Tag Archives: coconut oil

Kale, Squash and Cranberry Saute (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

Kale Squash and Cranberry Saute from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.comI try to eat vegetables at every meal, in order to get 7-9 servings of vegetables a day. I’ve found it’s done dramatic things for my health and waistline. When it was summer, it was easy to find a variety of vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. But now that it’s winter, my options that are organic and not imported are a lot fewer. So I’ve been doing a lot of winter squash and kale.

I’ve been on a big kale and butternut squash kick recently. I eat both nearly every day in a variety of ways. Green smoothies, soup, stir fries, you name it. But one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy both is in this hearty dish that I make for breakfast a few times per week.

This dish also uses cranberries, which I stock up on during the holidays and keep in the freezer. I love the way the cranberries in this dish complement the earthy flavors. So often we think of cranberry as sweet, since we typically add so much sugar to them. But in this dish the tangy, sour flavor of the cranberry adds a lot.

I hope you enjoy this healthy dish as much as I do!

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Kale, Squash and Cranberry Saute

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 slice nitrite-free bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 leaves kale, washed and trimmed from stems, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces (I typically prepare a whole squash, and keep the cooked cubes in the freezer)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh whole cranberries (unsweetened), chopped
  • 1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) Note: Can also use water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1-2 eggs

Here’s What To Do:

  1. In a large frying pan, melt coconut oil. 
  2. Add chopped bacon and onion, and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add kale, butternut squash, cranberries, broth, salt and pepper, and saute for 5-7 minutes or until kale reaches desired tenderness.
  4. Toss in pumpkin seeds, and stir fry for 1 more minute.
  5. Put on a plate.
  6. Wipe out saucepan, and then cook 1-2 fried eggs.
  7. Serve eggs over kale saute.

What’s your favorite way to serve kale and squash?

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Healthy Fats – Choosing Them and Using Them

Since I’ve been on this gluten and refined sugar free eating lifestyle, I’ve been doing a lot of research. I’ve also added fat back into my life, specifically coconut oil and olive oil, a little sesame oil, and of course the fat in things like butter and meats. These make foods a lot more filling and satisfying.

From what I’ve read, I’m convinced that part of what is making people obese is avoiding fats (which the body needs), and replacing it with processed foods and grains (which often have sugar added to make up for the lack of fat.) In fact, it seems that you can correlate the current spike in obesity with the beginning of the lowfat/high grain craze.

Now of course all foods should be consumed in moderation, and this goes for fats as well as everything else. But I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve learned about oils that have worked for me.

  • Canola Oil: From what I have read, this heavily touted “healthy” oil is anything but. First of all, it’s heavily genetically engineered. Personally I try to avoid foods that are science projects. After all, that’s what has caused such harm with wheat, and new research is finding that our heavily genetically modified corn crop caused MASSIVE tumors in rats. No thank you! Then add to this how it’s produced: they use solvents to extract it (and these are still present in the end product), deodorize it (which causes most of the Omega 3’s to become rancid) and hydrogenate it (turning it into trans fats). There is still science to be done to determine the safety of canola oil, but it’s certainly not one I choose to use.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is a great choice for cooking, and one that I use often. It’s important to note, however, that not all olive oil is the same. Apparently in Italy, olive oil is one of the biggest rackets going. MANY brands of olive oil are cut with cheaper oils (including canola), and then sold as pure olive oil. This post describes more about this. When I did the “fridge test” described in the post, I was shocked to discover that the “good quality” olive oil I thought I was buying turned cloudy! I took Mark’s advice and looked for olive oil produced closer to home. I found a California olive oil that I love, and I was SHOCKED at how different…and delicious…it tastes! Really fruity.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a new love of mine, and one I discovered when researching this new lifestyle. It’s been used forever and is super healthy for you. The flavor is slightly sweet, and does not give off a strong coconut flavor. Depending on the temperature you live in, it may be solid or liquid (but it’s a simple thing to liquify it by microwaving it or putting it over low heat for a couple minutes on the stove.) I love the flavor that vegetables and meat take on when cooked in coconut oil, and it’s a fabulous oil for baking. Do note, however, that you have to keep the temperature fairly low when cooking with coconut oil on the stove. Medium heat is about the highest you can go, or it smokes terribly. Also note that it’s NOT great for pan greasing. I find that it doesn’t provide a non-stick coating as well as olive oil or butter do. I buy my coconut oil online at Amazon with free shipping, because it’s most cost effective.
  • Sesame Oil: I’ve actually used sesame oil for years because I live in an Asian household, and it’s a staple for creating authentic Asian flavors. However it also seems that there are a whole host of health benefits to this oil. You can read about them here. I usually use Sesame Oil in small quantities, because the flavor is quite strong. But it adds a wonderful nutty flavor to dishes that my family loves. Here’s the brand my family buys at the Asian Market. It’s also available on Amazon.
  • Butter: If you want buttery flavor, please use the real stuff and not a science experiment (i.e. skip the margarine!). I absolutely love the flavor of grass-fed organic butter. It melts well, lends an amazing flavor to dishes, and simply can’t be replaced by substitutes. We don’t use a ton of butter in our dishes (often just using it for finishing a dish) but it’s a great fat to have on hand. And your body needs a certain amount of saturated fat. What causes heart disease etc. is inflammation in the body. And inflammation is caused by…you guessed it…the white stuff: flour, sugar, etc.

I have to tell you that since we’ve added fat back into our diets, food just feels more satisfying. Plus it’s filling. I’m dropping weight without really trying, but I’m never hungry! It seems like my body just knows it’s getting the right foods now, and fat is a part of that.

What fats do you include in your cooking? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.