Under Pressure: Brown Rice Super Grain Congee Topped with a Breaded Maitake Mushroom, Asparagus, Avocado, Pickled Veg with or without a Soft Boiled Egg

What’s congee? It’s rice, rice baby. Rice porridge…cooked slowly for a long time or under pressure until the rice is completely broken down and soft. Rice gets a bad rap as a grain, but a staple of East Asian cultures. While white rice does not have much nutritional value, short grain brown rice has fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and manganese. Magnesium is good for or regulating blood pressure and offsetting sodium in the body. When the rice is cooked down into a porridge, it is easy to digest.  To give it even more nutrition, I included an seed and grain blend that included quinoa, hemp, chia, flax, amaranth, sprouted buckwheat, and sprouted millet. Topped with a Maitake mushroom breaded with a gluten-free nut breading, quick pickled radish, fermented carrots and ginger, avocado, sauteed asparagus, sunflower seeds and a soft boiled egg, this was a satisfying flavorful brunch.


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Rice rice baby: Winter squash stuffed with brown rice, asparagus, zucchini, sunflower seed, pine nut risotto

I am days away from beginning a cleanse to control my asthma and allergies as well as boost my digestion. And it has been cold and rainy. Perhaps that is why I have been craving creamy and grain based food.  My counter top was full of winter squash – kabocha, acorn, butternut – and it made me think about a creamy squash risotto. However, I often find that the squash is lost and not as flavorful in a risotto. And squashes are great to stuff. So I decided to stuff kabocha and acorn squash with a flavorful sprouted brown rice risotto made with zucchini, asparagus, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Creamy but full of texture. Flavorful. Nutritious. Satisfying.


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Stuff it, stuff it real good: Pumpkin stuffed with kale, asparagus, almonds, coconut milk and smokey cashew nut cream

During the holidays, as a vegetarian, I refuse to settle for side dishes or a store bought mock turkey as my meal.  I need a tasty impressive main meal – so my centerpiece is a stuffed pumpkin – typically stuffed with cheese and cream. As tasty as the dish is, I knew this could be made without any dairy and remain tasty. A hint of cayenne and hickory smoke, cream from cashews and coconut milk, almonds for a crunch and veggies for nutrition – this dairy-free gluten-free stuffed pumpkin has been a hit over the holidays.

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Talk dinner to me: Arugula and roasted vegetable salad with zucchini “ravioli” stuffed with basil almond “ricotta”

Hello again! It’s been six months since my last post. Life, job and motherhood got in the way again. Last year I began this blog to use food and diet as a way to look at my life differently, adjust my habits and patterns and change my life – and I succeeded. This year started on a downward slump and I was not feeling inspired or creative. I knew it was time to shake things up. Again. I tackled the one area of my life I knew I could control – my diet.

I recently completed a 21 day cleanse and now I feel leaner, meaner and cleaner. The last thing I want to do is turn right back into my old habits and overwhelm my system again. I have been making a lot of food I have previously posted here and coming up with new recipes that will help me stay on track and not reach for gut busting foods. One of my old standards for my family is a ravioli salad – rather than surround the ravioli with a rich sauce, incorporate it into a salad. However, I always feel heavy with the pasta and unless the ravioli is fresh made by an amazing chef or Italian nonna, I am usually not satisfied. So I crafted my veg based ravioli, eliminating the gluten, grain and cheese and grilled the veggies to enhance their flavor. Wait till you try this arugula and roasted asparagus, tomato and broccolini salad topped with faux ravioli made with zucchini, stuffed with basil almond ricotta. It will satisfy you at dinner and not weigh you down.


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Got Mushrooms? Cashew cream sauce with chanterelles, swiss chard and asparagus over spaghetti squash

I came home to find chanterelle mushrooms in the fridge. Chanterelles! They are golden looking, golden tasting, and golden priced. Typically priced at about $12-$14 per pound, they are an expensive mushroom. Their taste is delicate, but goes well with eggs and with cream. Since we had them, they had to be used – so I placed them into a cream sauce made from cashews, along with swiss chard and asparagus and served it over or mixed with spaghetti squash. What a heavenly meal.


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