Tag Archives: Healthy Eating

Butternut Squash Risotto with Mascarpone, Sage and Toasted Almonds

Butternut squash risotto

Well now, Happy February.

I love February every year, as it’s the month I celebrate my birthday and have an especially good feeling about this year because it’s full of lots of exciting trips and plans :). So last night on February Eve (sure! that’s a thing), a special dinner kicked off the occasion. It involved really awesome wine and some very delicious food enjoyed while lots of little white snowflakes drifted down outside. What could be better on a random Thursday night?

Happily, risotto looks much more impressive than it really is, tastes delicious and has to be the most soothing dish to cook, ever. Once you’ve got all your ingredients in place, you just stir, stir, stir until it’s decadently creamy and ready to serve. Like February and a really good glass of wine, I just love risotto.

This is based on Sophie Dahl’s recipe for Brown Rice Risotto with Pumpkin, Mascarpone, Sage and Almonds, with a few tweaks – mostly because last time I attempted it I decided I have little to no patience for the lengthy cooking time required by brown rice.

So please enjoy this faster adaptation of an incredibly delicious, incredibly cozy dish! With a little side of salad, you’ve got yourself one fantastic winter night meal.

Butternut squash risotto2

Butternut Squash Risotto with Mascarpone, Sage and Toasted Almonds

  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
  • clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup of cooked, pureed butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm vegetable stock to a simmer. Turn heat to low.

Meanwhile, in a risotto pan over low heat, sweat the onion and garlic for a few minutes in one tbsp of olive oil. Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Add a cup of the warmed stock. Stir rice until stock is absorbed.

Keep adding stock a cup at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed all four cups. This takes about 30-35 minutes.

While rice is cooking, add almonds to a small non-stick pan and toss to toast until lightly brown.

When the rice is soft and soupy, stir in butternut squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the mascarpone, heating for a few minutes longer. Serve risotto with a sprinkle of sage and toasted almonds on top.

Serves 2-3

xo Beth

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Toasted Oatmeal Smoothie

Oatmeal smoothie2

Breakfast time is always such a dilemma. Not just because when I first wake up I usually have no idea what time it is and where/who I am.

Smoothies are delicious and make me feel healthy and virtuous to start the day – but there is nothing quite so cozy and satisfying as a bowl of oatmeal, especially with a giant spoon of peanut butter melting over top. In the winter steamy oatmeal almost always wins, especially when it is, like today, 20 degrees and heavy with snow outside.

But luckily today there was no decision to be made, for the best of both has been combined into one yummy AM treat! And I’m not talking about tossing some raw oatmeal into a blender, because what’s so cozy about that?

Toasting the oatmeal beforehand fills the whole kitchen with a delightful aroma and makes the smoothie taste nice and toasty warm, even if you need to wear mittens in order to hold your frozen glass :).

Oatmeal smoothie3

Adapted from Joy the Baker’s new cookbook (which is the new love of my book wormy life, by the way)

Toasted Oatmeal Smoothie

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1.5 cups of vanilla soy milk
  • 1 sliced banana, frozen
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries, frozen

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Sprinkle the oats onto a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly brown.

Pour oats, soy milk, banana and raspberries into the blender and combine.

Makes one big glass or two small smoothies to share, if you’re feeling especially generous :).

xo Beth

Oatmeal with Apricots, Crème Fraîche and Honey

Apricot oatmeal

Oh oatmeal, how much I love you.

If you’ve known me for any length of time that will come as no surprise – but since I’m new to these parts I figured we may as well get that out of the way now. It’s warming and filling and comforting and since at its most basic recipe it’s very plain, there are so many ways to dress it up. Although my most classic version involves melty banana and peanut butter, I’m always game for trying a new twist.

