Roasted Root Vegetables with Mixed Greens and Goat Crumbles

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Root vegetables.  These winter vegetables come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and sometimes are just plain weird looking! So why eat them? Well, going back to elementary science, we learned that roots contain the nutrients for a plant to grow and prosper into a beautiful and sturdy creation.  Plants and trees cannot survive without their roots.

Historically consumed throughout the world, tubers are an classic addition to stews, soups, and sautés.  Ethnic groups from Russia to Thailand to France recognize the powerful nutrients of root vegetables: vitamin C, potassium, iron and beta carotene just to name a few.  Why not aid your digestion and boost your immune system while eating a scrumptious dinner?

After roasting, these vegetables have a rich winter flavor and are a perfect accompaniment to your salad or steak dinner.  Toss them together with scrambled eggs in the morning.  The possibilities are endless.

I like to slow roast them so they remain soft and moist.  The roots have a buttery and comforting taste.

Golden beets might be my new favorite.  They are bright orange on the outside and when you cut them open they reveal a magnificent gold pop of color!

I love unique ways of cooking fresh garden vegetables.  This salad has spirit.  Try it, its delicious!

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Salad

2 parsnips

1 rutabaga

1 golden beet

3 red beets

3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Mixed greens

soft goat cheese

Vinaigrette

4 heaping tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons champagne vinaigrette

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scrub all root vegetables under water.  Dice in 1 inch cubes and place in a mixing bowl. I like to cut the red beets separately and place in a different bowl so the red juice does not stain everything.  Melt ghee on low heat with paprika.  Drizzle root vegetables with the melted ghee and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast roots for 50 minutes total (after 25 minutes flip the vegetables in the oven).  Let vegetables cool.  The roots can be made the night before for a quick and easy dinner salad.

Golden beets have the greatest color!!!

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I like to use Ghee as it has the best flavor and has a higher cooking point than butter.  It will keep the vegetables moist and will not burn.

In a salad bowl layer mixed greens, root vegetables and crumbles of goat cheese.  Drizzle the vinaigrette when ready to serve.  Not all of the dressing will be used!

I added pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch! If available, fresh pomegranate seeds would also be great.

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A Husband’s Beef Stew

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Being recently married has been the greatest adventure and taught me much about myself, my husband and learning to love more deeply.  It has also taught me the importance of “man food” and Texan “soul food.”

Apparently growing up, Stephen’s favorite meal was his mom’s beef stew.  After a big day at work, I surprised him with his favorite “soul food!”  I don’t know if it quite lived up to his Mom’s famous stew but he did eat three bowls!

This is a quick meal to throw together and fills the house with savory smells of winter goodness.  A successful soul food meal with a nutritious twist!

Ingredients:

2 pounds stew meat

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

12 ounces red wine

1 cup beef broth

6 cloves garlic

1 large red onion

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 parsnip

10 mushrooms

1 fresh sprig rosemary, chopped

handful fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

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Melt butter in a large soup pan.  Chop the onions and sauté with garlic in butter (or leftover bacon grease) until onions are soft.  After about 5 minutes, add the tomato paste thoroughly coating the mixture.

Add chopped vegetables, herbs, stew meat, and all liquids.  The liquids should cover the top of all the ingredients.  Simmer on low for 3-4 hours.  Turn off the heat about 10 minutes before serving to let the stew thicken and set.

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Parsnips add rich flavor and when cooked taste like potatoes, but without all the carbohydrates.  This powerful root vegetable is high in Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and fiber.  Like carrots and other root vegetables, parsnips are contain phytonutrients, or nutrients found in plants, that give vegetables their color, smell, and natural flavor.

This vegetable meat stew is great for flu season as slowly cooking meat and vegetables does not destroy any natural minerals or vitamins.  Do not throw any of the liquid away as that is where the maximum nutrients remain!

I served this with cornbread, that I soaked for 24 hours.  Recipe soon to follow!

A warm cup of spice for a chilly day

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The California sun can deceptively disguise a chilly winter day.  I have been finding myself sipping hot coffee with cream throughout the day to warm up.  However, this chai tea is caffeine free and a great drink in the afternoons as a warm cup of spice!  I used red rooibos loose leaf tea I bought at the local health food store, however you could use herbal tea bags or black tea as well.

The dried spices give a Christmas in a cup feel and are way cheeper to buy than an afternoon trip to Starbucks (and with way less sugar!).  Rooibos, a popular African tea, actually contains many antioxidants and some Vitamin C.

6 cups water

9 tablespoons loose leaf tea (9 tea bags)

3 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise

2 teaspoon whole cloves

1 vanilla bean

4 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon crushed cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon fennel

zest of 1 orange

juice of 1 orange

2 tablespoons honey

ImageHeat the water in a pan until it begins to boil.  Combine the tea and dry spices in a mixing bowl.  Crush the cardamom pods until they split open (easy to do with the flat end of a knife handle). Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the insides into the bowl with the spices.  Add the dry tea and spices except for the orange and honey.

Simmer with lid on lowest heat for 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add orange zest, juice andhoney.  Toss in the empty vanilla bean pod.  Let the tea mixture steep for 30 minutes.

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Strain all ingredients.  Let the tea cool and then transfer to glass jars.  Concentrate will last in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.

Serve 1 cup chai concentrate with about 1/2 cup milk, or more depending on your taste buds.  Heat ingredients and enjoy! You could also add heavy whipped cream for a tasty, warm treat!

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