Sweet Potato Butternut Casserole with Candied Pecans

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is time for my favorite Turkey Day staple. Here’s a recipe for my family’s sweet potato butternut casserole with candied pecans — a fail-proof winner! My family typically makes it with only sweet potatoes but I modified the recipe this year to incorporate butternut squash. It makes the dish lighter and is still incredibly delicious — more like a sweet potato/ butternut crumble than a veggie side.

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 c mashed sweet potatoes

1 1/4 c butternut squash (alternatively, swap this amount for sweet potatoes)

1/4 c brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 c melted butter (I used earth balance)

3 tbsp milk of choice

1/4 tsp salt

Roast sweet potatoes and butternut squash at 350 until done. Cool, and scoop out with spoon. Puree in food processor until smooth. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into greased casserole dish and top with the following just before baking.

Pecan topping:

1/4 c almond meal

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c chopped pecans

3 tbsp c melted butter

Mix the first three ingredients together and sprinkle on the casserole. Then pour melted butter on top. Bake uncovered for one hour at 350.

Guilt-Free Banana Bread (v +gf)

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons stevia (alternatively use 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave)

2 ½ cups gluten-free flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 ripe medium bananas

1 egg

1/3 cup almond milk

½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

optional

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* To make this recipe vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon flaxseed for the egg.

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the egg, almond milk, and OJ. Mix well.

Combine the two mixtures together then fold in walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take out and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.

Best Healthy Cafés in Paris

Wild & the Moon (Marais)

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Acai Bowl

A vegan/vegetarian café using plant-based and sustainably grown ingredients. They offer juices, smoothies, soups, salads, vegetable bowls, and packaged snacks (kale chips, fruit bars, hummus, etc.). Located on rue Charlot in between chic art galleries and hand-crafted jewelry stores. Highly recommend.

Holybelly (10th arr)

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Holy Baked Beans + Champignons

Popular brunch and lunch spot with healthy vegan and vegetarian options. They change their menu monthly based on what is in season— exactly what I like to hear. Relaxed and casual atmosphere. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre)

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Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options. Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture.

La Guinguette d’Angèle (1st and 11th arr)

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Lunch Box (changes daily)

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Known for her beautiful and feminine plates decorated with flower petals and herbs, Angèle brings you gluten-free delicacies. Angèle is leading the way in the emerging Parisian health food movement. She has a small take-away shop in the 1er, a café or salon de thé in the 11è, and a catering service. She is also working on her second cook book and TV show on La Quotidienne. I am slightly biased because I work for Angèle, but I firmly support her philosophy of creating natural and healthy dishes.

Café Oberkampf (11th arr)

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Green Eggs + Feta, Avo Toast, Ham Sandwich

One of my favorite affordable brunch spots in Paris. They offer delicious Shakshuka and Green Eggs + Feta (pictured above), as well as an assortment of toasts and sandwiches. Again, be prepared to wait on the weekends as the café only sits around ~15 people at a time. My friend and I were so eager to eat after waiting 40 minutes that we ordered 3 entrées between the two of us! No regrets.

Merci (3rd arr, Marais)

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Butternut Squash + Lentil Salad with citrus dressing, Lavender Scones

Merci is a combined home goods store and cafe. You have probably seen an Instagram photo of girls posing in front of the vintage mini car (painted either bright yellow or red) that is located in the courtyard. The walls are lined with books and it is common for customers to bring their well-groomed dogs. Enjoy a butternut squash and lentil salad along with lavender infused scones.

13- a Baker’s Dozen (6th arr)

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Delicious healthy dishes. They are known for their homemade biscuits and gourmet coffees (must try the mocha and pumpkin spice latte). It is owned by two charming women— one from Sweden and one from the US. The cafe is very small and cozy, off of the main street and tucked away in an alley. They also speak English here.

Season (Marais)

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Acai Bowl, Salmon Eggs Benedict, Pancakes with maple bacon

Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple. They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Lomi (18th arr)

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Salmon avo toast

Excellent drip coffee and salmon avocado toast. A great place to bring your laptop and get work done.

Ob-La-Di (Marais)

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Matcha Bowls + Drip Coffee

Small coffee shop with organic coffee and brunch items.