Sophie Dahl

Sophie Dahl’s “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights” is probably my most favorite cookbook ever. I love the stories she tells, I love the beautiful photos that accompany each recipe and I love her overall foodie philosophy for life. There’s lots of healthy seasonal veggie and fruit-heavy dishes, with a nice balance of meats and sweets to round things out.There’s a line in her book that is so perfect I’ve even copied it down in my notebook to reflect back on:

Just please don’t ask me, “How do I get a six pack?” Because I will respond as I do now, by saying, “My darling, I have absolutely no clue, nor the inclination to find out.” Happy eating.  

Amen sister. When I spotted this recipe I just had to give it a go…for in all the years I’ve been making oatmeal this combination was totally new to me.

Oatmeal with Apricots Creme Fraiche and Honey <- recipe here

Apricot oatmeal2

I chopped the apricots into quarters and stirred them right into the oats, then topped the finished mixture with a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of Mapleside Farm’s Ohio honey.

What a delight! The little apricots added a nice chew to every bite, while the creme fraiche and honey melted into a lovely pool of soft, sweet creaminess over top. A somewhat healthy, somewhat indulgent breakfast that makes for the perfect I’m-so-sick-of-New-Years Resolutions-and-it’s-only-the-middle-of-January treat :). Enjoy!

xo Beth

Mushroom Bourguignon

Smitten Kitchen cookbook

I know you can find recipes all over the Internet these days and trust me, I’ve Pinned my fair share (someone help). But to me, you just can’t beat the joy of flipping through a good old-fashioned cookbook. That’s why I was so excited when my best friend gifted me Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook for Christmas. Smitten Kitchen is such a gorgeous blog and now Deb’s best creations have been enclosed in their very own book. All of the wonderful recipes and foodie photography with none of the I’ve-been-on-my-laptop-way-too-long eye burn.

Speaking of best friends, the aforementioned just gave birth to her second child this weekend! In honor, I just had to make a recipe from her gift this evening.

Mushroom Bourguignon <-recipe here

Mushroom Bourguignon

The first time I flipped through Deb’s cookbook, this recipe immediately caught my eye. I’ve never heard of such a thing before! I love mushrooms with all my stomach heart. I’m no vegetarian but recipes like this make it easy to pretend for a day. This bourguignon is rich, flavorful and even meaty – in a mushroom kind of way. It’s perfect comfort food on a day when the temperature has plummeted from a high of 65 degrees on Sunday to 28 today (really Cleveland?).

Served on a bed of soft, chewy egg noodles. Dinner was scrumptious.

Mushroom Bourguignon2 

Dig in!

xo Beth

Berry Green Reset Smoothie

Berry Green Smoothie

WEL-come!

After a merry December filled with an abundance of cookies, cake, candies, cheese, chocolate, champagne, caviar and even treats that don’t begin with a C, I’ve been more than ready for a fresh start in January. But barely did we come upon a new year when a nasty virus came around, knocking me down for days.

And so now it is the first full WEEK of the New Year and we will just have to start again, again. Because now my desire for healthy (but of course delicious) food is not only fueled by concern for my post-holiday waistline but also so that never again in 2013 will I have to flop around my bed feeling like poor Lavinia in Downton Abbey suffering from a bad case of the Spanish Flu. Have you seen the new season by the way? Delicious!

Also delicious? This Berry Green Reset Smoothie.

Happy 2013!

Berry Green Smoothie2

Berry Green Reset Smoothie

You cannot taste the spinach, so it’s only really there for nutrients. If drinking green totally freaks you out, you can leave it out. But I promise it tastes the same! I prefer all of the fruit to be frozen as it gives this smoothie a delightful milkshake consistency but that is also, up to you.

Serves One

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup organic mixed berries, frozen
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (like Whole Foods 365 Whey Protein Powder)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 handful of organic spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup of organic milk

Pop all of your ingredients into a blender, top with the lid and blend at high speed for a minute or two. At first, it may seem like there’s not enough liquid to get things moving but keep blending and things should come together nicely. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and add a drop more milk.

xo Beth