Ingredient: sea salt, divided

Crown, Fall, Heart, Main, Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, Throat, Winter

Butternut Squash Soup with Barley

Serve with sautéed brussels sprouts, whole grain rolls.

I am new to experimenting with winter squash soups. I had this mental barrier that they took too long to make and/or would be cumbersome to prepare. Imagine my surprise when I put together this highly nutritious, warming meal together in under 45 minutes. I am now a squash soup convert!

All Seasons, Contains Nuts, Dairy Free, Dessert, Desserts, Fall, Gluten free, Low Sodium, Mexican, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Mexican Margarita Cookies

I adapted The Whole Meal’s popular and healthy raw Cinnamon Raisin Cookies for my friend, Kari L., for her Cinco De Mayo get together as she wanted to highlight fresh Mexican as well as healthier, in-theme desserts. This was a hit in testing with both kids and adults as it has just the right balance of sweet and salty with a punch of lime.

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Pan Sauteed Salmon with Dijon Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

Serve with rosemary-scented yellow squash and tomatoes and white rice-

I love to invite friends over for lunch and have them test a recipe with me; it’s a great way to spend time and catch up, as well as have other taste buds besides family give the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to a new culinary idea. My good friend, Megan W., gave this easy preparation seafood dish a “thumbs up” and I gave spending time with her “two thumbs up”.

Gluten free, Main, Paleo/Primal, Seafood, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer

Poached Salmon with a Creamy Pea Sauce

Serve with Herbed Roasted Potatoes-

I have been serving this simple yet elegant salmon entree every Easter, as it is always requested and especially appreciated by the non-meat eaters. The cream sauce is light as the emphasis is on the meaty salmon and fresh seasonal spring vegetables. Include this on your Easter buffet or serve it with herbed roasted potatoes for a special springtime weeknight dinner.

Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Grains, Indian, Main, Soups, Spring, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Sunset Dal and Pumpkin Soup

Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts-

This highly nourishing vegetarian soup is adapted from Nigel Slater’s Pumpkin Dal Soup recipe. He has a tradition of serving soup on New Year’s Day, but you won’t want to wait until then to try my simplified version. I’ve paired it with the nutritional powerhouse, Brussels sprouts, a hearty fall/winter vegetable that tends to sweeten during roasting and just happens to be my youngest’s favorite vegetable.

American, Appetizer, Condiments/Sauces, Contains Nuts, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Grains, Grains, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Wild Rice and Sweet Corn Balls with Roasted Red Pepper-Walnut Dip

These nutty-sweet wild rice-sweet corn balls with a hint of heat are the perfect compliment to the smoky red pepper-walnut dip. It’s a match made-in-heaven appetizer sure to illicit oohs and ahhs at your next potluck get together. I even like this pairing as a vegan lunch or dinner; just add a side of greens or a crisp salad.

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Black Eyed Pea Salad with Sweet Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette

Serve with brown rice and summer’s stewed tomatoes and corn-

One of my favorite bean dishes is Hoppin’ John, a comforting stew of rice, tomatoes and black eyed peas. It is one of the best dishes to eat in the south on January 1st as black eyed peas signify good luck for the coming year. Well, as the weather starts to warm up I want to prepare beans in a way that are cooling not warming. This is my take on a southern black eyed pea salad which is usually tossed in Italian vinaigrette. I think you’ll find the caramelized sweet onion dressing elevates it to a whole new level and paired with an equally southern side, stewed tomatoes (with a couple surprise ingredients), y’all be talkin’ with a drawl by the last bite.

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Turkey Thai Larb

Serve with Jasmine rice and Thai spiced slaw-

I love Thai food for it’s freshness of ingredients and the different spices come together so beautifully. Larb is a Thai salad but it is meat based. it is a staple of Thai Isaan food and is found at all Thai American restaurants. Traditionally each bite is eaten with a scoop of sticky Thai rice but since this may an ingredient most of would not have access to I have substituted fragrant jasmine rice. It is also usually made with ground or minced pork but there are versions made with chicken or duck. I like to have this recipe in my home file as I sometimes crave Thai but prefer to control the ingredients and save myself some money since it is so easy to make.

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Roasted Salmon and Grapes

Serve with millet pilaf and buttered broccoli-

A recipe on Whole Food Market’s website inspired this company-worthy meal. The original recipe featured a roasted fennel and grape sauce, but I roasted sweet onions with the grapes instead and laced it with tarragon for a more kid-friendly version. Both kids and adults alike raved about the concentrated flavors of the grapes and onions which compliment the meaty salmon very well. Perfect for fall, but also works well in the summer when you want to take breaks from salads and grilling.