Fuel 2 Live

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Category: Lunch

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash

This past weekend I had some free time, which is very rare, and I was able to take my kids to the local farmer’s market. It kinda chilly out so there wasn’t a mob of people out like most Saturdays. We were able to move around easily and didn’t have to wait at each vendors’ booth for very long. It was nice. I’m thinking cold mornings are the way to go!

While we were there I was at one of my favorite vendor’s booth picking out some red potatoes to add to my crockpot stew I will be making later this week, when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I spotted the most beautiful winter squash I seen all season. I decided that I would get a carnival squash roast them for one of my lunches this week. Then I saw that they were selling them 2 for $3 and of course I had to get two. They go for almost $2 a pound at the grocery store so this was a great deal.

Carnival squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and is a cross between an acorn squash and a sweet dumpling squash. The outside of it resembles the mix being shaped like  the sweet dumpling and having a mix of green, orange, and cream colors in stripes and spots like both. The inner flesh is sweet, creamy and mellow. It kind of tastes like a mix of sweet potato and butternut squash.

Since I had two of them I decided to make each of them in different ways. Since the last is similar to that of a sweet potato and butternut squash and both play well with sweet and savory seasonings I make one each way. This recipe is the savory one. It gives that creamy squash a bit of spice with fresh grated ginger and a little cumin. I didn’t include measurements for each of the spices because the amounts will differ depending on personal preference. I will, however, warn against adding two much of each spice. Carnival squash taste wonderful as it is and doesn’t need too much seasoning, just enough to enhance!

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash

Easy Roasted Carnival Squash

Ingredients:

1 carnival squash

coconut butter

fresh ginger, grated

cumin

salt and pepper

a dash of cayenne

Directions:

1. Heat over at 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove seeds.

2. Place halves on a baking sheet and rub some coconut butter on the inside flesh. Add seasoning and bake for 30-40 minutes or until you can easily poke a fork all the way through the flesh.

That’s it. Only two steps. Easy, right? Well that’s why EASY is in the name. Feel free to experiment with different spices and update me on your findings.

Quinoa Pumpkin Soup

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Happy Halloween everyone! Can’t wait to see all the creative costumes tonight. How many Princess Elisa’s do you think you’ll see? I’m betting on at least 20.  I, myself, will be going green and dressing up as a witch. I’ll post a picture of myself on my Instagram later tonight for all to see.

So I know it is the last day in October and I am sure that I am the very last person with a food blog to finally post a pumpkin recipe. This month has been insanely busy for my family and me. My daughter, husband, and my birthdays all fall in the month of October. I also had the honor of attending the four day Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) that was hosted in Atlanta this year. It was such an amazing experience. To be around so many people of like minds and not to mention all the free swag from over 250 vendors! I will be going through some of products that I got and will write a post sharing all of my favorites soon.

So, back to the pumpkin recipe. Fall is the time of the year where pumpkins take center stage. They are the most popular squash in my book and a stepping-stone to other varieties of squash. That includes kids. Most children will run for the hills if you try to feed them a dish that includes summer or acorn squash, but tell them there is pumpkin in it and you got their attention.  These bright orange fall staples are familiar to children. They see them craved as Jack-O-Lanterns, in pies and breads, and even eat the seed. Getting them to try pumpkin in another form shouldn’t be so hard. Just don’t tell them that the are part of the squash family just yet!

I picked up a pie pumpkin the other day and since the weather was getting cooler and the sky was a bit gloomy I decided that making a pumpkin soup would be fitting. This soup is not your typical smooth and creamy pumpkin soup. This soup is hearty, it is thick, and it has chunk! It also is very colorful, which makes it even more appealing to children. And did I mention that this soup is freezer friendly, gluten free, and packed with vitamins? Pumpkins, purple sweet potatoes, and kale are all packed with vitamin A, kale also contain vitamin K and C, and quinoa is a whole grain that is a good source of protein, fiber, and magnesium. This soup plays more on the side of savory with a little cinnamon spice. One of the reasons I love pumpkin so much is that you can go savory or sweet and still make a great dish.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, roughly chopped

5 cups of vegetable stock

1 Small pie pumpkin, skinned, seeds and guts removed, and cut into cubes *

1 medium purple potato, skinned peeled and cut into cubes

2 handfuls of kale

1/2 cup of quinoa

1  teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste

* Notes: To make it easier to skin and cut the pumpkin you could cut it in half and roast it, cut sides down, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You could also place halves, cut side down, in the microwave for 15-20 minutes.

Directions:

1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium heat. Sautee onions, garlic, and carrots for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

2. Place all remaining ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Once pot has started to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until the carrots, pumpkin, and potatoes are done. You’ll be able to easily stick a fork through them.

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Red Cabbage, Apple, and Beet Salad

Hey guys. I hope everyone had an amazing Fourth of July. My family and I had a blast!

