If you give, you begin to live.

If you can tell me the band who sings those lyrics, I’ll give you some yummy food! This week’s blog is for my family and friends who have supported me through my journey as a nutritarian. Those of you who have changed your own lifestyle, including more vegetables and less processed foods. It takes a lot to make the change and I’m so happy that as a community we’re making it.

This week my students finished writing their recipe remix articles for the magazine we are publishing. Each and every one of them continues to surprise me – sharing their gained knowledge throughout our expedition in authentic ways – through remaking recipes to be healthier options, just as I have for so many years (even more so now). Their new found passion for healthy eating gleams through their writings. We’re going to start cooking some of their recipes in a few weeks to prepare for exhibition night where we will serve samples to the local community who joins us in celebration of our students’ learning. I can’t wait!

So, this week is dedicated to my handsome, loving, intelligent, funny, caring, compassionate boyfriend who is keeping tabs on what recipes he wants me to make for him next week when he is home for a few days. The last time he was home I showered him with full fat, full dairy, decadent foods that he loves – because what woman doesn’t cook exactly what she knows will please her man? As much as he enjoyed these treats, he too wants to eat healthier and is eager to try more and more of my nutritarian cooking. So, this week is for you boo boo – some recipes that meet you in the middle 🙂

Last month when my love was home, I made my famous au gratin potatoes – I used to make them for my family when I was growing up, they are really really good. So, today I made a nutritarian (also vegan and gluten free) version. Rutabaga horseradish gratin. I didn’t follow any particular recipe from pinterest or any other bloggers for these – just made cashew cream sauce and tossed it all together…

Rutabaga Horseradish Gratin –

(For the starch…)

3 rutabagas, peeled & thinly sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

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(For the cream sauce…)

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs fresh ground horseradish (Thank you Michael Michael Motorcycle!)

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

ground pepper, rosemary & thyme for seasoning

*I put all of the ingredients for the cashew cream sauce in my ninja and pulsed until smooth.

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*I layered the rutabaga and onions with cashew cream sauce in between until everything was used – leaving cashew cream on the top layer.

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*Baked, covered, in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.

I think he’s going to like this one. The rutabaga (Swedish turnip that is super high in vitamin C – a serving has 42% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C) has a bitter taste and mixed with the sweet taste of a cashew cream sauce and the bite of the horseradish… oh yeah, a winner for sure! Each bite is a burst of flavors that I never thought to put together and I am so glad that I did.

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Next up, spaghetti squash! I haven’t had spaghetti squash in quite a while and was dying to make some. With spaghetti squash, you wash it and simply put a few slits into the squash using a knife. Put it into a baking dish and roast in the oven for about an hour at 375 degrees. My farm share from the fall had a lot of spaghetti squash and when there was too much for me to eat I roasted it and froze it. So, today when I was craving it – bam – defrost and cook!

The first dish I made using the spaghetti squash was inspired by my best friend, Rach! Last night at her house we made paleo zucchini pad thai with shrimp from the 21 day sugar detox book. It was to die for and when I was eating it Howie called and was jealous with a capitol J.

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So, because the flavors left such an impression, I wanted to make some more pad thai dishes – to make it nutritarian I did all veggies with no meat. This recipe is also vegan as I did not use fish sauce.

So, here’s my vegan Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai-

Pad Thai sauce –

1/2 cup almond butter

1 lime – juice and zest

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs fresh  ginger (zested)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbs rice vinegar

1 tsp amino liquid (to give the salty flavor in replace of fish sauce)

1/3 cup almond milk

*Wisk all ingredients together and let set while cooking veggies (let those flavors meld together, yum!)

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Veggies- I literally used whatever I had in my fridge which was the following…

1 sweet potato, large cubes

1/2 onion

2/3 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

3/4 cup largely chopped asparagus

*In a pan, I sauteed the onions and sweet potatoes on a med-high heat, to let the potatoes really brown up. Then I added in the other veggies, a 1/2 cup water & covered the pan to let it all steam. After about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, I added in 1/2 of a spaghetti squash – which was about 2 cups. Placed the lid back on and let everything steam together.

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*After a few minutes I stirred all of the vegetables into the pad thai sauce in a separate bowl. Zest some more lime on top and done!

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Oh my god. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing the flavor of this dish is. The vegetables melt in your mouth and the lime zest, fresh ginger and garlic give you a zing of fresh flavor that lingers on your tongue for what seems like hours. This made me a small bowl that I had to eat immediately, as well as two 1 cup containers for lunch this week and a dish (about 1 1/2 cups) that I put in the freezer to bring home to my cousin Ashley next weekend. Kudos Ash for your steps towards a healthier lifestyle, I am so very proud of you. I know you’re going to love this pad thai dish just as much as I am!

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Lastly, some pizza. Every man loves pizza – but what does a nutritarian pizza look like? Well, we come back to my good friend the spaghetti squash. I’ve made cauliflower crusts for pizza before that have turned out pretty tasty, but I don’t have any cauliflower right now, so I thought, hey, why not try squash instead. So, I followed this spaghetti squash crust recipe.After mixing the ingredients together (I added rosemary & thyme) I spread it out on a baking sheet that had been greased with a little olive oil. I baked it 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Instead of using pizza sauce (as I always say, you never know what they put in things), I made my own tomato sauce from 3 roma tomatoes that were steamed down with garlic and onions.

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Then, I added sauteed mushrooms and asparagus and topped it off with some goat cheese (my man loves him some goat cheese). I put it back into the oven for about 10 minutes to let everything melt down together.

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Woah – delicious. The crust gets soggy quickly once you put the toppings on – which was my excuse for each both small pizzas that I made. That elliptical isn’t going to know what hit it tomorrow once I get on. Well friends, that’s it for this week. My costochondritis (read if you want to bother – it really sucks) is full blown this week due to high stress levels at work with the state ed dept coming in this week, and intensives (career exploration for students – two days away from the classroom – going to be fun, but not as prepared for it as I’d like). Oh and don’t forget about the personal life – moving in three weeks and my current apartment still hasn’t been leased out – possible extra months rent due at the end of the month is going to be a h    uge hit in the wallet that I’m not prepared for. Any ways, drinking tumeric ginger lemon tea (boil three ingredients in a sauce pan with water – it’s my miracle drug) and trying to relax in the last few hours I have before the craziness begins tomorrow. Until next time folks, happy eating!

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