Sarah’s Warm Winter Drink

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I really didn’t know what to call this warm milk creation.  I certainly don’t want to call it that.  It is kind of a mix between horchata and Spanish rice pudding, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by calling it that because I made this recipe up. I don’t really know if it is anything like authentic Spanish rice pudding or Mexican horchata and that’s why we’ll refer to it as Sarah’s warm winter drink, a name that’s completely non-descriptive, whoops. It’s a pretty awesome drink though and you can make it several different ways so don’t let its disappointing name discourage you.  Vegan? We got you covered too.  Like most recipes and projects on Seasoned, we try to give you the gist of the recipe, but encourage you to make it your own. Katie and I cook depending on seasonal ingredients and what’s in our cupboards, which means lots of these recipes are adaptable.

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No Bake Mini Pumpkin Pies {Vegan + Gluten Free}

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Thanksgiving is a time of indulgence and as much as I love to nibble on holiday goodies, I hate the guilt that comes along with it. There is no reason you can’t make a concerted effort to eat clean, whole foods during the holidays.  In some cases it takes a little bit more effort, but with these mini no-bake pumpkin pies, it takes considerably less!  Pumpkin pie has been my favorite Thanksgiving dessert for as long as I can remember and while I love the original, I’m cheating on it with this new no bake, vegan and gluten free alternative.

This recipe substitutes out the eggs, half and half, butter and sugar for nuts, raisins, and natural sweeteners.  It’s also a recipe that can be made a day or two ahead of time so that you have more time to relax with your friends and family.  While it’s not technically raw because the pumpkin puree is cooked, this recipe doesn’t require any baking, which is pretty handy since your oven will probably be busy with other delicious eats.  Join me in feeling great about this year’s holiday dessert choices; your guests and your waistline will thank you.

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 Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 cups walnuts
  • 4 cups raisins
  • Pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon clove
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • pinch of salt

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 The how:

  • Pulverize 4 cups walnuts in food processor or high powered blender.  Add 4 cups of raisins and blend until they combine with the walnuts and form a dough.
  • Grease two 12 count muffin tins with coconut oil.
  • Firmly press dough into each cup (about a half inch) and sprinkle each with a tiny bit of salt. Place in the freezer.
  • After 2 hours run a butter knife around each muffin tin and pop the crusts out so that they’ll be easier to remove when the pies are completely finished.
  • Blend the pumpkin puree, cashews, melted coconut oil and maple syrup until combined. While blending, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, all spice and salt. If you like your pumpkin a little sweeter, feel free to add more maple syrup.  (The consistency should be nice and creamy, if it’s a little thick, add some coconut oil, if it seems runny, add some cashews. If you followed the recipe exactly, it will be just right.)
  • Spoon a dollop of topping onto each frozen crust. However the filling settles is how it will freeze so take the time to smooth or swirl it, whatever you prefer. Allow the pies about two hours to freeze.
  • Remove them from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Use a butter knife to easily pop them out of the tins. Top with a piece of walnut if you wish.
 *Recipe makes 24 individual sized pumpkin pies.

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See that? Easy as pie. Now go pop these in the freezer so you have something to nibble on during the parade tomorrow 🙂

 

 

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Fresh Guacamole

Happy Cinco De Mayo friends!  In the celebration of Mexican heritage and pride we wanted to pass along our guacamole recipe.  Guacamole is simple to whip up, which is why everyone should know how to make it by heart!  I also learned how to store guac without it turning brown, like not even a tinge brown so read on muchachos.  Arriba arriba!

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Vegan Rosemary Tomato Scones

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season.  Sometimes we use it in food, sometimes in alcohol and other times in our home.

Scones are a simple alternative to everyday breakfast foods.  I’m guilty of forgetting about these little treats until I see them piled up in coffee shops, but you don’t have to wait until you go out for this treat. Scones are extremely simple to make at home, and that’s coming from someone who shies away from baking!  They’re quick too.  Start this vegan rosemary tomato scone recipe, and you’ll actually be finished mixing and kneading by the time the oven is preheated.  Only dirty a few dishes will be dirtied, so you can clean up while they bake and by the time the buzzer sounds you’ll be sitting down with your morning coffee or tea.

Try this vegan version; it’s a bit healthier since it lacks the usual butter and heavy cream.  It’s always nice to build a vegan and vegetarian recipe repertoire to accommodate vegan guests, introduce healthier alternatives to dairy and meat loving friends or round out your own diet. These scones are not only yummy, but beautiful too.  The tomato gives them a nice orange color and the roughly chopped rosemary really stands out.  It’s an easy way to add a pop of color to your breakfast and you can even make them the night before (bonus!) if you’re entertaining.

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Rice & Pulses Two Ways

I originally wanted to title this post “Rice & Beans Two Ways”. After a bit of research I learned that lentils are not officially a bean, but chickpeas and lentils are both pulses.  Pulses are the subset of legumes that are harvested for their dried seeds, differentiating them from other legumes like green beans and peas that are eaten fresh.  On with it then…

While the term rice and beans may conjure up images of Mexican or Tex Mex cuisine, today’s dishes reflect the flavors of middle eastern cuisine. I like both recipes because they push me outside of my seasoning comfort zone. We all have that selection of herbs and spices that we use on a regular basis, and we’re happy with the results, so that’s not the issue, but sometimes it’s nice to shake it up, and that’s what these dishes do!