Since we moved to Georgia, most years we head to my family’s house and catch the fireworks at the Let Freedom Ring celebration at Lenox Square.  This year my family is in Wisconsin attending my cousin’s wedding. Due to my crazy schedule (and  the cost of education these days) we were unable to travel with them. We send our love and wishes to the beautiful couple.

Even though my family was out of town, the festivities were not at a loss. My friend Rosalind invited us to her dad’s house. My two little munchkins made friends quickly with the other children, my husband hit it off with Rosalind’s father-in-law like they were best buddies for years, we had a glorious dinner, and we enjoyed the beautiful fireworks at Marietta Square. It was truly a blessed time.

A candid picture of my husband and I taken by my friend Rosalind

A candid picture of my husband and I taken by my friend Rosalind

Now it is just rude to show up to a party empty handed (especially in the South)  so I asked what was needed. Most of the food was already assigned to various family members but no one was really bringing dessert.  I decided to make red velvet cheesecake cupcakes inspired by Crazy for Crust’s recipe.  They were a big hit. I did sub a couple of things because a few of the ingredients are not things I keep on hand or usually buy.

A quick shot of the cupcakes taken with my phone

A quick shot of the cupcakes taken with my phone

 

One of the things I substituted was the food dye. Store bought food dye is filled with artificial and toxic chemicals that are linked to many health risk including tumors, hypersensitivity reactions, and hyperactivity in children. I always read the back of labels and if any of these added colors are listed I run fast and far away from the item. So what did I use in place of store bought food dye? Real food of course! I used beets to get a pretty red for the red velvet cake and I use red cabbage cooked with baking powder to get a bright blue for the frosting. No worries, I will post a how to make your own food dyes soon.

Because I only needed a small amount of beets and cabbage I had some leftovers. I decide it would make a great salad. I looked high and low, in the fridge, in the cupboard, and found a few things to throw together. And  it all worked. Really well. Seriously, this salad is so delicious even my four-year-old ate it up. Well, it did help that it was a bright pink color.  Take a look.

 

Red Cabbage, Apple, and Beet Salad

Red Cabbage, Apple, and Beet Salad

Ingredients:

2 c red cabbage, shredded

1 c beets, diced

1 c apple, cored and diced

1/2 of a small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tbsp. greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl mix the cabbage, beets, apple, onion, and garlic.

2. To make dressing mix the remainder of the ingredients. Pour over the cabbage mix. Cover and chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to fuse.

I ate mine over a spring mix and later had some by itself.

Red Cabbage, Apple, and Beet Salad

Sweet Potatoes and CHOCOLATE!!!

Whaaaaat!!!!??? I know what you are thinking, I must be insane and there is no way that is healthy, but I got a sweet potato recipe for you that is beyond delish! It is a pretty healthy dish as well.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, and Potassium. They are a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, and Beta-carotene. The high levels of Vitamin A and Beta-carotene make them a superfood for your skin. Some skin care ingredients like retinol are actually derived from Vitamin A and Beta-carotene combats free radicals (organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases). Plus they are low in Sodium and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Best of all they have a low glycemic index which means they are popular among diabetics and those who need to monitor their blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes have a glycemic load of only 17 compared to a white potato, which has an index of 29. Oh, and by the way, a medium size sweet potato has just over 100 calories.

So what about the chocolate? It can’t be healthy, right? Well if you where melting a Hershey’s bar over your baked sweet potato then I will have to go with no, it can’t be healthy. But I’m talking about organic unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s gives you just enough chocolate flavor without all the sugar and fat. Cocoa powder is a great antioxidant that protects the body from cellular damage that free radicals cause.

In this recipe I also add cinnamon, which is a wonderful spice all in itself. Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels and can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Cinnamon is a natural food preservative because it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage when added to foods. Cinnamon is not just for baking cookies and apple pies. It can work in many sweet and savory dishes.

Well here is the recipe for my baked sweet potato and chocolate.

I apologize in advance to those of you who have to have exact measurements for ingredients but I kind of came up with this on my own and it was all by taste. But don’t be deterred, play around with it and make it your own. Start with a little seasoning and after tasting it, if you feel like it needs more, add it.

I first pre heat my oven at 400 degrees. I take a baking sheet and line it with foil (great for the clean up). Bake the sweet potato until tender, about 45mins or so.  I slit open the potato and top with a little Earth Balance Soy Free natural buttery spread, or drizzle on a little EVOO.  I sprinkle a little bit of organic cocoa powder, cinnamon and a dash of salt. I sometimes go crazy with it and add just a little cayenne pepper too. The little touch of heat plays nicely with the sweetness of the potato.  And it’s as simple as that.

If you enjoy this recipe please comment. Plus add any changes you have made to make it your own. I am always open to new ways of eating sweet potatoes!

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