Persimmon, Butternut Squash and Rosemary Winter Smoothie

When you live in a place that gets so cold the air hurts your face it can be a challenge to eat seasonal in the winter months. In the fresh fruit department your options are pretty much limited to cranberries, pomegranate, citrus, pears and persimmons (unless you are willing to spend $5 dollars on half a cup of berries – which I am not!).

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About a month ago I came across a recipe for a beautiful spiced persimmon tart with vanilla crème fraishe and fresh rosemary and the first thing I thought was – that would make an amazing winter smoothie! There are A LOT of smoothie recipes out there and for good reason. Smoothies are a great way to sneak vegetables and fruit into your diet, they have endless flavor combinations, make an awesome meal or snack and are quick and easy to prepare.

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This particular recipe uses butternut squash and persimmon, which are orange in color, readily available in the winter and rich in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. The addition of fresh rosemary is delicious – but if mixing fruit, squash, and rosemary is outside your comfort zone feel free to leave it out. Also, the sweetness comes exclusively from the persimmon, so if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side feel free to use a vanilla yogurt (rather than plain) or add a sweetener of your choice.

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If you try out this recipe, leave me a note in the comments section and tell me what you think!

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*BIG thanks to my friend Diane for these beautiful hand blown glasses!

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 0% greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 ripe persimmon, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Information:

327 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 175 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrate, 9 g fibre, 29 g sugar, 21 g protein

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A Week At Our Table

I’m going to go ahead and say that last week was a culinary success in my household. Since moving in with Alex we have made a point of menu planning each Sunday before getting our groceries for the week and sticking to the plan. This not only makes my life much more efficient (no after work, last minute grocery shopping for an impromptu meal on a busy night) but also keeps our budget in line. For breakfast we tend to be creatures of habit and eat virtually the same thing every day. For me, a bowl of Blue Menu Fibre Plus cereal with a banana. For Alex, a bowl of cereal, two boiled eggs, and a greek yogurt. Lunches are packed with leftovers from the previous nights dinner, as most recipes make at least four servings and there are only two of us. But dinner is where the magic happens, where the time is spent and the menu plan comes to life.

This week I have captured four out of five meals by camera to be shared with all of you, which I’m thinking is a great improvement from one!

Monday – Turkey Meatball Subs – Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1lb extra lean ground turkey

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 whole eggs

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 tablespoon salt

24 oz canned diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 whole wheat rolls

3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine turkey, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.

3. Form turkey mixture into 12 round balls and place on a greased baking sheet.

4. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes.

5. While meatballs are in the oven, combine diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, additional basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a sauce pan over medium heat.

6. Once desired flavor is achieved, transfer tomato mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer back into sauce pan .

7. When meatballs are fully cooked, assemble your whole wheat bun with 3 meatballs, top with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

8. Place meatball subs back into the oven until cheese is melted.

Tuesday – Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – Makes 4 Servings

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Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat macaroni

4 cups broccoli florets

1 3/4 cup 1% milk, divided

3 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add macaroni and cook for four minutes.

2. Add broccoli florets and continue cooking for an additional four to five minutes.

3. In a separate pot, over medium high heat, add 1 1/2 cup of milk and simmer.

4. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, and garlic powder together and add to the simmering milk.  Stir the mixture consistently for two to three minutes or until thickened.

5. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, mozzarella, mustard, salt and pepper.

6. Drain the broccoli and pasta and combine with the cheese sauce.

Wednesday – Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burritos – Makes 4 Servings

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Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and roasted

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 each red and yellow pepper, diced

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

4 whole wheat tortillas

Toppings: avocado, salsa, and fat free greek yogurt

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss butternut squash with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake squash in a glass dish for 45 minutes or until tender.

2. Cook brown rice as per instructions.

3. In a large skillet, add olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

4. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne and stir well.

5. Add red and yellow pepper, black beans, and brown rice and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

6. When butternut squash is tender, combine with burrito mixture and add mozzarella cheese.

7. Fill tortilla with squash and bean mixture and top with sliced avocado, salsa and greek yogurt.

Thursday – Chickpea, Spinach and Squash Gnocchi – Makes 4 Servings

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Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat gnocchi

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced

1/2 cup red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons raisins

3 cups fresh spinach

2 stalks celery, diced

1 1/2 zucchini, diced

1, 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Saute gnocchi with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat for five to seven minutes or until brown. Remove from heat.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to squash, red onion, and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in broth, raisins, zucchini, celery, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow mixture to cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

4. Add spinach, chickpeas, and gnocchi and cook until spinach is wilted, approximately two minutes.

5. Serve drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Friday – Turkey Shepard’s Pie – Makes 6 Servings

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound extra lean ground turkey

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon italian seasoning

1 cup chicken broth

1, 700 g bag of frozen mixed vegetables

4 medium potatoes

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup old cheddar cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large pot, saute onions and olive oil over medium heat until softened.

2. Add ground turkey and cook over medium high until no pink remains.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and chicken broth and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

4. While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to boil and add peeled, diced potatoes. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

5. Add frozen vegetables to turkey mixture and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

6. When potatoes are tender, drain water, add butter and skim milk and mash using a hand held mixer until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Add turkey mixture to an 11″ by 7″ glass pan and cover with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.