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Simple yet Sensational ~ Butternut Squash

Simple yet Sensational ~ Butternut Squash

Craving Life Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a hero in the healthier eating arena. High in fiber and potassium, this is definitely a heart-healthy choice.

I found it educational to learn that it is often recommended by dieticians in controlling cholesterol and in weight-reduction programs. I can attest to it having a filling feel to it and with its subtle sweetness is sure please the pickiest of palates.

It is laden down with a multitude of vitamins; rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. It also boasts a complex mineral profile, containing respectable levels of iron, potassium, zinc, copper, calcium, and phosphorus.

It is a great go-to vegetable when I want something that has very little advance preparation time. Just 5 minutes of prep, pop it in the oven and forget it for an hour, then “Ta da!” I have included the recipe I use for a simple way to prepare butternut squash.

Whether I need something to go along with fish (such as Cajun Spiced Salmon), turkey, or even super-spicy Indian food, roasted butternut squash is able to work very well as a complimentary dish.

Enjoy!

Simple yet Sensational ~ Butternut Squash
 
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Want to spice it up? Try cinnamon, cumin, or simply black pepper. Try sprinkling with fresh herbs just before serving.
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash (approx. 450 g or 1 lb)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. With a large sharp knife cut the squash in half lengthwise.
  3. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard.
  4. Coat the inside and exposed edges with the oil.
  5. Place face-down on a large cookie sheet.
  6. Pierce the skin of the squash a few times with a sharp knife.
  7. Roast for 50-60 minutes or until it can easily be pierced and the flesh is soft.
Notes
Vitamin A : 9 % Vitamin C : 87 % Calcium : 1 % Iron : 39 %

• Low in saturated fat
• No cholesterol
• Very low in sodium
• Very high in dietary fiber
• Very high in iron
• High in manganese
• High in magnesium
• High in potassium (582 mg)
• High in thiamin
• Very high in vitamin B6
• Very high in vitamin C
• Very high in vitamin E
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 210 g Calories: 102 Fat: 2.6 g Saturated fat: 0.3 g Carbohydrates: 21.5 g Sugar: 4.0 g Sodium: 8 mg Fiber: 6.6 g Protein: 1.8 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

Revamped Beef Bourguignon

Revamped Beef Bourguignon

Craving Life Beef Bourginon Stew

When the weather gets colder one of the more satisfying meals is a hearty beef stew. A favorite recipe I use is a variation inspired from The Canadian Living Cookbook. Initially I used to make the recipe as stated in the book yet over time I have added my own preparation methods and changed the ingredients to create a healthier version — yet it still has that same rich and flavorful taste as the original.

Guess what? No one noticed when I made these swaps and I get constant praise when I serve it.

Servings got a 9.5% smaller because of the reduction in butter. However, the rewards of over 100 calories less (22% reduction) as well as the significant drop in fat (42%), which include 56% less saturated fat, are definitely worth it.

Craving Life Beef Bourguignon Comparison

Enjoy!

Rich Beef Stew
 
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I often serve this with green beans.
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg (3 lb) lean boneless beef roast
  • 1 litre (4 cups) low-sodium beef stock
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) tomato paste
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) besan (chickpea flour)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) salt
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) black pepper
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) unsalted butter
  • 300 g (2/3 lb) pearl onions, peeled
  • 454 g (1 lb) brown (preferred) or white mushrooms
  • chopped parsley as garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine the beef stock, red wine vinegar, and tomato paste in a large pot. Sift the chickpea flour into the pot to eliminate any lumps. Put the pot on high heat and bring the contents to a boil, whisking constantly. Then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  2. Add in the thyme, bay leaf, garlic, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Prepare the beef as described in Browning Meat for Stews. Add beef cubes and any juices to the pot.
  4. Cover the pot and gently simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Crack the lid for the last half hour of simmering if you prefer a thicker stew.
  5. In a non-stick fry pan heat 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of butter and brown the pearl onions. Add to stew and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Heat the remaining 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of butter and lightly brown the mushrooms. Add to stew and continue to simmer for 15 more minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaf.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional) and serve.
Notes
The onions and mushrooms can be prepared in advance and set aside until it is time to add each to the stew.