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

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Celery Soup + Beet Hummus Toast + Salad

Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Biglove Caffè (Marais)

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Part of the Ober Mamma Italian chain. Not the healthiest brunch items but everything is delicious. We ordered the brioche french toast and truffle eggs, along with a pistachio and chocolate latté.

Other:

Le Tricycle  (10th arr) 100% vegan

Nous (9th and 10th arr)

Pinson (Marais)

Miznon (Marais)

 

 

Gluten-Free Almond Breakfast Cake

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Serve for breakfast or as a healthy dessert. To make it more decadent add maple syrup or honey on top. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 lemon (juice + zest)

1 banana (mashed)

1/4th c honey

1/2 c sliced almonds

125 g almond flour

1 t nutmeg

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla

butter or coconut oil for greasing

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs, lemon juice and zest, banana, honey, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl combine the almond flour, 1/4th c sliced almonds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  2. Combine the two mixtures and transfer the batter to a greased baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the sliced almonds on top.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Berry Banana Bread

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Ingredients:

1 ½ c whole-wheat flour

½ c oats

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ c butter (I used earth balance)

½ c brown sugar

½ c honey

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 bananas (mashed)

1 c fresh berries

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda together.
  2. In another bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Combine the two bowls together thoroughly then mix in mashed bananas and berries.
  4. Pour mixture into a well- greased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

La Cuisine Française

My food adventures from the last month:

Casa San Pablo (Marais): Tapas

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Balsamic mushrooms and calamari

Cute tapas restaurant in Le Marais. Order a few tapas to share and enjoy with a pitcher of Sangria on the side of the street. Waiters are friendly and happy to help you practice French 🙂

Season (Marais): Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple

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Quinoa Salad and Shakshuka

They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I need to go back and try their acai bowl. ALSO GIVEAWAY: if you like my new wood watch (Frankie Dark Sandalwood & Emerald) then enter in a contest for the chance to win a $75 gift card. PLUS everyone who enters automatically receives a $20 gift card.

Wooden Wristwatch

Mariage Frères (Multiple Locations): Famous up-scale tea house

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Classic brunch course (bougie eggs, vegetables, brioche, dessert, and choice of tea)

This is the kind of place I reserve for special occasions. The service and decor is elegant and refined. I celebrated my 23rd birthday here with my friend Dawkins, a dear friend who I’ve known since I was three. They have excellent tea and desserts. My favorite is Pleine Lune (almond black tea with honey) and Imperial Wedding (chocolate black tea with caramel). The tea list is extensive and daunting so ask for recommendations, otherwise you will be lost.

Bob’s Kitchen (Marias) Casual laid-back vegan/vegetarian café

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Green Curry Veggie Bowl

Enjoy delicious home-made food and juices in a relaxed and casual setting. Bob’s Kitchen is hidden off of one streets by the centre Pompidou—you would not notice it, unless seeking it out, like I was. They have a small kitchen and serve dishes until they run out. They are known for their daily vegetable bowls. I got the green curry veggie bowl that comes with brown rice, sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, and broccoli. The other two options were lentil curry and peanut curry.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre) Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options

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Curry lentils with vegetables, greek yogurt, and toasted coconut

Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture. Highly recommend!

Angelina (Rue de Rivoli) Famous tea house known for their chocolat chaud and Mont Blanc dessert

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Famous hot chocolate

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Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon

The best chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in Paris!  It is touristy but the hot chocolate is the creamiest and richest I’ve ever drunk. It is so thick and decadent that I would almost classify it has pudding. I recommend putting on your most Blair Waldorf esque outfit and coming with a couple girlfriends on a chilly day.

Au P’tit Grec (Latin Quarter) Best street crêpes in Paris

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Crêpe with ham, chèvre, tomatoes, and lettuce

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Extremely delicious street crêpes located on Rue Mouffetard— lucky me it’s right down the street. My favorite combination (because there are hundreds) is jambon (ham), chèvre (goat cheese), salade (greens), tomate (tomatoes), aubergine (eggplant), and herbs de provence!

L’As du Fallafel (Marais) Famous out-of-this-world falafel place

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Situated in the heart of Le Marais, my favorite area in Paris, on Rue des Rosiers. The best falafel in Paris and I’ll go as far to say, the best street food in Paris! For only 6 euros you can enjoy a heaping pita filled with falafel, aubergine, cabbage, and special spicy tahini sauce.  There is always a line so I recommend avoid going on the weekend. You will wait at least 40 minutes.

