Monday, October 18, 2010

Life Alive

This weekend I found my new favorite place to eat! Life Alive in Lowell, MA!

Ive been meaning to try it for awhile, and yes Lowell isn't that far from Nashua, but for whatever reason it took me a year or so of saying I wanted to try it, to actually get down there. And of course I'm kicking myself now, wondering what the hell took me so long.

The food is unbelievably amazing, fresh, organic, and wholesome - All of my favorite things in food! The best thing is that when you leave, you are full and satisfied but also deeply nourished.

Their menu is unreal, and the whole vibe of the cafe is very warming and relaxing. In addition to the great food they have their own teas and snacks that they sell at the shop - they even make their own kombucha- which I have yet to try, but since I know how close it is now, and how delicious everything is, something tells me Ill be trying it in short order.

When I went I tried the Swami - everything on the menu was making me drool- it literally took me about a half hour to decide what I wanted. I wasn't disappointed. "Matty's Miso Curried Sauce sweetening a masterfully-tasty mix of tamari roasted almonds, flame raisins, pearl onions, dark greens, broccoli flowers, and shredded carrots, served over brown rice with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast." Amazing! Annnd- I had plenty for a little leftover the lunch the next day. I also tried the carrot cake smoothie- again after much deliberation :)

Couldn't speak more highly of this place, portions are great, atmosphere is uplifting and the food is a perfect marriage between tasty and healthy.

Check them out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squashes are so versatile and soooo very cheap this time of year! I threw this together last night. Perfect meal for a cool fall night.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 Acorn Squashes halved ( and scooped clean of strings and seeds)
1/2 cup of Cooked Quinoa
2 large shallots chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
1 Can Vegetable broth
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil for sauteing the shallots
Vegan Sour cream
Nutritional yeast.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place acorn squash face down in large baking dish. Pour veggie broth into dish until it comes 1/2 way up the sides of the acorn. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

While squash is cooking saute the shallots and walnuts in canola oil until shallots become translucent. When finished remove from heat and add to the cooked quinoa. Also add rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

One finished pre-baking, remove the squash from the oven and dump out remaining veggie broth. Place squash back in baking dish face up. Fill the squash halves with the quinoa mixture and drizzle with olive oil to prevent the quinoa from drying out. Cover dish with foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.

Let cook for a few minutes, then top with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. And Enjoy.

Serves 4

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Pie and Pumpkin Carving

Just coming off of one of the BEST quintessential Fall weekends ever! Spent the weekend with family, celebrating the beauty of fall and of course my Mom's Birthday!!

We kicked off the Birthday celebration with some pumpkin carving! Though I got a tad frustrated halfway through -
( Damn me for picking the stencil with 3 difficulty stars) -my pumpkin came out fabulously! And more importantly I had a great time. If anyone smashes this thing I'm going to be livid!

Following the pumpkin carving extravaganza, my mom and I made some pies with some of the fresh apples she picked earlier that weekend.

I found this recipe on the wholefoods website and converted it to my liking - vegan style!
Pumpkin Apple Pie
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon divided
1/2 teaspoon salt divided
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons smart balance
3 cups your favorite apples ( I used granny smiths)
egg replacer equivalent to one egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup Vanilla soymilk
1 unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, water and smart balance into a saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Add sliced apples and cook, tossing to coat in sugar mixture about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg replacer, sugar, pumpkin remaining salt and cinnamon, cloves, ginger and soymilk until well combined.

Pour apple mixture into pie shell and then pour pumpkin slowly and evenly over the top. Bake for 10 mins then reduce temp to 375 degrees and bake until filling is just set in the middle, about 45 minutes more.

Remove from oven, allow to cool and chill before serving.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First (hopefully of many) Apple Picking of the Season

Last Sunday was my first apple picking excursion of the season with a couple of my closest friends. Ahhh have I mentioned this is one of my favorite favorite times of year?!

The best part about this trip? Not only is the location an apple orchard, its also a vineyard and winery. Talk about perfect day.

Yay fall and better yet, Yay Nashoba Valley in the fall!!