Autumn Salad

We’ve recently had a cold front come through the Lowveld, the mountains are looking particularly misty and there is a serious nip in the air. I don’t mind, subconsciously late September to me is still the beginnings of Autumn not Spring, and along with most of the USA, I’ve been having a hankering for pumpkin-flavored everything.

Butternut is often my pumpkin substitute in certain dishes because it is readily available and equally delicious. When the weather cools down, I love the idea of a warm salad with wilted greens with roasted vegetables. I originally made this Autumn inspired salad with butternut, but pumpkin would be a delicious and suitable replacement. This salad is tangy with a bit of sweet from the maple syrup and caramelized onions, and it also has that roasty flavor from the root vegetables. It is very nutritious and would make an excellent side or main dish.

Autumn Salad

Autumn Salad

serves 3-4

for the salad:

1 large head of kale

2-3 cups of raw cubed butternut

3 cubed beetroots

1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil, plus 1 teaspoon

1 onion

salt and pepper

for the dressing:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tsp of maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
  2. Wash and dry the beetroots and cut off the stems. You can peel the beetroots if you want to, I never do though because I like the crispy skin once they’re roasted. Chop the beetroots, and place them in a bowl.
  3. Wash and cube the butternut and add to the bowl with the beetroots.
  4. Drizzle one tablespoon of the olive or coconut oil over the butternut and beetroot and toss. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, start caramelizing your onion. Cut the ends of the onion and slice in half through the root. Slice the onion thinly lengthwise.
  6. Heat the other teaspoon of olive or coconut oil in a saute pan, and add your onions. Gently saute the onions for about 10 minutes, reduce the heat if you see them burning or drying out. Season with salt and continue to saute for another 10 minutes or until you are happy with their consistency. True caramelization takes a bit longer, but it’s up to you.
  7. Rinse and chop the kale. Add the chopped kale to the onions and saute until only slightly wilted. The water from the kale will have a light steaming effect on the greens, you can even put a cover over the pan for a minute to speed up the process. Don’t leave it on the heat too long though, it should only have a slight wilt, not be fully steamed.
  8. Mix the dressing ingredients together, pour and toss the roasted vegetables and kale/onion mix together very gently, serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Hope you give it a shot… and stay warm!

 

xo,

Natalia

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Juicy Wednesdays: Family-Friendly

Is it really only Wednesday?! Yes, yes it is. But while it’s only Wednesday, it is more importantly also my Dad’s birthday and therefore I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit today. My Dad is a father, a husband, a New Yorker, an academic, a friend, a guru and my rock. He was also one of my first inspirations when it came to living a life that was more conscious and green. My dad HATES toxins, and weekends spent reluctantly pulling weeds from his proudly organic garden, were a regular thing growing up. As youngsters, my sister and I often suggested he use Round-Up (weed killer) so we could be free of this dreaded chore, but his insistence that it was toxic and we must always first look for natural solutions is something I now regard as a lesson.

Natural solutions are great when there is an existing problem, but nature is also an excellent source for preventing problems and maintaining health and vitality. My parents love fruits and vegetables, but superfoods and green juices/smoothies are not in their regular regime, and I find some of these superfoods are nature’s best source of preventative medicine. While I was home I decided to make them a mix and instructed them to add 1-2 TBS of the mix (each) to their breakfast daily (it mixes well in smoothies, oats, yogurt, or over fruit). I believe this mix is best enjoyed in a green smoothie, but truthfully its nuttiness and texture is a delicious addition to most sweet breakfast foods. Below is a recipe for a kale smoothie that I made several times for my parents while I was home, and below that is the recipe for the mix. It’s full of natural goodness that will start your day off beautifully and keep you feeling strong and healthy.

kalesmoothie

(Vitamix…how I miss you)

Berry-Banana Kale Smoothie

serves 2

4-5 leaves of kale, washed

1 cup of berries

1 large banana

1.5 cups of almond milk

4 ice cubes

3 heaped TBS of the Family-Friendly breakfast mix

honey or agave to taste

1) Start with ice, kale and almond milk and blend until smooth.

2) Add berries, banana, mix and optional sweetener and blend.

3) Enjoy!

Family-Friendly Breakfast Mix

equal parts of the following:

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Goji berries

Hemp seeds

1) In a blender, blend the chia and flax seeds until they become meal, be careful not to over-blend, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

2) Pour the meal into a container, add the goji berries and hemp seeds and give it a good stir with a spoon.

3) Add 1-2 TBS to your breakfast and store in the fridge.

*note: This mix must be enjoyed in its raw form in order to reap all the benefits, therefore if you are adding it to something cooked like oatmeal, dish out your oatmeal first and then sprinkle the mix on top right before you dig in.*

Some benefits:

Chia-Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, excellent for joint health and weigh loss/management. Flax– have a protective affect against some cancers, can lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and great source of Omega-3 and fiber. Goji Berries– incredibly high in antioxidants which fight against free radicals in the body and can slow down ageing, high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, and they have been found to help control the amounts of cortisol released by the body when under stress. Hemp seeds– high in protein (containing 10 essential amino acids), anti-inflammatory, Omega-3 AND Omega-6 fatty acids, high in zinc, iron, and other minerals.

Cheers to you Dad!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: My Green Staple

Happy Juicy Wednesday!

My boyfriend and I recently booked tickets to America and it is the ONLY thing I can think about. He’s never been and I haven’t been home in far too long, so needless to say, these next 65 days (yes, there’s a countdown… obviously) are going to go by at a glacial pace. To distract myself in these torturous times, I’ve been focusing on recipes that I want to take home with me and share with my family. I mentioned before that my parents raised us on a very Mediterranean diet, filled with seasonal locally-sourced food, but juicing was never really on their agenda. So, today I will be sharing my favorite green juice combo, that is newbie friendly and something I plan on sharing with my family every day that I’m home (whether they like it or not). It’s kind of a staple in my house and an easy go-to alkalizing combination for when you’re in need of a quick fix.

greenjuice

My Green Staple

serves 2

1 large cucumber

1 lemon

2 small apples

4-5 stalks of kale, swiss chard, or spinach

1 inch of ginger

 

Clean everything very well, and if your cucumber or lemon feels waxy, then peel them first. Juice and enjoy! Want a twist? Add a dash of cayenne pepper.

yum yum yum…. super alkalizing and lots of health benefits 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia