quinoa and peanut butter.
(4). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8.
(5). Ten minutes before you’re ready to eat, add kale and bell pepper. Let cool before eating!

*If desired, you can also add organic sausage or free-range organic chicken breast (in step #3). We used kale and a bell pepper in this version, but feel free to use any other vegetables and leafy greens you have on hand! Some examples are chard, spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and even mushrooms!

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

spaghetti squash primaveraI love spaghetti squash. And this smorgasbord of vegetables on top of spaghetti squash is pure delight. In the recipe, you use store-bought marinara sauce. I usually make my own, but sometimes it’s nice to just pour it pre-made straight out of the jar. Do you feel me? My new favorite brand is Mezzetta Tomato Basil, filled with all whole food ingredients and found in PCC, Thriftway and QFC Grocery Stores here in Seattle. Regardless of the brand, always check ingredients – buy products that contain only ingredients you’d use at home to make a pasta sauce (citric acid and “natural” flavors excluded). I’m talking tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, wine, tomato paste; get the picture? And you don’t have to include every veggie listed below. You can swap, exclude or add in any others you’d desire. And last — enjoy. Let us know how you like it!

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 whole carrots, peeled and sliced thin
3 celery stocked, sliced
2 zucchini, quartered
2 yellow squash, quartered
Florets from 1 crown broccoli, stem discarded
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed (or other desired bean)
2 tsp. each of: minced garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning
Pinch of sea salt + pepper
1 jar store-bought organic marinara sauce (check ingredients – no chemicals, artificial preservatives or additives; only real food ingredients you’d use to make a sauce at home!)

  1. Hold spaghetti squash standing up lengthwise over cutting board and use a large serrated knife to slice shell off squash. Once complete, remove stem, cut in half and use a form to scoop out seeds. Fill a large glass bowl with ½” of water, then place SS on top and cover with saran wrap. Cook in microwave for designated times, based on size:
    – Small = 10 minutes
    – Medium = 12 minutes
    – Large = 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, cook carrots & celery in water (sparingly cover bottom of large sauté pan), covered and on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally & add more water as needed.
  3. Next, add garlic, seasonings, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and broccoli. Again, add more water as needed (always want a little on bottom to be able to steam the veggies). Cook, covered for another 8 minutes. At this time, add the jar of sauce + beans and simmer on low, covered for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove SS from microwave and carefully drain out excess water. Add vegetable primavera to the squash and stir to combine.

Kitchen-Sink Curry + Cauliflower Rice

We all have those days…where the fridge is filled with a bunch of random ingredients, we haven’t been to the grocery store in a few days (or week) and we want to throw something quick together for dinner. Enter the “kitchen-sink curry”. For grocery-less and extra busy weeks, it’s important to always have a stocked pantry. One of my staples is organic coconut milk – it’s great for thickening sauces and of course, is just plain delicious. I also always have a jar of Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (great whole food product found in the asian section of almost any grocery store). When I’m making a curry, I always use three staple spices: curry powder (that’s a given), turmeric and coriander; no specific measurements, like a little shake here and a little shake there + sea salt and pepper.
Ingredients I had “lying around”:
– Sweet potatoes
– Cauliflower (I’ve had the intention to make cauliflower rice for awhile now)
– Red Chard
– Yellow onion (1/2)
– PCC Organic Chicken-Apple Sausage
– My “curry staples”: organic coconut milk, curry paste and my spices
– 1 Tbls. each of: brown rice flour and coconut oil x 2
– Water, vegetable broth or half a vegetable bouillon cube

Kitchen Sink Curry and Cauliflower RiceWhen you’re making a “kitchen-sink” dish, you can use ANY vegetable you have around: yellow summer squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, turnips – the list goes on. You can choose to add an animal protein or not – I had PCC Chicken-Apple Sausage on hand that I set out to thaw earlier in the day.

So, to make, you’ll need three pans – saute, sautoir, etc. If three pans going at once sounds intimidating, don’t worry – this is how we make the meal quick: multi-tasking! You’ll put designated ingredients in each pan and cook at the same time. Chop all your vegetables first and your animal protein (if using). Then, make the cauliflower “rice” by adding cauliflower florets and 1/2 an onion to a food processor, chopping into “rice”-size bits.

#1 PAN: Add any vegetables with 1 Tbls. coconut oil in your largest sautoir pan (like a saute pan with high sides) – this will be the pan you end the curry in. Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
#2 PAN: Add animal protein and saute until browned. When done, remove from heat.
#3 PAN: Add cauliflower rice + 1 Tbls. coconut oil. Cook for 8 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt + pepper. Remove from heat when done.

