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Winter squash are available from August through March, however, they are at their prime in October- November. They offer a very good source of Vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, fiber, and potassium. Winter squash are also a good source of Vitamin B6 and niacin.
Studies have shown that, due to their carotene properties, winter squash exert a protective effect against cancer and heart disease.
2 acorn squash, about 1 pound each
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Organic extra virgin coconut oil
½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice (found in the dry spice section)
½ teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (convection roast is best). Split the squash in half horizontally with a large chef’s knife. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. If squash are very large, cut lengthwise into quarters.
2. Set the squash halves or quarters, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Brush with softened extra-virgin coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, Chinese 5 spice and thyme. Cover with foil and place in the middle of the oven.
3. Roast squash for roughly 30 minutes or until tender (large squash may require more time). Remove foil and continue to roast uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the squash is nicely browned and tender when pierced.
While the squash is in the oven prepare the rice salad:
This dark purple rice (sometimes called Chinese black rice) was once grown exclusively for Chinese emperors to enrich their health and longevity. High in nutritional and medicinal value, black rice is rich in iron, protein and considered a blood tonifier. Also high in fiber, minerals and vitamins (Vitamin B, niacin, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc), black rice has a high content of the antioxidant anthocyanin.
1 cup Forbidden Black Rice (may be found in most health food stores and specialty markets)
1 3/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup of pine nuts
¼ cup Goji berries finely chopped
3/4 cup roughly chopped raw spinach
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
Celtic sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1. In a 1 ½ quart saucepan bring rice and water to a boil.
2. Add garlic, cover pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until water is almost evaporated. Rice should be fork- tender.
3. Remove pan from heat and let rice stand, covered for 10 minutes. Gently stir in olive oil, basil, green onion, pine nuts, Goji berries, and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. To assemble: scoop the Forbidden Rice salad into the shell of the squash, garnish with basil. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.
For additional protein add white beans to the rice.
With their high levels of lycopene, tomatoes protect cells. Paired with the fiber, good fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants in avocados, this refreshing soup is a perfect marriage in a bowl.
For a heartier bowl add 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice before serving and or a protein: cooked beans, grilled chicken breast, cooked shrimp etc.
This soup may also be served hot.
4 pounds vine ripened plum tomatoes
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of Virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Juice of one freshly squeezed lime
3 tablespoons (or more to taste) fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Core and discard tomato stems; cut an X in the skins on the opposite side. Place in boiling water and blanch for 20 seconds or until skin starts to peel.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water when cool, remove. With a paring knife, peel skins off and squeeze out seeds.
3. In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, broth, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Puree until smooth and set aside.
4. In a deep pan, heat olive oil and lightly sautÃ© onion and cucumber. Add cumin, ginger, thyme, cayenne pepper and garlic, sautÃ© for 5 minutes on medium heat or until the garlic is golden. Add pureed tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow soup to cool off a bit.
5. Toss avocado cubes with lime juice salt and pepper.
6. Once soup is cool strain through a sieve into a large bowl. If serving hot transfer into a soup pan and reheat. If serving cold place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. For cold soup: in a time crunch place the soup on a large bowl of ice.
7. Add avocados, lime juice salt and pepper.
8. Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro.
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