Friday, November 23, 2018

New York City Candy Sculptures and Hot Chocolate

The 22 degree temperatures didn't stop me from strolling around Manhattan the day before Thanksgiving. The change in temperature encouraged a lot of coffee and hot chocolate drinking by both the locals and the tourists. It noticed organic coffee shops springing up throughout Manhattan.

My 40 minute  walk began at Penn Station and then  towards Bryant Park on 42nd Street and eventually towards Central Park. Along the way to my destination, I passed all the newly decorated store fronts for the holidays!

Macy's Window

The windows of Macy's, Cartier, Saks 5th Ave, and lots of other NYC stores were very exciting and musical. ! In addition, I stumbled upon a delightful sculpture display in the Garment Center.

The  exhibit at the New York City's Garment Center's Art On The Plazas is called Candy Nations and features 20 sculptures by Laurence Jenkell, a well known French artist. 

The colorful national sculptures are each 9 feet tall and weigh 1450 pounds. Each sculpture looks like a piece of candy wrapped in the colors of the country it represents. 

On a warmer day, visitors would be sitting at the tables having coffee or lunch
The artist wants to share “an optimistic message of unity beneath external differences”

The exhibit is at Broadway between 36th and 39th streets. It is free and will be available until Dec 9-2018.

Next I enjoyed a little shopping in Bryant Park where the Holiday Village is open for Ice Skating, shopping kiosks, and food vendor kiosks that were in full swing.  With the exceptionally cold weather,  hot chocolate seemed to be in demand!

Skaters of all ages were enjoying a variety of types of regular and gourmet hot chocolate available and encouraged at the kiosks near the ice rink. 

Here are some of the kiosks with regular or gourmet hot chocolate
1. Max Brenner 
2. No Chewing Allowed 
3. ‘Wichcraft 42nd Street and 6th Avenue 
4. Crêpe Café 
5. Wafels & Dinges 

Despite the extreme cold, I had a wonderful walk in Manhattan - I was all bundled up but glad to finally reach my son's house to warm up!

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

This Thanksgiving be thankful for your health and prepare a meal that is good for you, light on calories and carbs, and still delicious. Recipes do not have to be dripping in fat or carbs to taste good.

I'm making 5 plant based recipes ( all gluten free of course) that can accompany the turkey or be eaten as the vegan meal.

I realized that almost everything that is traditional for Thanksgiving can easily be prepared vegan and gluten free except the turkey. Most families eat sides of mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

My vegan menu usually includes soup,  cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes or butternut squash, cauliflower mashed potatoes, Vegan blender pumpkin pie, etc. I'm sharing a few recipes: acorn squash with chestnut soup
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Mushroom Chestnut Soup served in an acorn squash 

vegan roasted garlic crowns

Roasted Garlic Crowns for spreading on gluten free crackers or gluten free bread

brussels sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts or Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

gluten free cranberry sauce

Cranberry Apple Chutney

cider glazed butternut squash

Cider Glazed Butternut Squash

Vegan Thanksgiving

See my post Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes for a complete holiday menu with recipes!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Dazzling Thanksgiving Salad

Dazzle your guests with this beautiful and healthy salad that I made for Thanksgiving with roasted acorn squash.

I recently tasted this fabulous salad at a friends' house. It looked like a side dish, but she called it a salad! Maybe because it served at room temperature which is great for freeing up the host from last minute heating.

It was made with lightly blanched kale, roasted acorn squash, sweet pomegranate seeds, sliced apple, and chopped pistachios! It was absolutely delicious any screamed fall!

I roasted extra squash to use in another recipe

I added some caramelized red onions, fresh red onions, and some dried cranberries!

Acorn squash is a delicately flavored squash that is seasonal for Thanksgiving and easy to roast.
Because the squash I purchased was organic, I didn't peel it and we ate skin and all! If you can't find organic, you will want to peel your squash.

OH!! and don't discard the acorn squash seeds! 

See my post on How To Roast Acorn Squash Seeds!!

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 30 minutes (if you use a fresh pomegranate)
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6

1 medium to large acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, and then sliced in 8-10 wedges
3 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds (  can buy from Whole foods already seeded)
3 tablespoons of chopped pistachio nuts ( I opened 10 nuts and chopped)
1 apple peeled, cored, and sliced
4-5 large ribs of uncooked kale
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
optional: 1 red onion cut into half moons and roasted at 375
Olive oil spray or vegetable broth for sautéing.. your choice

This recipe is not hard but has a few steps!


Acorn Squash:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place acorn squash slices on a parchment covered cookie sheet
Spray with acorn squash with olive oil spray or brush with vegetable broth
Roast for 30 minutes or until squash is entirely cooked and set aside

Kale: while acorn squash is roasting
Remove the kale leaves from 4 large kale ribs
Place leaves in a bowl ( discard the stems)
Cover with boiling water for 30 seconds
Cover with very cold or ice water
Squeeze, drain well, and set aside

Acorn squash, blanched kale, onion, dried cranberries and sliced apple. Toss and then sprinkle pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios. Set aside and serve at room temperature

Linking this salad to Souper Sundays Link Up Party where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie.

