Friday, November 21, 2014

Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

I have realized that I have a love hate relationship with rosemary. As it may be one of my favorite fresh herbs to use, at the same time it can be so overpowering that I think can ruin many dishes.

When I started making this dip, I reached for the sage since I love sage and squash together, but I decided to take a different route and add just a touch of rosemary instead. I loved the outcome ... change is good! The tahini in the dip gives a smooth and nutty taste and there is just a hint of rosemary in the background. Now, if you like more rosemary ... have at it and add a little more, but for me, the subtle taste was perfect.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

We had this as an appetizer before dinner one night and we didn't eat it all since we didn't want to ruin our appetite. The little I had left over, I used as a dressing the next day for my lunch. I simply added more olive oil and a bit of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and it was a perfect fall dressing!

Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

Makes 2 cups

2 c butternut squash, roasted
1/4 c olive oil
2 T tahini
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t rosemary, chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt

Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Lay it face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast it at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.

Once done, scoop out the squash into your food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

I like it best served right away when it's still warm (or you can reheat it), but it does taste good cold too.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Squashin' Macaroni & Cheese

Since I have given up dairy and soy to see if that makes a difference in Simon's comfort level I have been craving cheese in the worst way! Big surprise ... right?!? The kids aren't helping at all. For two nights in a row they have been asking for macaroni and cheese. Usually, not a problem for me, but even my Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe has soy in it. After two days of asking, I realized it was time for a new macaroni and cheese recipe. Kids, make a note: Persistence pays off!

Right now, I have about 10 squash in the basement (all different styles). Since I just used acorn squash for my Vegan Alfredo Sauce, I decided to go with the humble butternut squash. I used a lot of the same ingredients as my Vegan Mac & Cheese because I love the flavor and let's face it, if it's not broken, why fix it? But, because the squash is so creamy, there isn't a need for tofu.

The outcome was perfect ... well, almost. I added turmeric, which I absolutely love and the health benefits are great! It's an anti-inflammatory, it increases your antioxidants, it is said to help prevent and possibly treat cancer, it's thought to delay aging and this is just naming a few benefits, there are so many more! I'll just tell you that I try to sneak turmeric in wherever I can! Sorry, back to the pasta! So, I added turmeric, but the added spice made it too zesty for the kids. After two nights of asking for macaroni and cheese and finally getting it, they couldn't handle more than about five bites! They got a quick tortilla pizza instead. Sorry kids, but mommy and daddy loved the turmeric!

By the way, the lack of dairy and soy doesn't seem to be making a difference just yet but I'm giving it a bit longer. The chiropractor visits seem to be doing wonders though ... yeah!!!!

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Squashin' Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 4

1 butternut squash
1 med onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cups almond milk
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 T dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t turmeric (optional)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 packed cup spinach, julienned
16 oz noodles

Cut butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Lay face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast them at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a pot, heat a little oil and add in onion and garlic. Once tender and fragrant, turn off heat.

Scoop your squash into the pot with your onions and add in milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon, salt, pepper and turmeric. Remember, the turmeric gives a little bite which I absolutely love, but the kids wouldn't eat it so know your audience before adding it in.

Using your immersion blender, mix all ingredients. I didn't go crazy with the mixing so there were still a few chunks of onion that you could see. Next, add in your spinach. The heat of the sauce will wilt your greens just a little bit.

Mix in your noodles and serve.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade Gripe Water

Simon, the newest addition to the family has been an amazing blessing. He laughs, he's silly, he's so much fun to watch play around ... but lately, he's been getting more and more uncomfortable. I have tried quite a few changes to help him along from changing my diet, his eating habits, holding him upright longer after he feeds, etc. All things have helped little by little, but usually just for a short while. Sometimes he gets in such a crazy tizzy that he can't seem to calm himself enough to eat or sleep when that's all he really wants to do.

Gripe water has been a big game changer for us. When he's having a little fit and needs to settle down, a little gripe water in his belly instantly calms him. It's seriously amazing! I bought a bottle at the store when I was in desperate need, trying anything to help his discomfort. I wasn't looking at price tags, I was just trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Since it was helping so much, we went through the bottle pretty quickly.

I went back to the store to get another bottle just to realize that the bottle of miracle juice was $10! I knew it is worth its weight in gold, but I also knew that the best things in life are homemade. So, I set down the bottle and went home to do some research.

There are a lot of different recipes out there. I checked what each herb did and thought if it was important for Simon's symptoms. He's more gassy and not that much of a spitter so I wanted to go with ingredients that were super calming to his belly.

Chamomile: Helps calm your baby. Promotes relaxation and sleep

Ginger: Calms bellies and helps relieve nausea.

Fennel: Helps settle their tummies and stimulates appetite. Helps get rid of gas and bloating.

Dill: Helps settle their tummies and stimulates appetite.

Cinnamon: Helps digestion.

For us, the gripe water has not been a cure all, but it does help him when he needs to eat and sleep. I am still trying different experiments with foods that I eat to see if there are more ways to calm him down. Another savior for us has been a weekly trip to the chiropractor. Every baby is different and what works for one doesn't always work for another. Keep your spirits up and keep on keeping on! Eventually, your baby will be comfortable!

Homemade Gripe Water

Makes 1 cup

1 c water
1 chamomile tea bag
1 ginger tea bag
1 t fennel seed
1 t dill seed
1/2 t vegetable glycerin (or another sweetener, just NEVER honey for infants!)
1/8 t ground cinnamon

Heat water in a pot. Once it is just getting ready to boil take it off. Put your loose spices on a tea ball or tea bag. Add all of your ingredients to the hot water and let steep for 8 minutes.

Once it is cooled, let your little one try it out.

Dosage: 1 teaspoon / 5 mL

Keep it in the refrigerator for up to two week.s