Du Pain et Des Idées (10th arr)  Delicious baked goods

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A famous boulangerie known for their pistachio-chocolate escargot croissant.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (DF)

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Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower (chopped into bite size pieces)

2 cups milk of choice (I used almond milk)

½ cups water

1 onion

2 cups mushroom

1 teaspoon fresh garlic

basil or cilantro for garnishing

salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on top. Cook for ~40 minutes, until the cauliflower has developed crispy edges. Take out and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic together. Once they are golden set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the cauliflower, onion, mushroom, garlic, milk, and water in a Vitamix and blend together. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large pot and blend together with an immersion blender. Add salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Serve with basil or cilantro on top.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

‘Tis the season for PUMPKIN! Here is an easy and delicious recipe for pumpkin oat muffins. Happy fall everyone!

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Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey (maple syrup or agave work too)

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/4th soy milk (or milk of choice)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup oats (plus more for garnishing)

Recipe makes 12 muffins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil then immediately mix it with the maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin purée, soy milk, vanilla, and almond extract. The coconut oil will begin to harden again so it needs to be stirred in with the other ingredients right away.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together (baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, flour and oats) then combine it with the coconut oil mixture.
  4. Divide the batter between the twelve muffin tins. Sprinkle a few oats on top of each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, around 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve with pumpkin butter from TJ’s.

Indispensable Pesto

This is a modified recipe from The Garlic Lover’s Cookbook. Warning: this pesto will leave a strong garlic taste in your mouth. Use less garlic if you plan on smooching anyone later in the night. For a healthy alternative try it over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

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1 cup grated fresh Parmesan

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup melted butter (or dairy-free, non-hydrogenated Earth Balance)

10-20 cloves fresh garlic (I use the whole bulb)

1 tbs pine nuts (I throw in a handful, because I love them)

3/4 olive oil

salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Using a blender or food processor, grate enough Parmesan cheese to make one cup; add basil.
  2. Then add melted butter, followed by garlic, pine nuts and finally the oil.
  3. Allow each added ingredient to blend smoothly with the preceding ones, and let stand at least one hour.
  4. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  5. Mix pesto with pasta fresh from the boiling water. Do not add too much pesto, but allow each person a chance to adjust flavor to taste, by adding more pesto if desired.
  6. Leftover pesto will last for a quite a long while if refrigerated in a plastic container, but do not freeze.

Thai Coconut Veggie Curry

Fall is upon us and there is nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of warm coconut curry. Growing up with a Korean mother made me accustom to strong spices and flavors. Once it gets cold I crave warm Asian soups and curries. This is my version of my mother’s infamous Thai Coconut Curry. I cheated and used TJ’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce, which makes almost anything taste good. I added all the veggies I had in my fridge along with TJ’s Baked Tofu and smothered it in coconut milk and curry sauce. Alternatively you can use chicken (or other meat of choice) and curry paste. I served it with garlic cauliflower quinoa rice (recipe below).
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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion

1/2 cup frozen spinach

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup organic baked tofu

1/2 cup organic broccoli slaw

4 carrots

1 broccoli

1 can lite coconut milk

1/2 cup TJ’s Yellow Curry Sauce (add more if you like spice)

1 cup veggie or chicken broth

1 teaspoon curry powder (I added another 1/2 of a teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Lime and cilantro

Directions for garlic cauliflower quinoa rice:

  1. Rinse 1 cup quinoa (or brown rice) thoroughly. Bring 2 cups of water to boil then add the rice. Alternatively for more flavor try using 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken/vegetable stock. It gives the rice a bit of seasoning and taste.
  2. After 5 minutes, lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add a splash of water (or vegetable/chicken stock) as needed.
  3. Once the rice has absorbed the water, add 1 cup cauliflower rice along with a splash of water/chicken stock.
  4. Once tender and fluffy add the chopped garlic and salt.
  5. Set aside until serving.

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil and sauté onions until golden.
  2. Stir in spices then the coconut milk, curry sauce, and vegetable stock. Mix for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and broccoli, stirring frequently. Cook until tender, around 10 minutes. Then add the frozen peas, spinach, and broccoli slaw.
  4. Taste (frequently!) and adjust seasoning as needed. I like a lot of spice so I am always adding more than I list.
  5. Serve with lime and cilantro.