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Sarah Lawrence

Sweet Potato Walnut Pilaf

I don't know about you, but I am always trying to think of ways to feed my family healthy foods that taste great, are easy to prepare and economical too!  Tonight, I'm sharing part 1 of this two-fer dish.  It's quick (30 minutes including prep), tastes great and will do double duty for you tomorrow night!
Nutritional-Know-How: I use sweet potatoes because they are rich in vitamins A, C, B6, B3, B1, B2, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium and fiber!  These high pigment powerhouses are anti-inflammatory wonders, help balance fibrinogen.  It's important to include a little bit of fat when eating sweet potato to unlock the potential of the beta-carotene in your body.* Walnuts not only add an earthy flavor but also contain an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid(ALA), copper, manganese, molybdenum and biotin.  Walnuts are a great source of gamma-tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E that has been shown to provide significant for the heart). The levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium along with other antioxidants in walnuts has been shown to help regulate blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and bone health.* Mushrooms are anti-cancer nuggets that are amazingly supportive of the immune system.  They became a part of our daily diet when I reviewed the studies cited in some work by Dr. Joel Fuhrman that found that "frequent consumption of mushrooms has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer by 64%" -- and we're not talking about a ton of mushrooms... we're talking about the equivalent of 1 button mushroom a day!!! * Millet is a great choice for many reasons... it's gluten free, high in protein(6 g/cup) and fiber(2 g/cup), rich in copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.  It looks a lot like couscous and can be substituted for couscous to make recipes gluten free!*

Sweet Potato Walnut Pilaf IMG_7582 Here's what you need to get started:
  • 2 lbs organic sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, minced
  • 1 cup millet, uncooked ~ rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 cups water + 1 Tbsp broth powder OR 2.5 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, minced
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  While you're waiting, spread the cubed sweet potato onto a baking sheet, drizzle it with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  2. In a small skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion and mushroom for about 5 minutes or until fragrant and soft.
  3. Add millet and water/broth and bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat.
  4. The oven should be hot enough now, so go ahead and put the baking sheet with the sweet potato on in and set your timer for 20 minutes.
  5. When the timer goes off take the sweet potato out of the oven and shut that off.  Remove the lid from your millet and taste it to see if it's done.  It's okay for millet to have a little bite to it, but you can also take it further to get it softer if you prefer.  When you're satisfied with the millet, turn off the heat, toss in the cooked sweet potato, the chopped walnuts and parsley.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as you like.
ENJOY!  And pop over tomorrow for Part 2 -- you're going to love what we do with the leftovers!   *Sources: Sweet Potato Walnut Mushroom Millet

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Sarah Lawrence

Christmas Menu - a Gluten Free Vegan Feast

Christmas is such a wonderful holiday... celebrating the gifts of love and friendship... enjoying time with our family and friends.  For me, it's a joyful time.  In the kitchen, I want comfort and cozy... and I want tasty, healthy food that doesn't take all day to make!  I confess that I usually try new recipes at holiday time.  This year is no exception.  I'd love to share the inspiration for my 2 favorite dishes with you and hope that they can be a spark for you too! Okay, the ladies over at PPK are simply brilliant.  With a few modifications of the PPK vegan Macaroon recipe my Gluten Free Vegan version was born.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy coconut and the macaroon is just one of those things that’s eluded me… but no longer!  Now you can enjoy them too!   I played with these a little and my favorite variation was pressing a whole almond into the top of the mound of dough, baking and then drizzling with chocolate instead of dipping the bottom... kind of like an Almond Joy if you're into that!  GFV Macaroons GFV Macaroons 3 oz extra firm silken tofu ¼ cup coconut oil 2 tablespoons coconut milk 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup sorghum flour or ¼ sorghum + ¼ cocoa powder (for a chocolicious version) ¼ cup almond meal ¼ cup arrowroot starch ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½  cups unsweetened shredded coconut whole almonds, optional ½ cup chocolate chips, melted using a double boiler Variations recommended by PPK: Chipper: Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips to the batter Touch of Orange: Add 2 tsp orange zest and omit almond extract Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheets with parchment. Puree tofu, oil and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Scrape the sides to get everything back into the mix.  Add the remaining ingredients except the coconut.  Pulse to combine.  Tip out into a large bowl and mix in the coconut.  The dough will be stiff. Scoop tablespoons of dough out of the bowl and onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use my nifty Pampered Chef medium ice cream scooper to get uniform balls of dough.  These cookies don’t spread, so you can get a TON onto a baking sheet.  But, don’t overcrowd them or they will take longer to bake. 15 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven should do the trick… golden bottoms and lightly toasted tops. Transfer to a cooling rack while you melt the chocolate (I like the double boiler method where you place your bowl with the chocolate over a pot with a bit of boiling water on the stove… the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water, rather it should be big enough that it rests on the rim of the water pot so the steam and heat from the boiling water will gently melt the chocolate as you stir.) Once the chocolate is melted dip the cooled cookies in and coat their bottoms.  Then set them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet to set. Pop them in the fridge if you need them quickly, otherwise, a while at room temp will also set them up just fine.   The other super stars of our holiday feast were these chickpea almond tart shells.  Green Kitchen Stories is a new blog to me, but I am already in love!  David and Luise created a stellar GFV menu for Bon Appetit and their filled version of these shells was totally inspiring!  The recipe posted here includes my modifications based on our tastes.  I found the original recipe to be a bit too salty so I've cut the salt.  Also, the coconut oil I use is raw and tastes very coconutty, so for our tastes and with the pantry items we use I prefer to use Earth Balance to play off the nuttiness of the almond and chickpea flour without giving the added coconut note (even though I love coconut... it just didn't work for me here).  I added flaxseed meal to bump the nutritive value of the shell and loved the extra nuttiness that the flax gave.  So, try the original version and try my version... then make your own!  The beauty of cooking is that you have the freedom to create things that suite your tastes.    I spread a thin layer of garlicky roasted eggplant puree on the bottom of each baked shell, then added a layer of braised kale (chopped kale, garlic, shallot, parsley, veg broth), and topped with a dollop of herbed mashed potato. GFV Christmas Feast 2011 Served these alongside Quinoa studded with cranberries, pecans and roasted yams; mesculin greens with raspberries; steamed carrots seasoned with cardamon... and the meal was divine. Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Makes 6-8 tart shells depending on the size of your pans Tart shells 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 1/4 cup flaxseed meal ¾  cup almond flour or almond meal 1/3 cup potato starch, tapioca starch, or cornstarch 1/8 tsp sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choice or 1 ½ Tbsp dried 6 Tbsp Earth Balance + 6-9 Tbsp cold water special equipment: small tart pans Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until a nice dough forms. Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface (using either the chickpea or almond flour).  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and press into your tart shells.  If your pans are non stick there shouldn’t be a need to oil them, but if they’re not then definitely give the pans a quick coating. Take a piece of dough and press it evenly onto the bottom of the 1st tart pan, then work it up the sides.  Use your thumbs to keep the dough from going over the edges while forming a nice uniform thickness on the sides.  Since I don’t know the size of your tart pans, you may need more of less dough to make this work.  The shells that we liked the best had less than ¼ inch thickness to the sides and bottom.  They bake up crisp and are not dense. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the shells cool before filling them.  The bottoms will get soggy if you leave a filling in for too long, so be prepared to serve within about 45 minutes from the time you fill these little beauties.

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