Acorn Squash with Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa

The other day at work, one of the ladies staying here, who has a beautiful garden where she grows her own stuff, brought in bags of acorn squash. I didn’t used to love squash. I didn’t grow up eating squash or even thinking that squash was a food; squash was a part of the decorations during Thanksgiving. But since I started getting organic produce delivered to me by Mama Earth, I (finally) gave it a try, I have really gotten into squash over the last year. All kinds of squash. So I was really excited about getting bags full of them. I’m always on the look out for different ways to make squash. I saw two recipes that I really liked and mashed them together 🙂 and here was the result!

capture_2016-11-01-19-17-22.png.pngIngredients:
1 acorn squash
1/2 cups quinoa
2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced*
1 bunch broccolini, cut into bite sized pieces
handful of shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, cut into quarters
2 stalks of green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt
garlic powder

*I was lazy and nuked the sweet potatoes and cut them into rounds.

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400ºF and line a tray with foil or parchment paper. Cut the acorn squash width wise so you get the nice flower pattern. Place on tray and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and garlic powder and roast in the oven for about 20-30 min or until tender.

While that is happening, cook your quinoa according to package instructions.

In a frying pan, add the sweet potato rounds and let it sear a little on both sides so they don’t fall apart on you as easily. Set aside.
In the same pan, add a bit of oil and when ready, add in garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in the broccolini and mushrooms. Cook until tender then add in the quinoa and cucumber. **I also added 6 tablespoons of hemp seed to add some protein here, optional.

On a plate, add a slice or two of the acorn squash. Top with the quinoa, then the sweet potatoes. Finally, garnish with the green onions. Enjoy!

2-4 servings

High Protein Mashed Potatoes

The other day I was super craving mashed potatoes. The problem with mashed potatoes is that there is zero protein or nutrition and that’s kind of an issue. I was Googling ideas to make it high in protein and found a recipe where the person added beans into the mashed potatoes. Since this was a last minute craving, and I was out of canned beans, I ended up using green lentils as my protein source so the mashed potatoes went from creamy white to a yellow-y colour.
Also added super garlicky spinach and added mushrooms to my mushroom gravy (I cheated here and just used the store bought packet ones) and this was the perfect vegan comfort dish. It was so delicious and so satisfied my cravings for mashed potatoes. Plus very simple to make, though admittedly, there were a lot of pots and pans to wash…so thankful for a dishwasher 🙂
The lentils were hard to mash because they were so tiny and gave the mashed potatoes some texture, though not in a bad way. But I think next time, I’ll try it with canned white beans that I’ll keep on hand.

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Ingredients:
3 large potatoes
6 bunches of spinach
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of lentils
mushrooms (as much as you want, or as little. I used cremini and enoki mushrooms)
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
splash of cashew milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
salt
garlic powder to taste
olive oil
1 package of mushroom gravy

Directions:
In a pot, boil water. Add salt and garlic powder for taste. While waiting for the water to boil, cut potatoes into thick slices. When the water starts to boil, add potatoes.

Boil a second pot of water to cook your lentils or beans in. Follow directions on package of lentils.

While waiting for the potatoes and lentils to cook, wash and chop the mushrooms and spinach into bite sized pieces.
Add olive oil to a heated pan and add garlic. When fragrant, add the spinach and stir around and immediately take off the heat. You can cook it longer if you wish, I choose not to.

In another pot, make the gravy as per packet directions. 5 minutes to it being done, dump in the mushrooms and let cook.

When the potatoes and lentils are ready, mash the lentils. Mash the potatoes and add a splash of cashew milk until preferred creaminess. Add the lentils and nutritional yeast and add more milk and salt as needed. Add in the garlic spinach and make sure it’s all incorporated.

Scoop mashed potatoes and then add the mushroom gravy on top. Enjoy!

A Failed Attempt at Vegan Gluten Free Baking

Recently, I tried out some Apple Cinnamon Scones that were so delicious that I thought I would make some to include in the BFF’s Christmas Breakfast in Bed basket. I followed a recipe for the best gluten-free scones ever, that was the actual name of the recipe so what could possibly go wrong??

The only thing I added was some cinnamon and since my local store was out of the xanthan gum and only had guar gum, I may have used that instead of the xanthan gum which shouldn’t have made that much of a difference according to my research. Plus the switch to gluten free flour.

This is what they looked like:
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They turned out GREAT, even smelled just as great! But then I took a bite out of it and it was horrible! It tasted weird and also like a salty weird. I don’t know if it’s the guar gum, which that is the only thing I could think of that would be new and weird tasting. Or possibly the butter. I used a dairy free butter, but I can’t imagine dairy and dairy free butter having that drastic of a taste difference.

I was so disappointed and unfortunately did not have time to make another batch. I am however determined to try it again and maybe with less guar gum next time. Or maybe I’ll just buy the  xanthan gum.

This project is to be continued!!

If anyone is interested in the recipe, it’s basically the same recipe as the Apple Cinnamon Scones with a few changes:

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups Gluten-Free Baking Flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I used guar gum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
3/4 cup additions (suggested: dried cherries, crystallized ginger, fresh blueberries, cinnamon chips or white chocolate chips)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Instructions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cinnamon.

Work in the butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. It’s ok for there to be larger crumbs of butter to not fully be incorporated. Stir in the apples.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and the apple sauce. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together until it comes together.

On a parchment, or on a clean surface, sprinkle flour on top. Pour the dough and divide it in half. Pat each dough into a thick circle.

Use a knife and cut dough into six wedges. Pull them apart gently so that there is a bit of a gap between each wedge. Brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle the sugar mixture on top.

Place the wedges in the freezer for half an hour, uncovered. While you wait, pre-heat the oven to 425°F.

After half an hour, carefully open the oven and place the scones inside. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Take scones out of the oven and let it cool before serving.

Quinoa stuffed Acorn Squash

I haven’t really been playing around with meals lately…sometimes I just get lazy and uninspired and I go to my few recipes that are tried and trusted. Plus I always make my meals to last for a couple of days, so it’s not like I’m cooking every day.

This week in my organic basket delivery from Mama Earth, I got an acorn squash. I have never cooked or eaten acorn squash before and I was a little apprehensive. But I looked on Pinterest for some ideas and this is what I ended up coming up with based on what was in my fridge/pantry.
This ended up being yummier than I thought it would be. Hope you enjoy it too 🙂

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Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
1 garlic, minced
nutmeg
salt
pepper
garlic powder
cane sugar
olive oil
1 cup quinoa
1 can kidney bean
4 pieces sundried tomatoes, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, bite sized pieces
2 meatless kielbasa, bite sized pieces

Ingredients:
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a tray with foil.

Cut the acorn squash in half length wise and then cut them into one inch slices width wise, so you get the pretty flower pattern. Place slices on to the tray and sprinkle with olive oil, nutmeg, salt, pepper, garlic powder (if you want it to be extra garlicky), and cane sugar to your liking.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until tender.

While the squash is cooking, make Quinoa according to packaging directions (usually two cups water to one cup quinoa). Add salt to taste.

In another pan, heat olive oil and when ready, add the meatless kielbasa (I used Tofurky brand). Cook for about a minute and add the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of water and keep stirring. When about ready, add the kidney beans and salt to taste.

To put together, put two to three slices of acorn squash on the plate to form a circle. Then spoon quinoa and kielbasa mixture on top.