Thursday, October 18, 2012


The other day I had this intense craving for spaghetti and meatballs. I think I will blame the change of season, a very hungry baby, and a rough week. That being said, a good hearty, "feels like home" meal was in order.

Now I know what your thinking. Me too. Squash? In place of pasta? Really? But it's true, spaghetti squash really can handle it's own when it goes up against it's carb-packed opponent. 


If you are looking to cut down on your carb intake, this is the perfect place to start. Pasta is one of those sneaky places you can pack in the calories without even knowing it. Rarely is a serving size enough. Spaghetti squash allows you to forego those rather empty calories. This squash has 42 calories per cup vs. a popular GF pasta brand's 200 calories per 2 oz! Instead this squash provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals.


If I told you that lentils don't produce gas [you know, the embarrassing kind] would you give them a try? What if I said they are super high in soluble fiber which is known to reduce many common Western diseases? How about if I mentioned that they help keep you feeling full longer? Not sold yet? Okay, well they contain a good amount of protein, are high in folate and at least seven minerals [including iron], and need no pre-soaking which makes them quick and easy to cook [although soaking will make them even more digestible and sprouting prior to cooking adds additional health benefits]. If you have never tried lentil I urge you to give them a try. Health benefits aside, they are delicious!


For the Squash:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lenthwise, and scoop out seeds. Set seeds aside to roast later. Place squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and add about 1/4 inch of water. Bake at 375 degrees until the squash is soft when poked with a fork [this could range anywhere from 20 minutes to and hour depending on the size of your squash]. Remove and let cool until you are able to handle it. Using a fork, gently scrape the squash from the outer edge down towards the center [across not lengthwise], pulling the squash to create "noodles". Repeat on second half. Place squash "noodles" on a plate, sprinkle with a little salt and cracked pepper, and top with pasta sauce and meatballs [see recipes below]. 

For the Meatballs:
Recipe adapted from "Veggie Balls", Natural Health Magazine, April/May 2012 Issue, p. 30

2 c. green lentils [pre-soaked, optional]
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dry thyme
2 tsp. sea salt
3 T. tomato paste
10 - 12 button mushrooms, finely chopped
3 T. ground chia seeds mixed with 9 T. pure water to create gel
1/2 c. ground oats
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley or 3 heaping tablespoons of dried parsley
1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts
Bring lentils and 2 quarts of water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, 20 - 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Saute onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt in the olive oil over medium to high heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for 15 more minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and set aside. 

When vegetable mixture has cooled enough to touch, add in the lentils, chia gel, ground oats, parsley, and walnuts. Mix well using hands. Refrigerate for 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, form the mixture into balls and line on baking sheet leaving about a 1/4 inch space between them. Lightly coat balls with either olive oil spray or dip your fingertips in a little olive oil and dab. Roast for 30 - 45 minutes or until browned and firm.

Note: You can also top millet, quinoa, or rice with these veggie balls. I like cooking 1/2 part quinoa + 1/2 part millet in vegetable broth and 1 - 2 T. of ground turmeric root powder [don't even get me started on the benefits of this!]. Top with veggie balls and cherry tomatoes and season with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

For the Sauce:

I use homemade canned pasta sauce. I love the recipe found in The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving. You can also use any store bought pasta sauce but please purchase an organic variety in a glass jar to reduce your exposure to chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


Pumpkin pie really needs no introduction. It's a fall classic, at least in our home, and is one enjoyed over and over again. This is a gluten free twist on the traditional pie and crust. Enjoy!



2 c. gluten-free old fashioned oats
1/4 c. unrefined, organic coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. raw, unfiltered honey or maple syrup
1/2 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour or brown rice flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
splash of almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently press into glass pie dish and bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.


2 c. of homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 c. raw, unfiltered honey or maple syrup
1 c. homemade non-dairy milk [homemade coconut, walnut or cashew milk works great here]
3 T. ground chia seeds mixed with 9 T. of warm water [should form thick gel]
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Place all in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour pumpkin mixture over prepare crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 50 - 60 minutes or until the center of the pie firms up and cracks form.

Remove from oven and cool until pie dish is room temperature and than transfer to refrigerator to cool completely. Cut slices of pie and gently flip onto serving plates. Top with homemade cashew whipped topping.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


When I think of fall, I think of pumpkins. Few things get me more excited this time of year than pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin shakes, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin fries - pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! When harvest time comes around I crave them more than any other food. There is something so warm and fall-like about them - a richness and depth of flavor that only a season of hard summer work can bring.


And not just beta-carotene. Nope, that beta has an estimated 500 family members. And you thought your relatives were a handful. Actually this family, called carotenoids, actually work best when all together. Just another reason to eat whole, fresh plant foods!

Pumpkins and carrots are both packed with a variety of carotenoids including: beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All are useful, if not critical, in preventing cancer - specifically bladder, cervix, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Some studies have shown a risk reduction of 30 - 50 percent [20 percent in post-menopausal breast cancer]! Moreover, beta-cryptoxanthin has been shown to have strong antioxidant properties which are helpful in fighting off and reducing the risk of many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Carotenoids, working as a team, provide enormous benefits for the eyes by protecting them from macular degeneration and cataracts.

Oh, and just so you know, a cup of pumpkin packs in more than 2.5 grams of fiber!


1 banana, halved and frozen
1 c. homemade pumpkin puree
2 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
1 - 2 c. homemade coconut, cashew, or walnut milk milk
juice from 1/2 a lemon
4 - 6 soaked dates + soaking water*
1 T. honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp. of ground cinnamon
large handful of ice

Place all in blender and blend on high until very smooth. Serve immediately!

Place dates in a 2 cup glass measuring jar. Cover with boiling water, enough to fill to 1 1/2 c. line. Let stand for 10 minutes.