Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Butternut Squash, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad

Anything with spinach and blue cheese is a winner for me. However, there's something EXTRA special and yummy about this dish. Maybe it's addition of the sweet roasted butternut squash or how all the flavors mingle together. I'm not sure, but it's heavenly and a new favorite of mine!

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, cubed 1 inch
2 tablespoon butter or coconut oil, melted
1 small red onion, diced
8oz bag baby spinach
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Place cubed butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden brown, tossing occasionally. Remove from oven and place in large bowl when slightly cooled.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Turn off heat and immediately add spinach and apple cider vinegar. Keep tossing spinach mixture until slightly wilted and warm. Remove from heat. Add spinach mixture to squash when roasted. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbs and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to mix and enjoy!


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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash Bake

If you like butternut squash, you have to try it with curry. It's simply delicious and adds a wonderful unique flavor that's pretty amazing. In fact, I made it for my last MOPS meeting and it went over wonderfully!!! So it's great for a potluck or for a weeknight side dish.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup raisins
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. In a large pot, combine squash and onion; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook about 15 minutes or until squash is tender; drain well. Spoon squash mixture into a large bowl. Set aside and let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Add to squash mixture. Working in batches, spoon mixture into blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with raisins and coconut. Bake another 20 minutes until center is set.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Raw Mango Chocolate Bon Bons - Dairy and Gluten Free

These bon bons are a triple delight with a mango layer, vanilla cashew layer and chocolate layer. They require bon bon molds or ice cube molds to make. However, you can easily make a triple mango "ice cream" cake out of this recipe by using a pie pan or an 8 inch spring form pan. How fun!!!

* If using this recipe for a "cake", you'll want to start with the chocolate layer first, the vanilla layer second and the mango layer last.


Mango Topper


12 oz frozen mango, thawed
1 small banana, really ripe
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (optional)
Pinch stevia or honey to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour into molds filling only 1/3 of the mold. Chill in freezer to set.

Vanilla Filling
2 cups cashews
1/2 cup raw honey
One lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, process cashews until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients until smooth. Once mango layer is set, carefully fill another 1/3 of the mold with the vanilla filling. Place in freezer to set.

Chocolate Crust

1 1/2 cup almonds or almond flour
7 large pitted dates
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

If using whole almonds, grind them in a food processor until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients to almond flour and process into a dough. Add a tiny bit of water if dough is too dry. Once vanilla layer is set, carefully fill the remaining 1/3 of the mold with the chocolate crust layer. Place in freezer to set.

Once chocolate layer is set, remove from freezer. Let stand a few minutes to soften and carefully remove from molds. Serve immediately or place back in freezer until ready to eat. Will keep in freezer for 2-4 weeks.




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Black Bean Banana Brownies

I've experimented with many black bean brownie recipes and this is my absolute favorite. It produces moist brownies with dense texture and full rich chocolate flavor. The banana adds an additional twist of sweetness and interest of flavor that's unbelievable. These are so healthy and delicious....you have to try them!

Since these are made with black beans, they are perfect for a snack as the protein really fills you up keeps you going. I've also sweetened them with stevia so you won't get a sugar crash! :)


1 can black beans
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon pure white stevia powder (or to taste)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven 325 degrees. Rinse black beans. Place beans, oats and banana in a food processor. Pulse several times to break mixture down. Add applesauce, stevia, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla to food processor. Pulse several times to mix well. Add cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt to food processor and mix until batter is completely mixed and broken down. Carefully remove blade from processor and gently fold walnuts and chocolate chips into batter if using. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until center is firm.

Cucumber, Feta and Pomegranate Salad

It's that time of year again....time for POMEGRANATES! I love pomegranates which are filled with lots of juicy tart little seeds. They add so much wonderful flavor, crunch and nutrition to any dish. Once you start using them....you'll find an excuse to sprinkle the seeds on anything. :) Here, I've added them to creamy feta and crunchy cucumbers to make a delicious salad that perfect for the holidays or any weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber, seeded and cubed
1 pomegranate, seeded*
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Place cucumber, pomegranate seeds and cilantro in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey and olive oil. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Add feta cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste and gently fold into salad. Serve immediately or chill for 15-20 to let flavors to mingle.

