Warm Winter Farro with Butternut Squash + Kale

During the colder months of the year, I generally have a hard time getting excited for salads (like, even more than usual.) I’m craving something warm, comforting and hearty when it’s chilly outside, and the thought of eating cold lettuce could not be less appealing. I found a little trick – if I throw in a healthy grain and make it warm, what would normally be a boring “salad” becomes a colorful, filling, flavorful bowl of comfort food. I’ve been experimenting with different vegetables on my quest to eat more seasonally. Lucky for us, winter gives us some REAL GOOD stuff to work with. Butternut squash, kale & Brussels sprouts are at their peak this month, so I decided to take a stab at creating a delicious bowl of goodness featuring these three winter all-stars, along with whatever else I had in my fridge. The result did not disappoint, and my favorite thing about this recipe is that you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also it’s vegetarian, making it a great option if you’re looking to cut back on meat without sacrificing flavor or general happiness.

Warm Winter Farro w/ Butternut Squash + Kale

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

  • Farro – I just became acquainted with this grain in the last year, and I am obsessed with it’s nutty taste and its overall versatility. It has a bit more substance and texture than quinoa, plus it’s packed with fiber & protein. LOVE.
  • Butternut Squash – I’d been intimidated by this veg until recently, mostly since I couldn’t understand how to cut it (embarrassing). After overcoming my laziness, I’ve realized it’s not hard to prepare at all. It’s also an amazing source of fiber, and it’s texture/flavor reminds me of sweet potato in that it can be sweet or savory and makes any dish feel more substantial & filling. I have SO many good recipes with this to share in the future!
  • Kale – Kale is obviously a superfood and is another easy way to get in fiber (if you can’t tell, I’m a big advocate of eating all of the fiber). It’s also filled with tons of antioxidants + anti-inflammatory properties. I love the way the lemon squeeze brightens the flavor of the kale in this dish, and adds an extra boost of detoxifying goodness.
  • Brussels Sprouts – Guys, I love Brussels Sprouts. One of my biggest life accomplishments is getting my husband to love them almost as much as me. I love them in all forms (raw, sauteed, roasted, fried – I have no limits) and they literally add texture & FIBER to any recipe. They’re also packed with Vitamin C – so good for keeping your immune system 100 during these chilly months.
  • Pecorino Romano – I try to cook without dairy as often as possible (because I LOVE cheese so try to save it for when I’m dining out), but this is honestly the stand-out of this dish. This is a sheep’s milk cheese that’s similar to parmesan (which is a cow’s milk cheese) but a little sharper & tangier. Sheep’s milk cheeses are way easier to digest than cow’s milk, making it a great choice if you’re sensitive to lactose like me. I love the way the pecorino brings out the flavors of the vegetables, how it melts into the little crevices of the farro & brightens up the entire dish with the taste of the lemon.

This recipe is so versatile and could easily be modified with other ingredients you have on hand. Substitution ideas include:

  • Spinach instead of kale (it’s also in season!)
  • EVOO instead of coconut oil
  • Quinoa or brown rice instead of farro (this would make it gluten-free)
  • Sweet potato instead of butternut squash (SP’s are also in season)
  • Manchego, goat cheese, or feta instead of Pecorino Romano. These are all sheep or goat’s milk cheeses, so also safe if you’re lactose-sensitive. If lactose isn’t an issue for you, good ole parmesan works great here, too.
  • If you’re craving animal protein, you can also add chicken apple sausage or turkey sausage. My husband generally needs some kind of meat to make his meal feel “complete,” so if you’re the same way, these are easy additions.

I’ll definitely be making more variations of this in the future, but if you try it yourself let me know what you think!

Warm Winter Farro with Butternut Squash + Kale

Serves 1

*Note: This can easily be multiplied if making for a group or for meals throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash
  • 1 cup organic kale
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 tbsp raw organic coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup farro, uncooked (or 1/2 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 egg, fried
  • 1 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp (or more, no judgment here) Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon squeezed)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan, combine farro and about 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, cover & cook for about 25 minutes. Once cooked, drain any excess water and set aside.
  • While oven continues to pre-heat and farro cooks, peel & cut your butternut squash (unless you bought pre-chopped – in which case, I respect that.)
    • If you’re unsure how to tackle cutting this monstrosity of a vegetable, I was too, and this helped me.
  • Place butternut squash in a medium bowl. Coat with 1 tbsp melted coconut oil and season with salt, pepper & dried rosemary.
  • Spread on a greased baking sheet & roast 25 minutes. Once roasted, remove from oven and set aside.
    • If you roasted the whole squash, stash your leftovers in a Tupperware to enjoy in salads or bowls throughout the week. You can even use it to make a vegan “cheese” sauce. I like this one.
  • While the squash is roasting, prep the rest of the veggies:
    • Wash & dry all the fresh vegetables.
    • Tear the kale leaves off the stems, remove ribs & rough chop (or just tear).
    • Mince your garlic & small dice your red onion.
    • Thinly slice your green onion.
    • Chop your Brussels. I like to slice them pretty thin, but just sliced in half works just fine!
  • Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet (nonstick if you have it.) Add garlic & red onion, and cook until fragrant / until the onions start to sweat, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add Brussels & kale. Season with salt & pepper, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over the mixture. Stir until kale is wilted and Brussels are lightly browned on each side, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the roasted butternut squash and cooked farro to the skillet. Stir until all ingredients are combined and warmed through. S & P to taste.
  • Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with pecorino romano (or cheese of choice.)
  • While skillet is still nice & hot, add another touch of coconut oil (or EVOO or cooking spray) to the pan and crack an egg. Season with S&P, and cook to desired level of done-ness. Add on top of your bowl.
  • Finish with another pinch of pecorino romano + a few shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce if you like it hot like me. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean + Crunchy Energy Granola

Hi!

So I broke my “No Electronics Before Breakfast” Rule (will do another post on that later…) and the first thing I saw in my Instagram feed this AM was a delightful-looking granola from SkinnyMs. I have literally never made granola before, but I decided to take a stab at modifying this recipe this morning because 1.) it looked SO good, 2.) many of the ingredients were simple staples I already had on hand, and 3.) it seemed easy enough to mindlessly whip up pre-coffee.

What I love about this recipe is there are so many ways you can mix & match ingredients based on what your pantry is stocked with. And, it’s basically fool proof. 

Here’s what you need.

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GRAINS // 

SkinnyMs.’s recipe called for rolled oats, but I didn’t have any on hand so I improvised with good old fashioned Quaker Quick Oats. I always have quick oats on hand for making my grandma’s life-altering oatmeal chocolate chip cookies – a very not-clean recipe (what up Crisco) but will DEFINITELY share that at some point because they are to DIE. I also threw some organic Steel Cut Oats in the mix to spice up the texture (why pick 1 grain when you could have 2?!) Real talk, I have two giant tubs of steel cut oats and literally NEVER use them – will there EVER be a time that I want to spend 20+ minutes making oatmeal? Probably not, so this was a good opportunity to put them to use. The beauty of this is that any mix and match of grains will do, just aim for 1.5 cups of whatever it is (quinoa, farro, rolled oats, any other ideas?!)

NUTS //

I used raw almonds, roughly chopped, but any nut will do. I’m thinking cashews, walnuts or Brazil nuts for my next batch.

SEEDS //

I keep pumpkin seeds on hand year-round for salads ,veggie bowls and now granola – I love the texture and taste, plus they are chock-full of magnesium and omega-3’s. So good for you! I also added some heart-healthy sesame seeds since I had them handy. You can choose your own adventure based on whatever seeds you’ve got, just use ¾ cup of whatever it is. This would be really good with sunflower seeds too!

SOMETHING SWEET // 

Raw honey was my sweetener of choice, but you can throw in some dried fruit at the end, like cranberries or dates, or even stevia if you crave something a little sweeter. I like my granola to go both ways (I like to use it in both sweet & savory dishes) but you do you.

COCONUT OIL // 

To hold it all together and because YUM + allllll the anti-inflammatory and energy-boosting goodness.

BONUS ADDITIONS //

+ coconut flakes – To add even more toasty texture and taste, I added a few spoonfuls of organic unsweetened coconut flakes. I am addicted to these things – I’ll eat them with a small handful of dark chocolate chips, almonds or raspberries when I need a sweet fix so I always keep these around.

+ chia seedsI seriously put chia seeds in everything I can. They are SO good for energy, digestion, staying fuller longer, and add another layer of texture/crunch to any dish. To me, they are totally tasteless so I add them to everything, sweet or savory – salads, veggie bowls, smoothies, yogurt, my “pretend nutella” rice cake concoction, you name it.