Speaking of seasonings, another good reason to get out of your comfort zone and eat dishes with a variety of herbs and spices is because there are so many health benefits associated with both. Cumin, my favorite spice lately, protects against cancer and encourages the secretion of pancreatic enzymes necessary for good digestion and nutrient absorption. The second recipe contains turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant with proven cancer-blocking activities. Parsley’s a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C, the latter protecting against rheumatoid arthritis. Cinnamon is considered to have one of the richest sources of antioxidants and studies have shown that it lowers the risks for a variety of type 2 diabetes factors.

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Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Beets, Pumpkin Seeds and Citrus Parmesan Dressing

This salad’s citrus dressing combined with the flavor of roasted beets and the crunch of the pumpkin seeds creates a flavor that’s sure to please, making it a super healthy alternative for lunch or dinner.

Do you ever dine out and wonder why restaurant salads seem so much tastier than those prepared at home?  It’s because the chef had a certain vision and flavor combination in mind instead of chopping up every veggie in the fridge. I know I’m guilty of the latter eighty percent of the time, but not with this one!  The fewer the flavors, the more you actually recognize, taste and appreciate them.  I wanted a salad that had a warm feeling, hence the roasted beets, while simultaneously waking up my taste buds, which is where the citrus dressing comes in.  Butter lettuce is a great vehicle for the beet and pumpkin seed power couple.  Even though there are only four ingredients, this salad is packed with vitamins and minerals that have some pretty powerful effects and there’s even some protein in the mix.  If you prepare the beets ahead of time, you can throw this together in five minutes, making it perfect for lunch or a colorful appetizer before dinner.

Quick tip before you begin:

  • Roasting beets takes some time, so I usually do this step the night before.  I like to roast a bunch of beets at once so I have them in a pinch.  You can store roasted beets for up to a week in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • Head of butter lettuce
  • 4 small beets
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4 stems Cilantro
  • 2 oranges, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs parmesan cheese
  • 2 shakes of salt and pepper

Equipment:

  • Sheet pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Pairing Knife
  • Skillet

 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.  This is a flexible temperature; if you’re cooking something else you can throw them in at that temperature. Cut the leaves off of the beet near the bulb and then scrub them clean. Wrap each individual beet loosely in aluminum foil without drying them off first.  Place them on a baking sheet in case they drip.  Check on the beets after 25 minutes by sticking a fork through the center.  If it goes in easily then they’re finished.  The bigger they are the longer they’ll take, but most beets are cooked completely after an hour.  Once the beets are finished roasting, take them out of the oven and unwrap them to cool.  Once they’re cool enough to be handled, peel them by rubbing them gently with a paper towel or using a pairing knife.  The peel should separate quite easily; if it doesn’t then the beets probably need to be a roasted a little longer.
  • Next you want to roast the pumpkin seeds.  Put them in a small skillet over medium heat.  Shuffle them back and forth every two minutes or so until they’re lightly browned.  The seeds quickly turn from roasted to scorched so keep an eye on them, it should only take about five minutes.

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  • While you’re roasting the pumpkin seeds, wash the lettuce and chop up the beets.  Pull the leaves off of four or five stems of cilantro and add them to the mix.  Top with the warm seeds and your salad is complete.

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  • Now it’s time to mix up the dressing.  Juice two oranges and add a little zest to the juice.  Mix in the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, cheese (leave it out if you want to keep it vegan) and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  Whisk it with a fork and give it a taste.  Adding a bit more of anything your taste buds think it lacks.

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  • Pour some dressing over the salad and then cut it with a knife and fork.  I think this is the best way to mix all the flavors together, which is why I don’t rip up the lettuce leaves while prepping the salad.  Take a big bite and enjoy your fresh and healthy meal.

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A note about our star ingredients: If you’re not a beet lover, I’m begging you to give them another chance.  Beets are high in vitamins like A, B and C and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, and iron just to name a few.  I’m always looking for ways to get more iron since I eat a veggie heavy diet (otherwise meat is a great source of iron) and that’s where beets and pumpkin seeds come in handy-they’re loaded with iron.  Back to the beets, they contain betaine, which is used to help treat depression and tryptophan, which relaxes the mind similar to chocolate.  Beets are also an aphrodisiac because they contain high levels of boron, which is directly related to the production human sex hormones, so eat beets and get busy.  If all that isn’t enough, I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, but if you come over for dinner be prepared to eat it or beat it!

Now about those pumpkin seeds, you can substitute in another roasted seed or nut, but I chose pumpkin seeds because they’re a good source of vitamin B, E and K and they have loads of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.  Like beets, they also contain tryptophan which helps produce serotonin.  Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc, which means they’re a natural protector against osteoporosis.  They also add some protein to the salad.  The list of benefits goes on, but I don’t want to overwhelm you, just go ahead and pat yourself on the back for treating yourself to this salad.

While you’re chowing down, think of all the great benefits of beets and pumpkin seeds and know that you did something great for yourself today.  Even if making a salad is the only thing you did besides sitting in bed, typing posts and dreaming up new recipes.  If you’re one of those who thinks a salad won’t cut it for the entire meal, that’s cool and that’s me most days, just whip it up as an appetizer!

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