* If you're unsure on how to de-seed a pomegranate, watch this quick informative video on removing seeds from a pomegranate.

Corn and Blueberry Salad

This salad is great any time of the year, but I love to fix it when blueberries are abundant and in season. It's unique in taste and bursting with color....dark blue berries, bright yellow corn and bright green parsley make for a beautiful combination. You totally eat this salad with your eyes first!

Ingredients:


1 bag frozen corn, thawed
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 small cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion and parsley and set aside. In a small bowl add lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk together. Pour dressing over corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Super Berry Chocolate Bombs

Goji berries, also known as the wolfberry, are one of the most nutritionally rich fruits on the planet. So pairing them with nutrient dense raw cocoa, gives you the ultimate superfood sweet treat! They have a tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour so they pair really well with cocoa. Give these a try and feel happy and energized all day!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Goji berries
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw cocoa
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

Soak the goji berries in enough water to cover for at least 30 minutes. Drain water. Add to a food processor along with remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Pour into ice cube molds or mini muffin tins. Line molds or tins with oil, parchment paper or plastic wrap for easier removal. Place in freezer until frozen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spinach Cheese Cakes

I used love the spinach cheese dip appetizer served at a lot of restaurants. However, it's shocking to discover what most of those dips consist of...let alone the calorie content. Therefore, I wanted to come up with a spinach dish that was similar to spinach cheese dip but healthy. I also wanted something that could be used as a stand alone or main dish. With all this in mind, came these yummy spinach cakes. They are hearty enough to be served as a vegetarian main dish and you don't need chips to eat them unlike actual spinach dip!

Worth mentioning - Spinach is number 5 on the dirty dozen list so it's worth it to buy organic!


Ingredients:

16 oz bag frozen chopped organic spinach, thawed
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1 cup organic light cottage cheese
2 eggs, free-range organic if possible
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain or squeeze excess water off spinach. Place in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese plus all the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combine leaving texture. Set aside. Next, coat a muffin pan with cooking spray or light oil. Fill muffin cups to top with spinach mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until set and slightly golden on top. Let stand 5 minutes to set. To remove, loosen edges with a knife then use a flexible spatula to scoop out. Makes 8-10 spinach cakes.

Pineapple, Carrot and Mango Salad

This is a sweet and spicy salad that's bursting with flavor. It combines sweet fruit, carrots and spicy radishes to add a kick of flavor. You can leave the radishes out, but they really add another level to this salad. Plus, because of the high vitamin content of radishes, they are helpful for colds, flu, cancer, skin disorders, asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Ingredients:

1 small pineapple, peeled and cubed
1 large mango, peeled and cubed
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch radishes, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 orange, juiced
Pinch of stevia or honey to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add pineapple, mango, carrots, radishes and cilantro to a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, orange juice and stevia. Pour over pineapple mix and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomato, Feta and Olive Salad

I love the sweetness and color variety of grape and cherry tomatoes this time of year. They are so yummy just by themselves, that I can't help but sample them while I'm in the store! In this dish, I decided to pair them with delicious tangy olives and creamy feta. These classic Mediterranean flavors mingle so well together and offer a totally tasty dish!


Ingredients
:

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup large green olives, cut in half
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine tomatoes, olives, feta, and onion in a large bowl. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill or serve at room temperature.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Raw Blueberry Tarts

My Grandma always made fruit pies all of which were delicious. However, my favorite was always her blueberry pie. It was so sweet, and the beautiful deep purple color of the blueberries made it beautiful to look at as well. With this inspiration, I wanted to make a healthier blueberry dessert that would preserve the nutrients of the blueberries as they are packed full of disease reducing goodness. And here's my healthy version of the famous blueberry pie!

Ingredients:


Crust:
1 1/2 cup almonds
1 cup dried apricots
(if hard, soak for at least one hour)

Filling:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1 cup fresh blueberries, for garnish

Directions:

For crust - Place almonds in a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add apricots and blend until mixture forms a smooth dough. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Next press about 1/2 tablespoon of dough onto the bottom only of each liner. Set aside.