Shared on Beth Fish Read's Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Acorn Squash Seeds -Easy and Tasty

acorn squash roasted seeds

Do you discard the seeds from the acorn squash? - Don't-

The seeds from any kind of winter squash can be roasted in the oven and are delicious and nutritious.

You may be most familiar with roasting pumpkin seeds, but it's just as easy and tasty to roast and enjoy the seeds from winter squashes like acorn squash, butternut squash, carnival squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, and delicata squash. 

winter squashes

I made roasted acorn squash to use in my Thanksgiving salad.
Seeds can be roasted easily.  It requires 3 easy steps to make 3/4 cup of tasty seeds from 2 acorn squashes. 
Enjoy the seeds instead of pretzels or chips which have practically no nutritional value.

acorn squash with seeds

My husband grew up in the Middle East where roasted seeds were popular and plentiful. When my husband was young, he remembers going to the outdoor movie theater where everyone bought a bag of roasted seeds to enjoy while watching the movie. He said that there were shells all over the place when the movie finished.

Nutritious seeds are A far cry from the sugary candies that I consumed at the movies when I was a child. That may be one of the reasons my husband has so few cavities. 

Seeds can be roasted with a little oil and sea salt or flavored with warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom or savory spices like rosemary and cumin. Any spice combination that you like will work. Personally, we are happy to eat them simply salted. 

Seeds offer substantial nutrients including magnesium, essential fatty acids, protein, calcium, potassium, and fiber. 

If you are discarding the seeds when you open an acorn squash or butternut squash, you are missing out on some substantial nutrition. The pulp and strings is much worse from a pumpkin. The acorn squash in minimal.

seeds and pulp
soak seeds and debris in a bowl of water and use your fingers to separate the pulp. When soaking in water, it comes right off!

pumpkin seeds
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How to roast seeds of winter squashes: 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
1. Cut squash in half and scoop seeds from squash
2. Rinse seeds in a colander and then place in a bowl full of water. 
3. Using your clean hands, swoosh through the water to  remove strings and pulp that stick to the seeds ( will come off easily in the water)
4. Drain well, pat dry, and place on parchment covered cookie sheet.
5. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt
6. Roast for 15-20 minutes until seeds brown and start to pop!

Remove from oven and place on a plate! Enjoy-
Some people eat the entire seed; some people only eat the inside of the seed . 

pumpkin seeds
Why not serve the squash and the seeds for Thanksgiving. Seeds make a healthy appetizer or snack that are naturally gluten free, vegan, and soy free. Perfect for all kinds of guests!

seeds from an acorn squash

Shared on Beth Fish Reads where anyone can share a food related post

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Roasted Garlic Bulbs For Taste and Health

roasted garlic

Have you ever had roasted garlic in an Italian restaurant? Amazing Right?

Unlike raw garlic, roasted garlic is soft, mild tasting, and creamy. It is delicious eaten alone, spread on bread ( gluten free of course), added to pasta ( gluten free) or vegetable dishes.

It's really easy to make and makes a beautiful interesting presentation when served as a bulb!

roasted garlic bulbs

Each little pocket if filled with a soft wonderful roasted treat.
I like the idea of serving it as a vegetable- one bulb for each person as a side vegetable. I ate two of them.

Antibiotic Properties- Can it beat a cold? 
Now here is the best part. Not only does roasted garlic taste amazing, it is really good for you. It actually has antiviral and antibiotic properties. Perfect for flu season!

The other day I was starting to come down with a cold. I started my routine of hot herbal tea, Manuka honey, and extra vitamin C and zinc.

I came across an article that said to eat 2 roasted bulbs of garlic for its antibiotic properties at the start of a cold. I figured I had nothing to lose so I tried it. I have to say by the morning my cold was gone. Now I did this before my cold became full blown. I find you have to catch it right away at the first onset.

Thanksgiving Side Vegetable? 

It taste so good, that I am thinking of serving it as a side for Thanksgiving! Or maybe as an appetizer to spread on gluten free bread!

Yes, garlic is full of antioxidants and has antibiotic and antiviral properties.

Roasted garlic

So if you are looking for something a little different to add to your Thanksgiving table, try roasted garlic . 

I drizzled the garlic bulbs with olive oil, cracked pepper, and Himalayan pink salt. What a flavor!!
It doesn't have the sharp bitey taste of raw garlic. The roasted garlic is mellow and mild tasting.

1 bulb of garlic per person
olive oil or olive oil spray
Cracked pepper
Himalayan pink salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Remove paper from each garlic bulb as much as possible.
Slice across the top of the garlic to get a flat surface
Place garlic in a greased baking dish
Drizzle with olive oil ( or spray with olive oil spray)
Dress with cracked pepper and salt
Cover dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes until garlic is soft.
Remove and serve warm or at room temperature.

Use a small cocktail fork and remove garlic from inside of each pocket

roasted garlic bulbs