The Peanut Butter to my Chocolate It’s been ages since I’ve made brownies. Because brownies are just too delicious. I try *not* to bake all the time these days, because when I do it’s hard *not* to eat the whole batch in two days. And […]
Rosemary for the win
When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal combo when it comes to fall cuisine.
And for the holiday table, dried cranberries and pecans are the perfect compliments to add a little nuttiness and tart sweetness to the mix. Pumpkin seeds add an extra crunch and extra fall vibes.
It’s a tried-and-true combination, so when I was coming up with my holiday menu, it was a no-brainer to add this salad to the mix.
Rosemary to the rescue
But I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with the dressing. I thought about going tart, I thought about going sweet. I even considered doing a creamy almond dressing. But none of them really hit home.
As I hinted at above, I do love roasting my squash with rosemary, however. And then it hit me: rosemary dressing. Duh! I’ve never been one to go fancy with my salad dressings – I used to hate salad dressing – so I wasn’t entirely sure what direction to go.
But then rosemary vinaigrette came into being and pulled the dish together so well. And of course, it’s pretty simple!
Health Benefits of Rosemary
I absolutely adore rosemary. This member of the herb family has flavor profile that is hard to pin down. It’s closely related to mint but with a very different flavor: it has a warming, slightly bitter, almost pine-like taste. Sometimes when I bite into it I swear I can taste butter. But that might just be my taste buds wanting it taste butter…! 😉
And rosemary just looks so cute, kinda like the needles on a pine tree! It’s pretty much the most festive edible addition to your dishes, and delivers all the dish-elevating flavor you could hope for.
And good thing it tastes so good, because although the small quantities typical of a single dish won’t deliver a significant nutritional boost, the regular addition of rosemary to your dishes will allow the benefits to accumulate.
Here are some of the ways rosemary benefits your health:
- Mood and stress balancer. It improves mood, clears the mind, and relieves stress in those with stress hormone imbalances. More, please!
- Boosts Immunity. Rosemary contains active compounds that are anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, and perhaps most importantly, anti-inflammatory. Win-win-win. These anti-inflammatory benefits are the most notable: the antioxidants carnosol and carnosic have been associated with reducing inflammation of muscle tissue, blood vessels, and joints.
- Improves Digestion. Rosemary also soothes digestive upset, including constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and upset stomachs.
- Memory Booster. Research into the benefits of rosemary on memory is ongoing, but it has historically been used as a cognitive stimulant and has more recently been linked to cognitive stimulation in elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Detoxifier. Rosemary is a mild diuretic, meaning it can aid in flushing out toxins during urination. In addition to helping eliminate toxins, pathogens, salts, and even excess fat when consumed regularly, it has been linked to improved liver health. Rosemary consumption is linked with faster healing time of the liver, which is one of the slowest organs to heal, as well as lower levels of cirrhosis.
- Skin health. Rosemary, particularly in its essential oil form, contains anti-aging benefits and helps to heal blemishes and maintain clear, hydrated skin.
Rosemary also stimulates blood flow, acts as an analgesic (pain reliever), and works as a breath freshener. Basically, what doesn’t it do…!?
How to Use Rosemary
- To Maximize flavor, cook with it. Add it to your dishes: bake with it, garnish, sautée, sprinkle it into soups and stews, and rub it into meat dishes. Basically, use it in every way you can think of.
- To maximize nutritional value: don’t cook with it. Ok ok, that’s totally contradictory. But cooking does reduce the benefits, so add it toward the end of cooking, or do both: cook with it and garnish with fresh rosemary once you are ready to serve!
- People even use rosemary essential oils to deliver a concentrated dose of the goodness.
Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Back to the salad. It does require a little oven and mortar and pestle action, so it’s not the quickest recipe I’ve ever done, but it’s still quite simple.
First I roast the chopped butternut squash, with – you guess it – rosemary. As the squash is roasting, I make the dressing and the rest of the salad. As it’s a warm salad, I heat the dressing in a pan then add the kale. At the end I toss in the cranberries*, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.
*A note on the dried cranberries. Frankly, I don’t eat much dried fruit these days because it contains a lot of sugar (natural sugar is still sugar). This salad works perfectly fine without it, but for the holiday table I add it in cuz it’s festive. Skip to keep it paleo-happy.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m pretty sure fresh pomegranate seeds would work really nicely too, and add a generous antioxidant boost to the feast!
Warm Kale Squash Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
A simple yet hearty and delicious warming salad with rosemary vinaigrette. Vegan, paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free recipe
Kale Squash Salad
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch kale, washed and cut into smaller pieces I use curly kale
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries *optional. may replace with pomegranate seeds
- 1/2+1/2 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 sprig rosemary optional
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the over to 400F. Places the chopped butternut squash on a pan and toss with the olive oil, 1/2 tbsp rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, checked and tossing halfway through.
While the squash is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Place the rosemary, salt, and garlic in the mortar bowl. Use the pestle to crush the garlic and rosemary and mash them together.
Slowly add the lemon juice and olive oil and continue to mash.
Transfer the dressing to a large pan and heat over medium. Add the kale, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté a few minutes, until the kale is bright green and soft.
Turn off the heat and add the pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries if using. Toss the ingredients together while the pan is still warm. The squash should be just about ready, so add that to the pan and toss all the ingredients together.