For filling - Place all ingredients into a food processor except the blueberries for garnish and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling into each cupcake liner and place in fridge for several hours until firm. Alternatively, place in freezer for a frozen treat until firm. Garnish with blueberries and enjoy. Makes about 18 tarts.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Raw Cinnamon Rolls

I used to love walking over to my Grandma's house for her famous made from scratch cinnamon rolls. She'd always have a fresh hot pan waiting for me and my friends which we'd quickly eat up. I can still smell the cinnamon that would fill her house from these fluffy delights. YUM...my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

In trying to create a healthy version of my Grandma's cinnamon rolls, I thought I'd try a raw version to make them as nutritious as possible. These turned out fantastic! Don't let the steps fool you, these are amazingly easy to make. :)

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch sea salt

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup dried plums, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch sea salt

Icing:
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup almond meal for garnish, optional


Directions:

Dough - In a food processor, blend dates, coconut oil and vanilla until a paste forms. Add
almond meal, flax seed, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse until a cohesive dough forms. Add a bit of water if necessary. Remove and set aside.

Filling - In a food processor, add dates, plums, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and cashews. Blend until smooth adding a bit of water if necessary. Remove and set aside

Icing -
In a food processor, add cashews, honey, vanilla and water. Blend until smooth adding more water if necessary. Remove and set aside.

Method - Place your dough on a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll into a large rectangle shape about 1/8 inch thick. Damp your roller with a bit of water to prevent sticking! Next, spread the cinnamon filling on top of the dough using a flexible spatula.
Wet spatula to prevent sticking. Using the paper, roll dough into a log. Place in freezer a few minutes to firm up, then cut into sections of desired thickness. Place on a serving tray and top with icing. Garnish with almond meal if desired. Warm gently in oven or dehydrator if desired.





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Sweet Purple Power Crunch

This is my 2 year old son's new favorite salad recipe, and mine too! It's super sweet and crunchy with an unexpected orange based dressing. I also just love to look at this salad with it's amazing purple color contrasted by the pretty green pumpkin seed....it's beautiful! :)

Ingredients:

1 small head purple cabbage, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup purple raisins
1/2 cup raw pumpkin sees

1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Stevia or honey to taste

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

To a large bowl, add chopped cabbage, onion, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Set aside. To a small bowl, add orange juice, vinegar and olive oil and lightly whisk together. Add stevia or honey to taste. Pour onto cabbage mixture and lightly toss. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or allow to sit for 20 minutes for flavors to incorporate.

Kiwi Sorbet

Kiwi's are an amazing fruit. They are packed with vitamin C and have this amazing bright green color that is very unique. They are also a great meat tenderizer because they contain a protein dissolving enzyme. Because of this enzyme, you won't find them in any dairy based ice creams. Knowing this, but wanting a kiwi flavored ice cream, I came up with a kiwi sorbet instead. It's still creamy without the cream....and oh so yummy!

Ingredients:

10 kiwi
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of stevia or honey to taste

Directions:

Peel and cut the kiwi into small chunks. Next, place in a freezer safe container and freeze for several hours until frozen. Once frozen, take out of the freezer and let soften for 15-20 minutes. Place frozen kiwi, raisins and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add honey or stevia to taste and pulse several times to mix. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is a yummy dressing that even kids will enjoy. It's sweet and takes seconds to blend in food processor or blender. It's also good to use as a marinate for chicken or mild fish too!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or pinch stevia
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients, except olive oil, to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Slowly add olive oil until well combined and emulsified.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Raw Carrot Cake

This has got to be one of the "World's Healthiest Carrot Cakes"! It's filled with raw whole ingredients and lots of yummy carrots and fresh spices. It's also the easiest carrot cake I've ever made so that's worth mentioning as well!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups oat flakes
3/4 cup almonds
3/4 cup dates, pitted and soaked in water
8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* Add stevia, maple syrup or honey to taste if additional sweetness is desired

1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons raw honey

Shredded carrot or orange peel for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Place oats in a food processor and grind into a flour. Pour flour into a large bowl.

Place almonds into food processor and grind until finely chopped. Place ground almonds in bowl with oat flour.

Drain dates (reserve water for smoothies or drinking) and place in food processor. Pulse several times until finely chopped. Place in bowl with oat flour.

Place carrots in food processor and grind until finely chopped. Place into bowl with oat flour.

Place flax, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ginger and additional sweetener if using in bowl with oat flour and mix well with hands. Place firmly into pie pan and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm.

