Sweet and Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash

This work thing isn't working out! As you may have noticed, I have been a wee bit absent, since starting a new job. Today is the day that changes. I have been making excuses, telling myself that I will start again when I get used to my new schedule etc., but the reality is I don't think that will ever happen. Each weekend, as I am sure you know, I set off to do one or two things on my to-do list only to realize the couch feels so good! And let's get real Candy Crush won't play itself! Anyways.... I have decided to make a conciouse effort to do at least one post a week. If I cant do that....well then I guess I will just quit this ol' J-O-B of mine and get back to cooking! Along with that big change in my life, I have also decided to try the vegan thing again. I wouldn't say 100% vegan, but a solid 95% at least. I feel like life without cheese will be like amputating a leg rough to say the least, but I am stopping at the health food store on the way home to pick up some nutritional yeast, which I hear from vegans is a good cheese substitute. We will see.....we will see.

And of course I get out the dusty old camera to snap a pic.....and it is dead. Camera Phone it is!!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
1-2 tablespoons of chipotle sauce (depending on how spicy you prefer)
2 tablespoons cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon hoisen sauce
2 tablespoons ov olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut your acorn squash in half and then into 6 wedges. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a small bowl combined chipotle sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, and pepper. Using a cooking brush, cover squash wedges generously in the sauce. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until fork tender, removing every 15 minutes to glaze with remaining sauce.

Once done top with chopped cilantro, green onions, or sesame seeds or all three!!!


Red Kale, Asparagus and Mushrooms with Romano Cheese Polenta

I know, I know. I have literally been absent for months. I would come up with an amazing excuse....but I think it is just winter wearing on me. I only have so many hours of good lighting to take pictures with, and if I am not feeling the cooking vibe...well I think you know what happens. But now Spring is just around the corner. It stays light until almot 7:00pm! Despite the fact that there is a snow storm looming on the horizon because I live in Antarctica.... I mean northern Canada.... it seems like I can almost taste summer coming.  But since the first day of spring here.....is very different than the rest of the world I am doing a warm and cozy recipe with mushrooms and hot polenta.  A little asparagus in this recipe is just the spring I need to hold me over, until real spring gets here

Red Kale, Asparagus, and Mushrooms with Romano Cheese Polenta

2-3 cups purple kale, torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms*
1 cup asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup hot water
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup corn meal
1 cup mushroom or chicken broth
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup shredded romano cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you don't have dried mushrooms (and mushroom broth) , just used your favorite fresh mushrooms and chicken broth. I used a combination of dried and fresh. 

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of hot water, or enough to cover mushrooms in bowl. Set aside.

In a large pan heat olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until softened. Drain mushrooms, and reserve liquid for polenta. Add mushrooms and kale, along with a splash of mushroom liquid, stir reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale has begun to soften. Add asparagus, cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 

In a medium pot,  bring mushroom liquid and broth to a boil. Whisk in cornmeal and milk and reduce to a simmer. Continue to whisk for 5-10 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, until melted. Immeditely plate and top with the kale and mushrooms. Sprinkle with chopped chives and some extra cheese.


Poached Eggs and Brussel Sprouts

This is what nightmares are made of. For kids. Runny yolks and mini cabbages. Ever since I started making  brussel sprouts this way I literally cannot stop. I have had them 1-2 times a week for a month. I recently added the poached egg for a great little lunch. I really need to invest in an egg poacher....because as you can tell from the picture....not my best performance. 

Speaking of performances I did a workout today that was the bee's knees. I will post it below this recipe!

Poached Eggs and Brussel Sprouts
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 cups brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and Pepper
2 lemon wedges
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar

Makes 2 servings

In a large pan melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft.

While garlic and shallots are cooking, peel off any damaged leaves of the brussel sprouts. Cut off ends, and then slice as thin as possible. If you have the slicing attachment for your food processor this works great too. Add sliced brussel sprouts to pan and stir. Cover and cook for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat 6-7 times, always stirring after a minute to prevent burning or sticking. Once the brussel sprouts have softened, season with salt and pepper and set aside. 

You can poach your eggs however you please. If you have the old fashion tools, bring water and vinegar to a simmer in a small pot. Slowly crack eggs into the pot, using a slotted spoon to help keep their shape. Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on how runny you would like them. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and drain. 

Place a heaping spoonful of brussel sprouts on a plate, create a small crater with the back of the spoon and place egg inside. Squeeze a lemon wedge over egg and enjoy!

Thursday Burpee Pyramid

For this workout there are no breaks. You move from one exercise right into the other. I think that is why I almost puked felt amazing. The only pyramid part are the burpees, everything else is always a set of 10. 

10 burpees
10 squats
10 push-ups
10 box jumps
10 calf raises

9 burpees
10 squats
10 push-ups
10 box jumps
10 calf raises

8 burpees......

and so on down to 1 burpee

Death by burpees!


Red Quinoa, Apple and Carrot Ribbon Salad with Curry Citrus Dressing

I am sure one of you resolutions this years is to work out more, eat less junk food, or lose weight. I think 90% of resolutions made involve one of the above mentioned topics. My resolution is to eat more greens and to not get wrinkles  have at least 3 vegan days a week, along with some others you probably don't care about. Whatever you resolution is, I hope it last longer than the end of January and if it is to eat more healthy here is a great recipe for you!

Red Quinoa, Apple and Carrot Ribbon Salad with Curry Citrus Dressing
2 large carrots, peeled
1 medium apple
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

In a small bowl whisk together shallot, garlic, honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt, curry powder and cumin. Set aside. 

In a large bowl use a vegetable peeler to create carrot ribbons with the two large carrots. Cut apple into matchsticks and add to bowl, along with cooked quinoa. Roughly chop mint and cilantro and add to bowl, reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Pour dressing over carrots, apples and quinoa and toss to coat. 

Remove salad to a serving platter and garnish with fresh herbs a some fresh cracked pepper. 

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