  • When vegetables have sauteed for 5 minutes (they should still be a little “uncooked”), add 1 Tbls. flour and coat. Then, add 1/2 can coconut milk, 1 Tbls. Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste and either 2 cups water + half vegetable bouillon cube OR 2 cups vegetable broth. Stir for about 60 seconds (flour helps to thicken sauce). You can always add full can coconut milk or more vegetable broth to have more sauce.
  • Add animal protein (if using) and seasonings: 1 tsp. each of: turmeric, coriander and curry powder + sea salt & pepper. Stir to mix.
  • Cook, covered for 5 – 8 minutes, letting flavors marinate. At this time, add any GREENS (like chard, kale, spinach, etc.).
  • Serve over “rice”!

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Your [Not-So] Typical Gray Seattle Day

On a chilly day, we want something warm & comforting. In Seattle, that often means running to the nearest coffee house for that warm brew of goodness. But with spring just around the corner and with the help of my friends at the West Seattle Produce Stand, on THIS [not-so] typical gray Thursday in Seattle, my day was brightened in a better-than-expected way and yours can be too!

When we fill our bodies with whole, real and fresh ingredients, especially those derived from plant food, we see a huge shift in our energy levels and improvement in our digestion, to name a few benefits, while additionally not being able to overlook the mental boost we get from feeding our body good, delicious food!

Kale Salad & Mango

The best type of food to buy is always local and organic whenever possible. However, knowing where the food came from and trusting its source is just half the equation; once we have these fresh ingredients, to enjoy them, we need an idea of what to do with them, right? I consider myself SO lucky to live approximately 6 blocks from the West Seattle Produce Stand – where it’s not only convenient to shop this way, but the people there make it fun. Yes, I just said produce shopping was fun. There are three employees – owner Bruce (your soon-to-be favorite mate; he’s from New Zealand) and the ever-smiling Robby and Shannon; who are, by the way sooo helpful. Produce is not only their expertise, but passion, so gobbling up new facts and flavors from them is my new favorite past-time.

So today, on my typical Thursday, a visit to the WSPS not only boosted my body (from my purchases), but also my mood. I encourage all of our West Seattle community (clients, friends & strangers) to get down there ASAP and support not only one of our brightest local businesses, but feel good about the food you buy and the people you buy it from! All recipes posted below came from the Stand today; and if you’re wondering, yes, they were all DE-licious.

And PS: Tell them Whitney from Macks Mo sent you with love and you’ll receive $2 off any $20 or more purchase!

Pesto Kale & Arugula Salad:

1 head Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) Kale, ends of stems cut off then chopped into bite-size pieces

2 handfuls arugula

Handful of grape tomatoes, quartered

½ cucumber, peeled & quartered

1 whole carrot, peeled & sliced horizontally

1 avocado, meat sliced into cubes & pit removed

Leaves from 3 stems of basil

½ cup walnuts

1 tsp. minced garlic

Sea salt + pepper to taste

  1. To make pesto, combine last 4 lines of ingredients in a food processor with 1/8 cup water. Puree until desired consistency (smooth or chunkier; can always add more water).
  2. Add kale, half the avocado meat, arugula and pesto to a large bowl and get dirty. Use your hands to massage pesto & avocado into every inch of the salad (helps to soften kale and slightly “wilt”.
  3. Rinse hands and add remaining ingredients to the salad.

Fresh Homemade Vitamin Water
Inspired by and Adapted from Mama Earth Organic

Admission – I don’t have a pitcher. I know, as one who likes to play host to parties a lot I should. And will have one by the end of the weekend so that I can make MANY more of these! Hence the blender “pitcher”.  J

INGREDIENTS:

½ lemon, sliced horizontally

Leaves from 2 basil stems

1 lime, sliced horizontally

  1. Add fresh basil to the bottom of a pitcher. Press or twist a muddler (or wooden spoon) to bruise leaves and release the flavor; you don’t want to totally crush them.
  2. Next, add the lemon and lime, doing the same thing. Slightly muddling or pressing wooden spoon into them to release flavor. Add 1 cup of ice cubes then fill with water.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. And I would recommend letting the flavors steep together for at least an hour before serving! A great non-alcoholic alternative for parties! Or even a way to infuse plain alcohol for natural flavors (like vodka).

