Life Is An Adventure!

Life is full of twists, turns and surprises. Many of these unpredicted events keep life interesting. One of ours has been the discovery and implementation of the Esselstyn Lifestyle. Another is how much we truly enjoy this nutrition plan of non-fat veganism. I really think that a key factor to keeping this thing an interesting adventure is cooking fresh food layered with varying depths of flavor. What follows is a selection of dishes which subscribe to this philosophy…

VEGETABLE STUFFED BAKED POTATOES

My eldest daughter, Kate created this preparation for stuffed baked potatoes. Because she is a creative and intuitive cook, she often serves up delicious food with no traditional measurements. Be adventurous with this one. Change up the vegetables. Try a Yukon Gold Potato. Here’s the approximation of our delightful meal which we served to 11 hungry people.

1 sweet onion, 11 Baking Potatoes, 3 young zucchini, 3 young yellow squash, 24 cremini mushrooms, 1 bag of frozen sweet baby peas, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 tsp. Paprika, 1 tsp. Lemon Pepper Seasoning, and 1 tsp. Garlic Salt.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet and a small ovenproof dish with parchment.

Peel and slice the onion in half crosswise. Place in the ovenproof dish cut side up and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. (You can find more details for this step in Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease).

Wash the baking potatoes, prick with a knife and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake the potatoes and the onion for about one and a half to two hours. Toward the end of the baking process, saute thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms in the white wine, add the peas and stir for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the spices and stir.

Split the potatoes and heap on the vegetables. Top with fresh snipped chives.

PAELLA

I have a brilliant friend, Nancy Jones. The high school kids she hosts for lunch have dubbed her, “The Magician in the Kitchen”! She spent some of her formative years in Spain and Brasil. So, of course, when she decided to take up this new eating plan, she had to recreate PAELLA! We are all so very glad she did… And you will be too! Follow any reliable Paella recipe, substituting vegetable broth for the oil. The technique of creating sucharat… that crunchy, seared, almost burnt rice at the bottom of the pan… can be tricky when you begin. Just watch that step very closely and have fun!

MARINARA

While not the traditional Italian pasta sauce, this version has intense flavor without the traditonal fat. It’s one of our favorite weekday meals and makes enough to feed 12 people. You can also divide it into ziploc style bags and freeze it for later use.

1 sweet onion, finely chopped. 1/2 cup vegetable broth. 4 cloves pressed garlic. 4 -24 ounce cans roma tomatoes, blended. 1 tbsp each of fresh oregano, thyme and black pepper. Zest of 1 lemon. 2 tbsp each balsamic vinegar and honey. 3 splashes cabernet sauvingnon, plus more for mushrooms. 24 cremini mushrooms, sliced.

Grab a large soup pot, dutch oven sized. Saute the onion until translucent in the broth and add garlic, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, spices, zest, vinegar, honey and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saute mushrooms in more cabernet. Make a whole grain pasta to be topped with the sauce. Pile on mushrooms. Serve with a salad, steamed broccoli or asparagus.

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