+ pinch of salt – This balances out all the flavors. I like all my sweet things to have a

touch of savory (big pinch of salt in my chocolate chip cookies, always.)

 

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Servings: This makes about 3.5 cups of granola

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup quick oats
  • ¾ cup organic steel cut oats
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine the honey and coconut oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and pop in the microwave for 20 seconds. (Note: if you’re using conventional honey in a squeeze bottle, you can just add after this step since it won’t need melting.)
  • Add all other ingredients to the bowl and stir with a spoon until combined.
  • Spread on parchment paper on a baking sheet (or use one of these nonstick baking mats – they are LIFE) and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Stir after 10 minutes, bake for another 10 or until golden & toasty-looking.

*Recipe modified from SkinnyMs.

IMG_4030

I eat this with a scoop of Greek yogurt (I like Fage 0%) and a handful of blueberries (or raspberries, or blackberries, or strawberries…) or cereal with a splash of almond milk for the PERFECT breakfast or snack.  This is savory enough to sprinkle on a salad too – such a good crunch factor + extra energy-boost. You can even eat it on it’s own for an afternoon pick-me-up. I am ALWAYS craving something carb-y in that witching hour between 2pm and 5pm, and this is a super satisfying (guilt-free) way to reboot midday.

If you try this with any other combination of ingredients and you love it – let me know!

x lauren

 

Here goes nothing

Hi guys! This will be my very first post on bliss & brie, so here goes nothing. My lifelong passions have always been travel, food and writing, although the latter I haven’t done much of (since college) until now. Even just a few sentences in, it feels so good to just write. I’m always striving for balance, happiness and fulfillment through discovering new places, eating & cooking delicious food (with an emphasis on cheese, obvi) and practicing ALL of the self-care. I thought it’d be fun to start a platform to share my experiences along the way, and more importantly connect with anyone else who’s interested in / is borderline obsessed with good food, adventure travel, and all things wellness (skincare, fitness, beauty, mindfulness, new age-y stuff that’s kinda weird but you’re kinda intrigued by it anyway, etc.) so I can hear what your favorite tips, tricks, recipes and practices are.

So I’ll kick it off with a little background on my journey (that makes it sound like I am on The Bachelor but I am ok with it) and what led me to writing about it. I guess a good way to start is by saying this: I love carbs. I spent (spend..?) a lot of time being afraid of them – cutting them out or feeling guilty when I indulged. After experimenting with diets of all kinds (literally, like ALL of them) the single most important thing I’ve learned is that elimination doesn’t work for me, at least not long-term. I’m all for the occasional Whole30 reset, and I do have to be careful with both gluten and dairy, but for me, balance is the name of the game. If you know me, I can be an extreme person (if I love something I like, REALLY, love it) so balance doesn’t always come easily for me.

I’ve always loved food, traveling and discovering new things, but it wasn’t until last year – while preparing for my wedding, naturally – that I really made the effort learn more about wellness and self-care. And by that I mean educating myself on / actually paying attention to what nutrients and exercises serve me well. I really wasn’t feeling good in my own body and I couldn’t figure out WHY. It genuinely never occurred to me that something that works for somebody else might not be right for me. Example: Cutting out carbs and doing 1,000 spin classes still didn’t yield the results I wanted. I was starving and SoulCycle-poor with a constant headache (sugar withdrawal is a THING) and still not reaching my goals. WTF?

I decided to mix it up. It turns out I could still enjoy the foods I love (can’t stop, won’t stop), and that more grounding, strength-based exercises like yoga & pilates (with the occasional SoulCycle – you never forget your first love) are what my body and my mind really crave. I’ve become fascinated by the world of wellness and how we can heal and change our bodies and minds with food, movement and other non-traditional methods I had never even heard of before (meditation, reiki, Ayurveda, even more woo-woo stuff I haven’t even explored yet). I love learning new ways to cook and eat in a way that is more mindful, clean and healthy-ish, but most importantly DELICIOUS and never, ever boring. Do I occasionally require a Domino’s pizza and/or a Cheesy Gordita Crunch? Yep. Is wine a vital part of my diet? 100%. Like I said, balance guys. NEVER FORGET – Chrissy Teigen loves Taco Bell and has a supermodel bod, is married to John Legend and is literally a national treasure. So I’m not going to feel bad about it, and neither should you.

I can’t wait to share more with y’all – stay tuned.

x lauren