Black Bean and Butternut Skillet

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This is one of my favorite recipes to make EVER.  I am a beans and veggies kind of girl all the way, so it's no wonder this recipe if one of my favorites.

This recipe was originally supposed to have tortillas pieces stirred into it, but since we are currently grain-free/gluten-free, we leave those out.

For those of you who are cooking for a "where's-the-beef?" kind of husband, you may want to add some pre-cooked cut-up chicken or beef.  Adapt this recipe to fit your needs!

Black Bean and Butternut Skillet
1/2 T. oil
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
1 T. oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped peppers, any kind
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked and drained (equals 1 can)
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)

Mix the first 1/2 T. oil with the cubed butternut and roast in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
While the butternut is roasting, get out a skillet and prepare the rest of the dish.
Saute the onions and peppers in 1 T. oil until tender.
Add the minced garlic and saute briefly.
Add the chili, cumin, and paprika, and flour and cook briefly until fragrant.
Add the broth and simmer until thickened.
Stir in the black beans, salt, and roasted butternut.  Cook a little bit longer.
Top with cheddar cheese, minced cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream.
Leave a comment if you make this!

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Dutch Baby with Apples and Almond Butter Sauce (gluten and grain free!)

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If you've never had a Dutch baby before, let me introduce you!  A Dutch baby is like a cross between a pancake and a popover.  It will puff up in the oven, but don't be surprised when it collapses after you take it out.  The possibilities for toppings are limitless, but I usually like crunchy raw apples with a rich almond butter sauce that tastes like caramel for breakfast!

This particular Dutch baby recipe is grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free (not including the toppings).

Dutch Baby
2 T. butter
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
2 T. coconut flour
2 1/2 T. arrowroot or tapioca flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425.  Place the butter in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet or a pie plate.  Place the pan in the oven while it is preheating to melt the butter.

Meanwhile, place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the skillet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

While it is baking, prepare the apples and sauce:

Chop one apple and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sauce:
2 T. melted butter
2 T. almond or pecan butter
2 T. real maple syrup
a few drops vanilla
Mix all the sauce ingredients together.

When the dutch baby is done, sprinkle with the apples and drizzle with the sauce.
Serves 3-4.

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Winter Squash Pasta with Roasted Eggplant

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Winter Squash Pasta with Roasted Eggplant

1 eggplant
1/2 T. oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fusilli or rotini
1/2 T. oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove. minced
5 sage leaves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup cooked and pureed butternut, buttercup or any other kind of winter squash
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Roast the eggplant:
Preheat oven to 425.
Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Toss with 1/2 T. oil and 1/4 tsp salt. 
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or cast iron pan. 
Roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes (flip the eggplant halfway through to cook evenly).

2. Cook the pasta:
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until done.

3. Make the sauce:
Heat 1/2 T. oil in a pot.
Add onions and saute until golden and tender.
Add the garlic, thyme, and sage, and saute briefly until fragrant.
Add the pureed winter squash, chicken stock, milk, salt, and pepper and cook until thick and bubbly.

4.  Mix everything together:
When the eggplant and pasta are done, add them to the pot with the sauce and heat through. 
Top with cheese and enjoy!
 

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The Best Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 400.
Stab the spaghetti squash with a knife several times in different places so that steam can be released during baking.
Place the whole spaghetti squash in a baking dish.
Bake for about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cut in half.  But wait!  Make sure you cut it in half across the width- not the length.  The spaghetti "noodles" are wrapped like a spool of thread, so if you were to cut lengthwise, you would be cutting all those strands of noodle into shorter pieces.  You will get longer noodles if you cut it in half across the width.
Now scoop out the seeds.
If the spaghetti squash is not tender yet, return the squash to the pan with the cut-side down and continue to bake until tender.
When the spaghetti squash is done, you can use a fork to gently loosen and separate the strands.

A note from my experience:  The first time I ever tried spaghetti squash, I was so excited to cook it up! But unfortunately, the flesh didn't turn into noodles as it should, but was mushy and non-noodley.  I tried a second squash and this time IT WORKED!  So I want to encourage you that if you get one that doesn't behave properly, don't give up.   Just try another one!  I also occasionally get one that is bitter or has a rotten center.  Again this is not normal.  I always offer money back if you get a dud!

Of course, 99% of the time they are delicious.  I love to top my spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce (duh) or get fancy and do sundried tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

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Baked Parsnips

If you've never had parsnips before, this would be a great recipe to try them for the first time.  I asked my family what they though of these and they said the parsnips tasted like a cross between a baked potato and a steamed carrot.  So there you go- parsnips are nothing weird!

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Baked Parsnips

Enough parsnips to feed your family
1 T. melted butter
Salt and pepper
An onion, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut the carrots into 1/4 inch slices and toss with the melted butter.  Place in a glass dish with the sliced onions.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cover the dish (either with a glass lid or tinfoil).
Bake for 30 minutes, or until fork tender.

Pssst- low-carbers: You could mash these parsnips and they would be faux-mashed-potatoes!

Super Simple Sauteed Peppers

I am almost embarrassed to post this recipe- it's so simple.  But sometimes simple is SO GOOD.  

