Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Maple Cheddar Kettle Corn with Apples and Walnuts

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Let’s play the association game…Popcorn goes with cheddar; cheddar goes with apples; apples go with walnuts, and walnuts go with maple. Mix it all together and you’ve got a healthy “big game” party snack that is easy to assemble and even easier to munch!

Maple Cheddar Kettle Corn with Apples and Walnuts is a healthy riff on two popular flavors of popcorn: cheddar and caramel corn. In place of corn syrup, I used organic maple sugar to caramelize and coat the popped kernels. Rather than fake cheddar cheese powder, I kept it real by adding chunks of Cabot cheddar cheese. Any variety of Cabot cheddar would work splendidly, but I chose to use the Farmhouse Reserve premium white cheddar this time.  

Most party snacks are far from healthy and it's often easy to overdo it.  Not this Maple Cheddar Kettle Corn with Apples and Walnuts, nuh-uh. You can feel good eating handfuls of this popcorn, as each ingredient is nutritiously-notable.  To pop the corn, organic coconut oil is used, rather than vegetable oil or butter.  Popcorn is a whole grain, amped with dietary fiber. The apples and walnuts are of course nutritious add-ins. And the Cabot cheddar cheese is a superb protein and calcium source. Also, did you know that certain cheeses, including Cabot cheddar are good alternative dairy choices for those that suffer from lactose intolerance?

Regular readers of this blog know Eating Local in the Lou is a big supporter of local farms and companies that practice sustainable farming. It is good to know Cabot Creamery is a co-op of family farmers in the New England area, and that all of the profits go back to supporting these family farms.

Oh! And before you go…in my last post, I mentioned that exciting changes are coming soon.  Over the past month, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes, creating a new logo and designing a website that I cannot wait to show you! So, next time you hear from me, I’ll be “broadcasting” from a new site, with a new name. At that time, Eating Local in the Lou will be redirected to my new home. I hope you will join me on this nutritious and delicious journey to see what lies ahead!

until next time...

Maple Cheddar Kettle Corn with Apples and Walnuts (makes about 3-4 servings)

Cooking Directions
  1. In a Dutch oven, heat coconut oil on medium heat.
  2. Add popcorn kernels to oil, then add maple sugar. 
  3. Stir to assure all corn kernels are coated with melted oil and sugar.
  4. Place lid on pot and shake pot over heat. It will take a few minutes for the kernels to pop, but continue to shake the pot over the heat to prevent burning. (keep shakin', its a good workout!)
  5. Once the corn popping begins to slow, remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then add salt to taste.
  6. Add in cubed Cabot cheddar cheese, apples and walnuts. Then dig in!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Harissa Roasted Rainbow Carrots {a Recipe Redux}

Harissa Roasted Rainbow Carrots
This month, the folks at Recipe Redux challenged us “Recipe Reduxers” to create a healthy dish with a spicy kick. These Harissa Roasted Rainbow Carrots hit that nail right on the head!

Harissa is my newfound love, even more coveted than our oft-used bottle of sriracha. Harissa is a pepper paste comprised of chilis, garlic, coriander and caraway. The flavor combo is quite unique, and when added to dishes, it adds just the right balance of spice and heat.

Now, tossing harissa with carrots, a bit of cumin, lime and salt…and roasting it all until toasty brown…be still my heart!

It goes without saying that this dish is healthy. Carrots are nutrition powerhouses, bursting at the seams with beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin C. 

And what about rainbow carrots? Look at these beauties! 
Rainbow carrots on my new cutting board!
Rainbow carrots are a combination of heirloom varieties, typical orange carrots, mixed in with red, yellow and blue colored types. The orange carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red carrots contain more lycopene, a plant chemical also found in pink grapefruit and tomatoes, and known to potentially help prevent certain cancers. The yellowy carrot gets its hue from lutein, a strong contender in eye-health, and the purple carrot gets is color from the same health-promoting phytochemical that make blueberries and red grapes their color (and grape juice and red wine!).

Of course, you can use regular carrots to make this Harrisa Roasted Carrot recipe too. Either way, if you like to turn up the heat once in a while, this is the recipe for you! 

Oh, and before you go, big changes are on their way for Eating Local in the Lou...be sure to stay tuned!

until next time...

Harissa Roasted Rainbow Carrots (recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Dec. '14)

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled (we used organic rainbow carrots from Green BEAN delivery but you can use regular carrots or baby carrots)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. harissa
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss carrots in olive oil, harissa and cumin. Add bay and lime.
  3. Arrange carrot mixture in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Cover with foil, bake at 450 for 10 minutes; uncover, bake an additional 10 minutes. 
  5. Sprinkle with salt and serve!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spinach Sweet Potato Tofu Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust {Nasoya Giveaway}

The Cowie Clan is getting the year started off on a super healthy path (whether my kids and hubs want to or not). I wouldn’t call it a New Year’s resolution, but I've been slowly incorporating more vegan recipes into our weekly meals. My motivation for doing so stems from the obvious health benefits of cutting back on meat, and there’s also the ecological aspect. But honestly, I’m mostly experimenting with vegan recipes for the challenge. There is something so intriguing about using raw cashews as a vegetarian sub for cream cheese, or nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan. With the absence of meat, eggs and cheese, vegan ingredients often give an “umami” or “meaty” taste to dishes. Well, that’s just darn interesting to me, and admittedly, out of my comfort zone.  

This Spinach Sweet Potato Tofu Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust incorporates Nasoya tofu, raw cashews, and nutritional yeast, with spinach, potatoes and spices. Now that’s super healthy and super fun! And taste? The quiche was flavorful, substantial and would make a great meal anytime of day!

The Cowie Clan might not be fully ready to make the plunge into the Vegan Sea, but we are slowly wading in and taste-testing our way through a few more uncharted waters. I hope you will continue to join us on the journey!

Oh! And before you go, A GIVEAWAY: if you would like to try a Nasoya product, this is your lucky day! Please leave a comment below or on Eating Local in the Lou's Facebook page saying which Nasoya product you would like to try. One winner will be randomly chosen and receive a coupon for ONE FREE Nasoya product. Giveaway ends on Jan 19th at 11:59 p.m. so get your comment in before then. Good luck!

Disclosure- I received coupons to try Nasoya products and to offer as a giveaway. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

until next time...
Spinach Sweet Potato Tofu Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust (recipe adapted from Scrumptious Spinach Sweet Potato Tofu Quiche on Nasoya.com)

  • 1 package Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu, drained
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. soy-sauce
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. shallot salt (or onion salt, or onion powder + salt)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place diced sweet potatoes and thawed hash brown potatoes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, place on bottom of a prepared pie/quiche dish, sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse raw cashews until fine. Add tofu, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, paprika, shallot salt, garlic, rosemary and pepper(s) and blend until creamy. Add spinach and pulse until combined. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
  4. Add quiche filling to top of potatoes and smooth over. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned. Center of quiche will get firm as it cools.
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