Transfer to plates and serve.
If using fresh pomegranate seeds, top with these at the end. I also sometimes add some sliced avocado at the end if I'm eating this as my meal.
Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can […]
Best Soup Ever
Pumpkins and squash are everywhere, and squash soup has been high on the to-do list. I’ve made several versions in the past, but this time I wanted to spice things up a bit and thought I’d add some ginger and turmeric. No joke, this may be one of my favorite soups, ever.
This creamy soup is so delicious and so filling it can really stand alone. Throw some cilantro and pumpkin seeds on top and you’re golden. Just like the soup.
This creamy butternut squash soup is full of goodness and robust flavor. With a touch of sweet from the squash and sour from a green apple, savory from leeks and broth, spice from ginger, turmeric, cumin and black pepper, and satisfying healthy fats from avocado and coconut cream, this soup captures the best of all worlds, in my humble opinion.
Even Better: Health-boosting benefits
The best part is that each of these ingredients is chock full of health and immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. Squash is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and an excellent source of manganese and potassium, which is a key component of blood pressure regulation. Green apples pack a punch of nutrition, as do leeks which are also cancer-fighting powerhouses.
And the spices are not just there for the flavor: they’re also chock-full of health benefits. Turmeric and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories and cumin improves digestion and enhances immunity, just to name a couple of it’s myriad health-boosting benefits.
And truly, a generous garnish of fresh cilantro ups the flavor factor dramatically – something about it just works so well in this soup (as long as you’re not someone who thinks it tastes like soap!). Plus, it adds a major boost of bonus health benefits. Cilantro improves liver function and is a powerful detoxifier: it helps rid the body of heavy metals like lead, which can not only cause a host of health issues, but can also interfere with antibiotic efficacy.
Cilantro also has strong antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress, lowers anxiety and improves sleep, helps balance blood sugar, prevents UTIs, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, relieves digestive issues such as nausea, indigestion, gas and bloating and protects against food poisoning, soothes skin irritations, helps support health menstrual function, and prevents neurological inflammation. Phew!
Finally, I added a sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds which add a nice little crunch and provide a hefty dose of magnesium and some added protein.
Creamy Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy vegan, paleo spiced squash soup packed with anti-infammatory and immunity-boosting benefits
- 1 medium butternut squash, chopped
- 1 green apple, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 heaping tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 cups vegetable both depending on size of produce and desire thickness, may add up to 1/2-1 cup more broth
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/4 cup coconut cream can sub full fat coconut milk
Boil the butternut squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to the bottom of a large pot and heat on medium.
Sautée the leeks and ginger with the turmeric, cumin, pepper and salt until tender and slightly browned. Add the Squash and apple and sautée until the spices are mixed in.
Add the vegetable broth, covering the ingredients. Depending on the exact size of your squash and produce and desired thickness of the soup, you may wish to add an extra 1/2-1 cup of broth. I added 3 cups and it made a very thick soup.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Heat for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the head and carefully add to your blender, or use an immersion blender. Add the avocado and coconut cream and blend on high until the soup is completely puréed.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley and sprinkle with raw pumpkin seeds to taste. I like to add an extra dash of cumin and turmeric on top as well as sea salt and black pepper to taste.
**may sub extra broth in place of coconut cream
More Soup for You It’s October and while the days have still been warm, the mornings and evenings are cool and the air has that distinct autumn crisp. I’ve totally been feeling all the fall feels. Pumpkin, squash, soup, and yes, more soup. So today […]
Cleanse your system the fun way
What is a Cleanse?
Who should cleanse?
- If you wake up feeling less than vibrant or energetic. If you feel like crap all the time. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below.
- If you struggle with keeping the weight off. As it turns out, not all calories are created equal. Sugar and refined flour have a unique effect on the body’s metabolism, and often trigger hunger and cause people to overeat. Not to mention, sugar triggers inflammation.
- If you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, or salty food-like junk. The fact is, it’s not your fault. It’s the sugar and the flour and the chemicals and the concerted efforts of the food industry over the years to hijack our brains so we become addicted, repeat customers.
- If you’ve never done a cleanse or detox. These days, all of us could use a little reset. And most of us could do with a little more self-care. Cleansing allows you to focus on self-nourishment. You and your body are your top priority for over a week. How great is that?
But wait, cleansing sounds hard!
When not to cleanse
The cleansing process
Bottom Line: It’s worth a shot!
Signs you need a Cleanse
- have trouble sleeping
- get headaches
- gain weight easily, especially in the belly
- feel exhausted and depleted
- feel a lack of focus and energy
- have trouble losing weight
- experience bloating or gas
- have digestive complaints
- have excessive sinus problems
- suffer from joint pain
- have acne, eczema or other skin problems
- feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
- feel stressed and overwhelmed
- experience mood swings
- crave sugar or starchy food
Symptoms of Toxic Overload
Below is a list of the many symptoms of toxic overload:
- weight gain or loss
- belly bloat
- painful gas
- frequent belching
- joint and muscle aches
- muscle tension
- skin eruptions
- inability to focus or concentrate
- foggy brain
- mood swings
- flu-like symptoms
- allergic reactions
- runny nose
Watermelon is good, and good for you Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is […]