Need a quick vegetable side for a meal?  This can be thrown together in about 10 minutes.

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Note: You can use any kind of peppers you like- small or large, sweet or hot.

Super Simple Sauteed Peppers

1. Cut up some peppers and onions in about 1/4 thick slices.
2. Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet.
3. Saute the peppers and onions for a few minutes until brown around the edges.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Enjoy!

Eggplant Pizza Crust

This pizza crust is for all my gluten-free, grain-free, or Keto fans.

I made my regular  Thai pizza recipe  but instead of putting the eggplant on the pizza, I put the pizza on the eggplant! Haha.

I made my regular Thai pizza recipe but instead of putting the eggplant on the pizza, I put the pizza on the eggplant! Haha.

I figured out a way to cut and roast eggplant in the shape of pizza slices.

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Eggplant Pizza Crust

Preheat the oven to 425.

If you want your eggplant without the skins, start by peeling it. I chose to leave my skins on because I wanted the structure that the skins would give the crust.

Cut the eggplant into 3/8” slices lengthwise. I was able to get 6 slices out of an average sized eggplant, which made enough for a single-serving pizza. Cut the stem end of the eggplant slice into a triangular shape. (You can put your scrap pieces in the frig and save them for another recipe.)

Brush both sides of the eggplant with oil.

Arrange the slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the eggplant is brown and semi-tender. Don’t bake it completely tender because it will continue to soften when you bake it with the toppings.

It is now ready for toppings. I made my regular Thai pizza recipe but omitted the roasted eggplant as a topping ingredient, since the crust was eggplant.

Ready for toppings!

Ready for toppings!

Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Basil Dressing

Do you eat your potatoes with the skins on?  Did you know that 50% of the antioxidant activity of the entire potato is in the skins?  Also, the high fiber content of the skins slows the digestion of starch and sugar, giving the potato a lower glycemic value*.  Roasting potatoes is a great way to use them with the skin on

This is a great recipe to make with the fun colored potatoes we have.

This is a great recipe to make with the fun colored potatoes we have.

Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Basil Dressing

Potatoes- enough to feed your family
1 T. oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.  
Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces (no need to peel).  Toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper.  
Spread in a single layer on a baking pan (I really like using our cast iron skillet for this).  
Bake for about 45 minutes until they are crispy brown on the outside and tender on the inside, flipping halfway through cooking.

While they are roasting, make the dressing by mixing together the following ingredients (halve this dressing recipe if you are only feeding 1 or 2 people):
2 T olive oil or melted butter
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp honey
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2-3 T minced basil
Taste and adjust the dressing if needed.
When the potatoes come out of the oven, toss them with the dressing and serve!

*Reference: Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

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3 Myths You Don't Have to Believe about Eggplant

A couple years ago, eggplant was only a color in my mind.   I had no idea it was such a mild vegetable that cooks down into silky, brown deliciousness.  Now, eggplant is probably my favorite vegetable.

However, you might have heard some intimidating things about it.  Bitterness?  Sweating?  Turning brown?

Here are three myths you don't have to believe about eggplant:

#1- You need to peel it.  Nah- don't bother.  The peel adds texture and interest.

#2- You need to sweat it.  Supposedly eggplant is bitter and by salting it, you draw out all the bitterness.  I quit sweating it (pun intended) years ago and I have yet to meet a bitter eggplant coming from my own garden or any other local producer.  Save yourself the time and don't bother!

#3- It spoils quickly.  I have found that I can keep them at room temp on the counter top for several days.  If I only use half the eggplant for a recipe, I will put the other half of the eggplant in a bag in the frig and it will keep just fine that way for several days as well.

If you've never tried eggplant before, I hope this convinces you that eggplant is easy and fuss-free.  I will be sharing some of my favorite eggplant recipes, because I want to you to love eggplant as much as I do!

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"Tastes Like Summer" Salad

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I came up with this recipe because I wanted a salad that would showcase the best of summer flavors. 

I first taste-tested it on a group of moms and kids at one of our farm play dates.  After the salad had made its rounds and gotten thumbs-ups from the moms, a group of toddlers and preschoolers congregated around the bowl and gobbled it down!  They may have been more fascinated with the novelty of stabbing the food with toothpicks than being interested in the food itself, but regardless; they polished off the rest of the bowl!!!

The salad next made its appearance at our chiropractor's office (Inspired Chiropractic) when I handed out samples there.  One woman's eyes lit up when she tried it and she said, "Mmmm... it tastes like summer."  Thus the name of the recipe came about.

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Most recently, I passed out samples of this salad at a business meeting.  One man asked what the yellow vegetables were and when I answered "yellow tomatoes" he said, "Huh.  I don't normally like tomatoes, but I like THOSE!"

"Tastes Like Summer" Salad

Dressing:
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. raw local honey
2 roasted garlic cloves, mashed  (See how to roast garlic here.)
1/4 tsp salt

Vegetables needed:
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
Basil, minced

Cut up an adequate amount of vegetables to feed your family and drizzle with dressing right before serving.  The salad will become very juicy if allowed to sit, so only make what you will eat right away.

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