Meanwhile make the icing by placing the cashews, orange juice and honey in a food processor and blend until very smooth. Pour on top of cake once chilled and enjoy! Garnish with shredded carrot or orange peel.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apple Cranberry Stuffed Squash

This stuffing is slightly sweet and bursting with fall flavors. It would be a wonderful dish for the holidays or whenever you're craving something warm and hearty. I like to put this stuffing in squash but you can use other veggies such as red pepper or portabella mushrooms and it's equally delicious.

Ingredients:

2 Delicatula, Acorn or other squash of choice
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pecans
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup dried apples
1/3 cup dried cranberries sweetened with juice
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sage powder
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place in a baking pan cut side down. Fill pan with enough water to cover the bottom. Bake squash for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and drain any remaining water. Turn squash cut side up onto pan and let cool.
Meanwhile, place all other ingredients into a food processor and pulse several times until finely ground. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times during this process. Place stuffing into squash. Place in oven at lowest temperature for several minutes to warm slightly.

Neapolitan "Ice Cream" Loaf - Dairy Free

I used to stay a couple of weeks at my Grandma's house every summer. These times were filled with water parks, mini golf and Neapolitan ice cream. I ate so much Neapolitan ice cream one summer that I haven't been able to eat it since. :) However, in memory of my Grandma, I celebrate this new healthy twist on my old time favorite.

Ingredients:

8 bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons raw cocoa or carob
Raw honey or stevia to taste

Directions:

Place 3 bananas and the vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. Add stevia to taste if desired. Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and freeze at least one hour or until hardened. Next, place another three bananas and cocoa in a blender and blend until smooth. Add stevia to taste if desired. Pour over vanilla layer and freeze until hardened. Lastly, place the remaining 2 bananas and the strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth. Add stevia to taste if desired. Pour over chocolate layer and freeze until hardened. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to soften a bit then cut into individual serving portions. The parchment paper allows for easy removal. :)

* The traditional layers place the strawberry layer in the middle which is how the direction have you follow. In the picture, I placed the strawberry in the middle instead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inflammation Healing - Tomato Caper Basil Salad

Did you know capers are one of the best sources of quercetin which calms and prevents inflammation. Just two tablespoons a week is all you need too! I've included them in this salad as they pair wonderfully with sweet tomatoes, but you can sprinkle them on almost anything. Also, this salad is great by itself, but I like to serve it on top of chicken, steak, fish or baked potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 large shallot or 1/4 red onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (use a variety of colors for visual interest)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caper brine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Add shallot, tomatoes, capers and basil to a large bowl and lightly toss together. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, caper brine and olive oil. Pour on top of tomato mixture and mix well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mango Salsa

I love making different types of salsas, but one of my all time favorites is mango salsa. It makes for more of a sweet and spicy mix which I love. Just make sure your mangoes are ripe or they will be too hard and bitter. Peaches, Pineapple and Papaya work well in this recipe if you can't find ripe Mangoes.

Ingredients:

3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 ripe mango, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Stir well with and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Mango Blackberry Guacamole

I love adding fruit to guacamole. The sweet, tart and creamy flavors all meld together and are absolutely delicious. Here the slight tartness of mangoes pair beautifully with the creamy avocados. The addition of sweet blackberries add color and visual interest while rounding out the flavors.

Ingredients:

2 avocados, slightly soft to the touch

1 cup white onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped and seeded

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup blackberries, chopped (substitute blueberries any other type of berries)
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Halve avocados and scoop out flesh with a spoon. Mash in a bowl with a fork. Stir in onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add mango and blackberries and fold softly into mixture. Store in an air tight container covered with parchment paper to prevent avocados from browning.

Raw Corn and Zucchini Salad

This is a delicious way to use up your summer corn and zucchini. Plus, you don't have to do any cooking. Just chop, mix and eat. Letting it marinate for a few hours will soften the zucchini and allow the flavors to mix but it's great to eat right away too!

Ingredients:

3 ears corn, husked and cleaned or 1 bag frozen corn, thawed
2 medium zucchini, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Stand corn on a clean towel. With a sharp knife, slice downward to release kernels. The towel will catch the loose kernels. Discard cobs and place kernels in a large bowl. Add zucchini, lime juice, olive oil and parsley. Season with sea salt and pepper and mix well.