Fall Essential: Roasted Delicata Squash Slices ( or “Fries”)


One of the quintessential fall produce items is winter squash, and I am loving it! However, I wasn’t always a squash fan. I remember once going over to a friend’s house in high school and they served huge halves of acorn squash with brown sugar as the sole dinner item. I liked the flavor fine, but after eating such a large amount of it, the texture started getting to me. Now I happily eat squash and can truthfully say that I love it!

Delicata squash played an important role in helping me learn to love squash. This sweet squash is absolutely delicious. We typically cut it in half, seed it and roast it slathered in butter, and sometimes just a touch of maple syrup. Delicious. But my now four year old seems to have a bit of a hard time with the texture, just like I used to. But when I made these delicata squash “fries”  (as she named them), she loved them, and Joel and I did too. We like butternut squash fries, but they do tend to be pretty soft and you have to be really careful not to overcrowd the pan otherwise they will get soggy. These stay firm and have a much closer texture to potatoes. And with their natural sweetness, they are a great treat. I think that a lot of young children could like these.

We loved them simply roasted, but they would also be delicious with a little Mexican flare with cumin and garlic, or you could highlight it’s natural sweetness with a bit of maple syrup or honey too. I think that squash carries many flavors well (I think that a curry version could be good too!).

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Homemade Creamy Tropical Popsicles

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We just made our first popsicles of the season. I know it’s not summer yet, and we truthfully haven’t been having the best of weather, but it was time. And boy, were they enjoyed! Elena and her cousins (and myself) loved these creamy, mild popsicles sweetened entirely with fruit and blended with coconut milk. Yum!

Making your own popsicles is the best. It’s generally very inexpensive and easy to do too. Some of those “all fruit” popsicles are just plain expensive. If you have some leftover smoothie, it makes the perfect popsicle too. So a lot of our popsicles during the summer are simply leftover smoothie!

This time, I used one of our favorite smoothie combo’s, mango, banana and coconut milk. That’s all, if you don’t count the water. Just three ingredients. That’s what I call simple.

And I loved using my new stainless steel popsicle mold I received!

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Rich, Dark Hot Cocoa (Dairy and Refined Sugar Free)

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I’ve had a sudden fixation on dark chocolate. Long time readers here will know that I’ve always loved chocolate but I’ve been going weeks on end without having chocolate. Well, no longer. To satisfy my chocolate tooth, I started turning to hot cocoa. This version is dark, creamy, and delicious. I find it a perfect treat to have mid-afternoon (or an almost mid-night snack, which we did last night). And it’s pretty guilt free too, sweetened with a drizzle of maple syrup, full of the healthy fats from the coconut milk and unsweetened cocoa powder too.

Chocolate (without all of the yucky other ingredients added to it in most candy bars) is actually considered a very healthy food by many. Like cranberries, apples, onions, tea and red wine, chocolate is loaded with flavonoids. According to The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden
, the particular flaonoids called flavanols found in chocolate “prevent fatlike stubstances in the bloodstream from clogging the arteries. When you reduce the blood’s ability to clot, you also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.” The author also mentions that chocolate is high in magnesium (which, by the way, is why many crave chocolate when they are low in magnesium). I’ve also read of several studies connecting chocolate to a healthy blood pressure.

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Healthy $1 Menu Guest Post: Gingered Sweet Potatoes

gingered-sweet-potatoes
Today we have another wonderful guest post as part of the $1 healthy dollar menu. Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free shares a flavorful and frugal dish with us today. Make sure you check out her lovely blog and leave a comment here welcoming her to The Nourishing Gourmet! Also, don’t forget about Pennywise Platter Thursday coming up, and that this is one of the last days to sign up for the fabulous giveaway that US Wellness Meats is doing with me, so if you haven’t already go check it out.

When I saw that Kimi was putting together a series on a nutrition packed dollar menu, I immediately got excited. I frequently hear people tell me that they can’t eat healthier because they either can’t afford it or don’t have time. When learning to eat healthier, there is an initial learning curve which requires a little more time and effort than you might be used to. This is true about learning anything new, though, and quickly becomes second nature. There is also be a little more upfront cost as you stock your pantry with healthier foods, but this can be done gradually and the extra expense will eventually go away. My hope is that this series can help dispel this ugly myth.

Today I’m sharing a favorite in our house – gingered sweet potatoes. The sweetness of the potatoes and dried fruit is tempered by the warmth of the fresh ginger. Sweet potatoes are a much healthier alternative to white potatoes. They contain vitamins A and C, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Ginger is known to relieve upset stomachs and also has anti-inflammatory properties. So, instead of driving through your favorite fast food joint and getting a super sized fry why not try heath supporting gingered sweet potatoes instead?

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