Vitamin A : 1% Vitamin C : 5% Calcium : 2% Iron : 34%

Very low in sugar.
High in niacin, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and Zinc.
Very high in selenium.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 342 g Calories: 379 Fat: 9.2 g Saturated fat: 3.3 g Trans fat: 0.0 g Carbohydrates: 4.4 g Sugar: 0.6 g Sodium: 448 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Protein: 64.4 g Cholesterol: 115 mg

 

Tomatoes with Olives & Feta Salad

Tomatoes with Olives & Feta Salad

Craving Life Tomato Olive Feta Salad

Ripe tomatoes are coming into season so it is a perfect time to make a favorite salad of mine. Bursting with complimentary flavours, it makes a wonderful side to grilled or roasted meats and seafood. Beats French fries hands-down! 😉

Omit the feta cheese if you have a concern for sodium.

Enjoy!

Tomato, Black Olive & Feta Salad
 
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I prefer to used whole kalamata olives for this recipe and just warn people that they are unpitted. Feel free to pit them in advance if you prefer.
Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) red wine vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium-size tomatoes (ripe)
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) red onion, thinly sliced
  • 80 grams Greek Feta Cheese
  • 16 kalamata olives (preferred) or black olives
Notes
Vitamin A : 36% Vitamin C : 44% Calcium : 7% Iron : 7%
Potassium : 467 mg
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 247 g Calories: 144 Fat: 10.4 g Saturated fat: 3.8 g Trans fat: 0.1 g Carbohydrates: 10.9 g Sugar: 5.4 g Sodium: 663 g Fiber: 3.1 g Protein: 4.6 g Cholesterol: 17 mg

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Ginger and Cumin

Roasted Cauliflower with Ginger and Cumin

craving life indian roasted cauliflower

While planning an Indian meal, I was looking for a vegetable dish that did not require I go shopping. I had cauliflower on hand, fresh ginger, and my spice drawer. My thoughts immediately jumped to my well-worn copy of Maddhur Jaffrey’s An Invitation to Indian Cooking cook book; to her recipe for Cauliflower with Ginger and Tomatoes. Yet this recipe takes time to make and I wanted something much faster to prepare.

Roasting cauliflower is a favorite of mine so by reading some online recipes and utilizing what I had on-hand I was able to create a dish that received two-thumbs up for flavor.

From a health perspective this dish is brimming with Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, and is less than 75 calories per serving.

Enjoy!

Indian Inspired Roasted Cauliflower
 
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Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 (575 g) medium-sized cauliflower head (5-6" in diameter)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup minced parsley (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces (approximately 1-2 inches across). Wash and then dry in a kitchen towel.
  3. In a large plastic bag place the olive oil and grated ginger, then mush the two ingredients around in the bag to coat the inside of the bag.
  4. Add the cauliflower into the bag, close the bag and shake to coat.
  5. Put the dry ingredients into a small bowl and mix. Sprinkle the spice mix into the bag over the cauliflower. Close the bag and shake to coat.
  6. Dump thee contents of the bag onto a large ungreased lined cooking sheet that has a lip around the edges. Spread out the cauliflower into a single layer.
  7. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes until fork tender.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley (optional), and enjoy.
Notes
Vitamin A : 2 % Vitamin C : 112 % Calcium : 4 % Iron : 9 %

High in manganese, pantothenic acid, potassium (478 mg)
Very high in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 150 g Calories: 74 Fat: 4.0 g Saturated fat: 0.6 g Carbohydrates: 8.9 g Sugar: 3.5 g Sodium: 119 mg Fiber: 3.9 g Protein: 3.1 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

 

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