Thanksgiving Butternut Squash & Apple Feta Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you’re all able to take a moment this weekend to soak in all that you are thankful for: family, friends, health, laughs and of course the exquisite tables of never-ending food that we are fortunate enough to prepare over hours with love and devour within just a few minutes! I am remarkably thankful for this holiday as it truly allows me to press pause on my life for just a moment and in that moment realize that even though our world is struggling in many ways, there is still beauty, resilience, love and a positive energetic force that goes on around us, let’s embody those forces and emit them to the world around us. In that little message I am going to share with you a little sumthin sumthin that I whipped up yesterday to bring to the table of feasts at my family dinner, with overwhelming positive feedback on my Thanksgiving Butternut Squash & Apple Feta Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic, I will pay it forward to your table of thankfulness and hope you and your loved ones truly enjoy!

I signed up for the salad category as my contribution to my mom’s always INCREDIBLE Thanksgiving dinner this year, I wanted make a hearty but still fresh, seasonal salad that encompassed Thanksgiving colors and flavors. I hummed and hawed on what type of salad to make and decided to go with what I had on hand and hope for the best! I had a giant butternut squash lying on the counter top, a head of fresh kale/sweet kale super food leaf mix in the fridge, a pot full of herbs, a mound of golden apples, half a red onion bulb and some of my fav fixings like pecans, hemp, pumpkin seeds and that salty delicious feta! Then I got choppin and cookin and this salad came out better than I could have imagined!

So if you need to bring something to dinner tomorrow… (sorry this post is a little late, but I had to share!) now you’ve got a seasonal salad to impress the fam jam with and it keeps well for the next day so you can keep a little for yourself to snack on the day after indulging!

Here is what you’ll need and hopefully have lying around!

Serves 6-8 people:

4 cups of butternut squash – peeled & cut into small cubes

1 tbsp fresh rosemary (1 tsp dried)

1 tbsp fresh thyme (1 tsp dried)

2 tsp onion powder

2 large golden apples – sliced into matchsticks

8 cups of soft curly kale (I did 4 cups of kale and 4 cups of the Eat Smart Sweet Kale Salad mix)

1/4 red onion – very thinly sliced

1/3 cup pecans whole (tossed in 1 tsp honey & 1/4 tsp cinnamon, pinch of salt)

1/4 cup light feta – crumbled

2 tbsp pepitas

2 tbsp hemp (I buy bulk at Superstore/Save on Foods)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Pomegranate Balsamic Salad Dressing:

1/2 cup fresh pomegranate juice

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

Salt & Pepper to taste

How to make:

Heat oven to 400 Fahrenheit

Take diced butternut squash & toss with a small amount of olive oil until just coated, toss in fresh herbs, onion powder, salt & pepper.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake squash for 20 minutes, flip half way.

In a large salad bowl add your kale/kale mix, apples, red onion, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper and toss well.

Take your pecans & toss them in 1 tsp of warmed liquid honey, cinnamon & a pinch of salt, when your squash has 6 minutes left to bake, add to your baking sheet and bake 3 minutes a side.

When your squash & pecans are done, let them cool.

Crush pecans and top your salad with crushed pecans, squash, hemp, pepitas & feta.

Add all your dressing ingredients together and mix well.

Pour dressing over your salad when ready to serve, enjoy your Thanksgiving Butternut Squash & Apple Feta Salad!

Happy Thanksgiving and sending much love, XOXO!

 

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Spiced Apple Carrot Cake for an Easter Treat!

Happy happy Friday of a long Easter weekend to you all! I realize I’m cutting it close here posting an Easter inspired recipe, but I needed this Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Maple Cinnamon Infused Greek Yogurt topping to be perfection for all you and perhaps it can make a presence at your family Easter dinner!? I adore carrot cake, it’s my absolute personal favorite, so I’ve been a busy bee creating a healthier version that wasn’t packed with sugar or butter, well I’d say I’ve delivered with my gluten-free and refined sugar-free, Spiced Apple Carrot Cake, it’s freakin incredible!

My mom makes a mean carrot cake, so I thank her for showing my palate what a yummy carrot cake should taste like, big shoes to fill, I had quite the task trying to develop a healthier version and retaining all that goodness! I seriously tried quite a few combos and batches before I could say I was truly thrilled about the end product. Also my husband, AKA, #1 food test subject, inhaled half the cake in joy, I knew it was the one (the cake, and my husband too, I suppose :))

I prefer a denser carrot cake that hit you in the face with balanced warm spices and where with every bite you get a delightful surprise of crunch and an explosion of flavor. I actually think that is why I adore carrot cake so much, you never know what every forkful will deliver with all the mixing’s and infusion of spices, mmm. My cake is made with a gluten-free and nutrient rich base of oat flour and garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour, a multitude of warming spices, of course carrots and I decided to experiment with the addition of yummy tart green apples into the blend, this was the trick! It brought another beautiful flavor dimension to this cake as well as moisture. My favorite mix in combinations ended up being dried pineapple, walnuts and raisins, but you can get wild and creative here, kinda like Marble Slab, carrot cake version… !

Now, you simply can’t have carrot cake without some sort of creamy topping, that is unacceptable. I wanted to keep this fresh and lite to stay balanced with my Spiced Apple Carrot Cake, so I developed a Maple Cinnamon Infused Yogurt Cream to smother on top! It’s simple and much healthier than sugary cream cheese icing, so you can apply a little more! In a bowl simply whip together Skyr plain yogurt (or any thick plan greek yogurt), maple syrup, cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice and you have got yourself a finger licking good cream to throw on top of that cake!

My Spiced Apple Carrot Cake will be making an appearance at my family Easter dinner this weekend, I’ll keep you posted on what my family has to say regarding my healthy carrot cake! Let me know what you think of the recipe if you decide to make it a guest at your Easter or family gathering! Happy long weekend, sending lots of love! XOXO

 

 

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