Caramelized Roasted Tomatoes

Here is a terrific side dish for fish or chicken.  I actually made a big pot of quinoa and had the tomatoes over quinoa tossed with a little lemon olive oil and parmesan cheese…a perfect lunch!

I love the small heirloom tomatoes available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I used one container for this recipe.

Here’s what you need:

1 container small heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or 10 plum tomatoes

4 T extra virgin olive oil

1  1/2 T balsamic vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 t sugar

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange (cut side up) on foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper.  The garlic is messy but I placed a piece on each tomato one by one. ( I didn’t want any to be left out of the party!)  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to caramelize.  May be served warm or at room temperature.

Peace and veggies,

Melissa

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Sounds a bit strange but it’s actually really yummy!  I realized when I fell in love with pumpkin pie frozen yogurt last winter that a cold pumpkin smoothie was worth a try.  Pumpkin is packed with fiber and Vitamin A and is a good source of Vitamins C and E, magnesium, and potassium.  Beta-carotene is the amazing component that gives pumpkin its bright orange color and helps to ward off several cancers and protect the heart. Pumpkin is also low in calories; just 49 calories in a cup, yet has enough fiber to help fill you up.

Go on, you know you want to try it!!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 c  canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie-filling)

1 c plain low-fat Greek yogurt

1 frozen banana

1/2 t nutmeg

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1 c almond milk or milk of your choice

1 T maple syrup or agave

8 ice cubes

Blend, Sip, Smile

 

Peace and Pumpkin,

Melissa

Farmer’s Market Butternut Squash Soup

Sprouting Souls is back at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market today from 8AM until noon. Stop by to say hello and taste our warm and yummy butternut squash soup!

Winter squash is abundant at the farmer’s market and grocery stores now. Everything from Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, and then some, are easy to find, easy to fix, and chock full of nutrients that will help your whole family stay healthy this season. Did you know that squash has 214% of our daily allowance of Vitamin A? That’s a whole lot of good for the peepers! The most recent studies show that squash is an outstanding source of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories; key components to preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Here’s a really simple way to make butternut squash soup. For even faster preparation, Trader Joe’s is selling frozen sliced leeks and most grocery stores are offering pre-cut chunks of squash. You can add your favorite herbs and spices or a splash of white wine for a little extra flair or a dollop of Greek yogurt for extra creaminess. I love it just like this and so do the kids!

Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup sliced leeks

2 t grated ginger

salt and pepper to taste

Wash, dry and slice butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Line one or two cookie sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Pierce skin with fork a few times and place cut-side down on cookie sheet. Place in 400 degree oven for 60 minutes or until very tender. Let cool until easy to handle and then scoop the squash out of the skin and set aside. Heat 1 T olive oil in dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add sliced leeks and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add grated ginger and saute a minute or two more. Pour in broth, add squash, salt and pepper and blend until combined. Cover and cook on medium low for 20-30 minutes longer. If you want a thinner soup, add extra broth or water. Allow to cool a bit and then puree with an emulsion blender. (You can also place small batches in a regular blender, just be sure to let it cool first)

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Spaghetti Squash with Peas

I’ve always shied away from spaghetti squash.  Every time I see it in a recipe or referenced in an article it seems to be paired with a marinara sauce…I guess the two together just don’t appeal to me.  Anyway, they are abundant right now and I feel guilty every time I pass them up in favor of my favorite butternut variety.  Yes, guilty, like the spaghetti squash is screaming, “What did I ever do to you? It wouldn’t kill you to give me a try!”  So, I decided to buy it, cook it, and then figure out what to do with it.

It was actually easier to cook than a large butternut because I did not have to cut it in half first.  I just rinsed it off, poked it with holes, placed in a baking dish lined with foil, and put it in the oven at 375 degrees.  I checked it after an hour and it felt like it needed a bit longer so I left it in for another 15 minutes.  It was very tender and easy to slice in half. I then scooped out the long strands of squash, placed them in a bowl, separated them a bit with a fork, drizzled on some olive oil, salt and pepper, and took a bite. Quite good, not packed with flavor, but good.  I decided to steam some frozen peas and season with a lemon olive oil, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and sea salt.  I really like it!  So simple, yet filling and healthy.  Next time I’m going to try adding more veggies and feta or goat cheese!  Because it’s so easy to season with whatever makes you happy, it’s  a great dish for the kids to help with.  Let them add their own healthy toppings and you may have a new family favorite!

What’s so great about spaghetti squash?  It provides your body with folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.  It’s also super low in calories, 42 per cup!!

Peace and greens,

Melissa

Eating Low Glycemic Index Foods For Weight Loss

I’ve always believed that choosing  whole foods that also have a low glycemic index will help to ensure good health.  Low GI also means low inflammation, low inflammation means a much lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more ailments.  Chronic inflammation is the root cause of most disease.

Now it seems there is another reason for eating a low GI diet; long-term weight loss!  I have seen  a few articles about this lately and when Rich sent me this NPR story yesterday (thanks, hon!), it seemed worthy of sharing.  Check it out here:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/10/160757730/low-and-slow-may-be-the-way-to-go-when-it-comes-to-dieting

Peace and greens,

Melissa

Charlie’s Favorite Smoothie

Try this delicious smoothie on your most critical  little sprout!  Charlie came up with it himself and it is sweet, healthy…well, pretty fantastic!

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

1.5 cups frozen pineapple

1 ripe banana

2 T flax meal

1 big handful baby spinach

1.5 cups vanilla rice milk

handful of ice cubes

Why eat pineapple?  Loaded with vitamins and minerals, pineapple is  full of health benefits.  Manganese, a trace mineral, is needed to build connective tissues and bones.  Bromelain helps suppress coughs,  loosens mucus, and aids in digestion.  Pineapple is also known to prevent macular degeneration, which leads to vision loss, and alleviate arthritis. There’s plenty more, but I think you get the picture:)

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Melissa

Oh, and by the way, I am putting the finishing touches on our September Newsletter!   If your food cravings drive you mad, this is the newsletter for you!  Sign up just to the right!

Easy Stove-Top Fish with Italian Flare by Sprouting Souls

I have made this dish twice this month and both times it has been such a hit with the whole family.  The first time with salmon and the second time with cod.  It was proclaimed last night that the cod rendition was the favorite but both were delish.  I have to agree only because cod is so mild that there is no fighting over being center stage for flavor going on.  It just works together nicely.  This is actually a great way to make cod because lets face it, alone it can be pretty bland.  This recipe is so simple and it only takes about 30 minutes.  Serve it over rice, pasta or with a nice chunk of crusty bread, yum!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 tsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half

1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup of kalamata olives, cut in half

4-5 pieces of boneless, skinless fish (Cod or Salmon are great)

basil leaves chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, stir occasionally and cook until soft. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in artichoke hearts, beans and olives. Simmer for 10 more minutes.  Meanwhile, season your fish with salt and pepper.  Add fish to skillet, gently covering fish pieces with tomato mixture, cover and continue to simmer for 7 minutes.  Carefully turn fish over and cover to cook until fish is cooked through, about 7 more minutes. Can be served with rice, pasta or bread. Sprinkle with basil leaves. Enjoy!

What’s in it for you?

Kalamata Olives: high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E to protect your heart and joints

Artichokes: good source of fiber, vitamins C & K, folate, magnesium and potassium

Canellini Beans: high in fiber, low in calories, rich in protein (almost 2x as much as milk)

Tomatoes: cancer-fighting lycopene

Cod or Salmon: B6, B12, Omega 3

Keep it Simple. – Andrea