Warming Autumn Squash Recipe

Autumn is here and with it the cold weather! Living in Michigan the transition going in was definitely whacky. 90s one day and 60s the next. What the heck? I can’t keep up with this state and neither can my body. For the past few days I’ve been feeling a very tense energy and possibilities of a cold coming on, so take care of yourself during this time as we adapt to the changing of the seasons! This means grounding exercises, releasing what’s holding you back, hot tea and warming, nourishing dishes!

This Squash recipe is by far one of my new favorite meals. Acorn squash is full of vitamins and minerals, but most importantly- Vitamin C! Extremely vital for keeping your immune system running while the B vitamins help convert the food to energy. This dish also features pumpkin seeds to add some additional immune boosting power with their zinc content, cranberries for a little sweetness, and warming spices also for healing and comfort 💜

Autumn Squash

Serves: 1-2

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 3 Lacianto Kale Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Cinnamon, Clove, and Fennel to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the Acorn Squash in half and scoop out the insides. In a glass baking dish you may use oil to grease the bottom if desired. If avoiding oil, fill the dish 1/4 of an inch high with water. Place the acorn squash in the baking dish, inside facing down (if using water, cover), and bake for 45-60 minutes.

When the squash is halfway down cooking, prepare the quinoa according to the direction on the package. Typically it’s a 1/4 Cup dry per serving with a 1/2 Cup of water. Boil on low-medium heat until water is absorbed.

Rinse the kale leaves and chop then into 1/2 inch strips. I like to throw then into the pot with the quinoa once it’s halfway done absorbing the water.

When the quinoa is done, take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Get creative here and adjust it all to your taste. I personally use generous amount of cinnamon, a few shakes of clove, and a sprinkle of fennel seeds (to be exact 😜).

Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and “stuff” it with the quinoa mixture. I recommend mashing up the squash a bit before adding the mixture to allow it to release some of the heat first. You could also scoop it out of the skin if desired.

Plate it up, serve, and enjoy!!

I used a small squash so this served a very hungry me for lunch, but depending on the squash size and if you wanted to adjust some of the other ingredients (half cup for pumpkin seeds and cranberries) it could easily serve two.

Leave a comment below on what you think! If you try it send me a picture at spoonfulofgratitude@gmail.com ! I would love to see your creations and hear your thoughts. Happy Autumn!

Love & Light

20+ Quick Plant-Based Milk Recipes

This is a master post of Plant-Based “Mylks”; From cashew to banana, and everything in between. I promise, it is way easier (and tastier!) than you think.

Whether you are vegan, sensitive to dairy, or looking to try something new, these plant-based nut milks (mylks) were designed just for you!

Some of you may be thinking: “I don’t have time to make my own milk. I can go to a store and buy it, why should I bother?”

Well, I’m not going to go into the ethics or gorey details of why you should limit dairy consumption. Google it and look at any of the 39,700,000 results. I will, however, tell you why you should aim to make your own plant-based milks over buying ones on the shelf.

Store-bought plant-based milks are often filled with preservatives, thickening agents, gums, isolates and lecithins, and unless you buy unsweetened: roughly 14-24 teaspoons of sugar. It isn’t just plant-based milks, though. Standard cow’s milk could contain anywhere from 22-28 teaspoons of sugar. All of these “natural” ingredients in store bought milk could lead to inflammation, insulin spikes, leaky gut, digestive discomfort, bloating and excessive gas.

There is also the simple truth of the matter: it just tastes better. When you take the time to make it yourself, put love into it, and use fresh ingredients that have not been processed, it is hard to go back to the store-bought stuff!


DIY Plant-Based “Mylks”

 

Banana

Naturally Sweet and Creamy!

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

1 Banana

1-2 Dates

Put ingredients in a blender and blend. Enjoy immediately.


Coconut (Lazy Version)

Easy-Breezy and Smooth Going Down

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp Coconut Manna or Butter

1-2 Dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Coconut (Lazy Artisan Version)

One of my favorite methods. The result is Rich, Indulgent, and Full-Bodied.

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

2 Cups Coconut Shreds

2-4 Dates

Heat up the water to the point of steaming. Pour in a bowl with the Coconut Shreds and let stand to soften (can skip if you have a high quality blender).

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend from low to high until smooth. Pour through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.

Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Coconut (Artisan Version)

I recommend investing in a CoCo Jack for this one….

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

Flesh of 2 Coconuts

Crack open the coconut and scoop out its flesh. Remove as much of the shell fragments as possible.

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy. Strain through a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store up to 5 days in fridge.


Nut or Seed of Choice (Lazy Version)

I like doing this in my Coffee for an Easy and Satisfying Latte.

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp of Unsweetened Seed or Nut Butter

1-2 dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Nut or Seed of Choice (Artisan Version)

Pro-Tip: Always soak the nuts in a bowl of water overnight, at least 8 hours. For seeds, soak at least 2 hours. Remove the ones that float to the top. This gets rid of the bad ones and makes them easier to blend.

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

1 Cup Raw Nuts: Almond, Cashew, Pecan (add extra ¼ cup), Pistachio, Macadamia, Hazelnut, Brazil

OR

1 Cup Raw Seeds: Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Hemp or Chia (no need to soak)

2-4 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour ingredients through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store in fridge up to 5 days.


Hemp (Lazy Version)

This one gets a special feature because of how easy it is to make. It is one of my go-tos as it is super frothy and great for homemade lattes!

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

1-2 Dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Oat

You don’t know creamy until you have tried oat mylk.

Serves: 3-5

3 Cup Water

2 Cups Oats

1-2 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Strain through several layers of cheesecloth and store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Quinoa or Rice

Slightly nutty in taste. Not bad at all.

Serves: 4-6

3-4 Cups Water

2 Cups Cooked Quinoa or Rice

1-3 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Optional: 1 tsp Vanilla

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until well combined. Pour through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Notes and Tips:

  • Use filtered water for all of the recipes.
  • Experiment with different flavors! You can add cocoa or cacao powders, vanilla, different fruits… It doesn’t have to be plain!
  • I use dates in my recipes to sweeten, as they are a whole food and won’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugars do. Adding them is optional, as these all still taste wonderful without. If you choose to use the dates and they’re a bit on the harder side, soak them prior to using (approx. 30 minutes). You may also swap them for your preferred sweetener.
  • Always use an airtight container to store these in to prevent spoilage. I personally use 64 oz mason jars for the stored batches.

 

What is your favorite milk alternative? Are there any unique flavors you can think of and would like to try? Let’s get creative and start a conversation in the comments below!

Vegan Mint Cacao Coconut Bliss Balls 

Better late than never, right?! These melt-in-your-mouth yummy bliss balls, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, are the perfect healthy snack for any time and make a great pre- and post-workout! Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and 5 grams of protein per serving (and let’s face it, you can’t eat just one!) 

St. Patty’s Day Mint Cacao Coconut Balls

Ingredients

    1 Cup Shredded Coconut

    1 Cup Almond Meal

    ¼ Cup Pascha Cacao Chips (I used 100%)

    2 TBSP Coconut Oil

    2 TBSP Sweetner of Choice

    1-2 TBSP Chlorella or Spirulina (I like Spirulina for the protein, if you can handle the taste!)

    ½ TSP Peppermint Extract

    ¼ Cups Hemp Seeds

Add all ingredients except the Cacao Chips in a bowl. Mix well, then stir in Cacao Chips. Shape into balls and store in fridge in an airtight container.

Serves: 11