Shrimp Tabbouleh

This quick meal makes 4 servings and is great to make as a dinner with plans for leftovers or on a Sunday to have for meals throughout the week. With a fresh blend of tomatoes and herbs, this flavorful dish reminds me that summer is near.

Shrimp TabouelehINGREDIENTS:

1 lbs. medium raw shrimp, shell & tail on

1 cup bulgur

1 cup diced grape or cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled & sliced into 1/4’s

1 avocado, sliced into chunks

1 tsp. each of cumin & minced garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

Handful chopped parsley & mint (same amount between the two, about 1/2 cup total chopped

3 Tbls. olive oil

Sea salt + pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start the bulgur first. Boil 1.5 cups water, then add the bulgur and return to boil. Cover and turn off heat. Do not remove lid or move from heat; let sit for 25 minutes.
  2. While that’s cooking, prepare everything else: in a large bowl, add cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, parsley and mint. Separately, whisk 2 Tbls. oil, lemon juice & cumin. Add to vegetables and season with sea salt + pepper.
  3. With 6 minutes left on the bulgur, add 1 Tbls. + garlic to saute pan. Heat for 1 minute, then add shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and turned pink.
  4. Add bulgur & shrimp to large bowl and stir to fully combine flavors.

Quinoa, Kale & Sweet Potato Hash

Two things I love – sweet potatoes and kale. Quinoa is also in incredible grain that serves as a complete protein and is naturally gluten-free. I don’t obsess over anything being gluten-free or not, but let’s just say, texture and taste-wise, I tend to lean towards quinoa and brown or wild rice over pasta as a personal preference. This dish could be great as a full meal or play fiddle to a protein-centered dish. It’s also a great leftover that you can transform – like, for example poached or basted eggs over it for breakfast! Whenever you choose to eat it, know it’s a great go-to, as it takes under 15 minutes!

Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Kale Hash        SPQK 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 (thinner) sweet potatoes/yams, washed well & sliced horizontally [thinner in size are easier to slice; be sure to choose ones with red garnet colored skin]

1 Tbls. coconut oil

1 bunch of kale leaves, ripped & stems discarded

½ cup quinoa, uncooked

1.5 cups water

Handful of parsley, stems discarded & chopped finely

Juice from ½ lemon

Sea salt + pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, add quinoa and cook until water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Once quinoa is done, stir in parsley, remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, place sweet potatoes in sauté pan with coconut oil. Cook for 5 minutes, evenly coating. Add kale and a splash of water, then cover. You want sweet potatoes to steam, but stir occasionally and add water (as/if needed) so that SP’s don’t stick to pan. Cook until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add quinoa to sauté pan, add lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt + pepper.
  4. Great additions (any or all): avocado, crushed nuts, sliced olives, raisins or eggs on top!

Mo Tacos

If you know me, you know I LOVE tacos. And mexican food in general. However, when you go out to eat at Mexican restaurants, you’re not always in for the healthiest of fares. I have a few different taco variations, but this is one of the classics. With everything prepped, takes about 15 minutes. Set your turkey breast out to thaw in the morning and enjoy the leftovers over spinach for lunch the next day.

Mo Tacos

INGREDIENTS:

Half package of organic ground turkey (or beef), thawed

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed

1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

2 bell peppers, sliced into strips & seeds discarded

2 tsp. each of: cumin & oregano

1 tsp. each of: cayenne pepper (more for desired spiciness) and minced garlic

Frontera Organic Green Tomatillo Salsa

Shredded pepper jack cheese (full fat & check ingredients – I used Tillamook)

100% sprouted corn tortillas

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. per serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place ground turkey in a large sauté pan and cook until meat is browned, stirring often to break up the pieces. Drain and turn heat to medium.
  2. In a separate sauté pan, add sesame oil and minced garlic, cooking for 2 minutes.
  3. At the same time, add green chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne and black beans to the meat with 2 Tbls. water.
  4. After 2 minutes, add peppers to garlic and sauté covered for 6-8 minutes (until soft), stirring occasionally.
  5. Heat tortillas in a touch of olive oil in a grill pan or heat in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  6. To construct tortilla, start with meat, add peppers, then dress as desired with salsa, 1 Tbls. of cheese per taco and yogurt as “sour cream” if desired (I like the taste of Greek yogurt better than sour cream, but there’s nothing wrong with small amounts of full-fat, organic sour cream).
  7. Additional taco toppings if desired: lettuce, tomato or olives.