Monday, December 13, 2010

Powerful Protein Pancakes

Ok, ready for a healthy and delicious jump start to you day?!?  Whip up some of these easy, yet powerful, pancakes... and you're ready for anything!  This recipe calls for buckwheat flour which is packed with protein, fiber, essential amino acids and many more important nutrients.

feeds 4-6

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup soy milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or buttermilk)
3/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp canola oil (coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil are all fine)
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

pure maple syrup

Squeeze 1 Tbsp of lemon juice into 1 cup of soy milk.  Set aside for 5 minutes... this turns it into a buttermilk substitute.

In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  In another smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, soy milk, eggs, vanilla, honey and oil.  Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir just enough to combine them.  Gently stir in blueberries.

Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on one side, then flip.

   (smother) Drizzle with pure maple syrup and serve warm...  mmm good!

Healthy Tortilla Soup

 This soup is soo easy and comforting.  We have all been a little under the weather here and this was the perfect meal to perk us back up.  It has the right amount of spice (if you like it spicier add more cumin, a dash of cayenne, or some chipotle seasoning).  It is hearty with all the beans and the collard greens and crispy tortillas.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of collard greens, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
4 cups of veggie stock
2 cups water
2 cans of cannellini beans
1 can kidney beans
1 small jar of salsa verde
1-2 tsp cumin

garnishes: (optional)
sliced avocado
broken tortilla chips
corn tortillas, crisped and sliced

Heat oil in a large stock pot/dutch oven, over medium heat.  Add in the garlic and collard greens.  Saute for about 3-5 minutes, or until the greens soften and even start to brown up a bit.  Next, add in the stock, water, salsa verde, beans, cumin and s/p.  Cook until heated through, about 30 minutes.

To crisp up your tortillas, heat a skillet over medium heat and toast the tortilla  until each side is charred to your liking.  Slice into strips and top your soup with them.

Sourdough Stuffing with Almonds and Apples

This stuffing will knock your socks off, seriously!  So good and so easy!  Give it a try!

serves 8-10

2 sourdough baguettes cut into 1-inch cubes
olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
3-4 large stalks of celery, diced
2 large granny smith apples, cored and diced
2-3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
2-4 cups veggie stock
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease a 2 quart baking dish.

Put bread cubes on a lined baking sheet, in one layer, and bake for about 3-5 minutes.  You are just looking to dry out the bread, not toast it, so keep a close eye on it. Remove and place in a large bowl.

Bump the oven up to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan add some olive oil and warm over medium heat.  Add in the onion, celery, apples, parsley, rosemary, and s/p.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until mixture is soft.  Add to bread cubes in the large bowl.  Also, add in the almonds.

This is where you have to use your judgment.  I said 2-4 cups of stock because the mushiness of stuffing depends on your preference.  I happen to like my stuffing gooey and not dry.  So, I added enough stock that when I pushed down the bread it stayed somewhat compacted.  If you prefer a drier stuffing, I would suggest pouring just enough stock to ensure that all the bread was covered.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 15 or so minutes.  If you have a deeper casserole dish you may need to cook for longer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole with a Crunchy Pecan Topping

disclaimer:  This picture does not do this dish justice! The green baking dish makes the sweet potatoes look green (which of course they weren't).  But take my word for it, these were DELISH!

Once again, this recipe is reminiscent of traditional sweet potato casseroles.  Its creamy, sweet, decadent, and full of great spices.  However, I used a vegan butter substitute (if you don't have issues with dairy, feel free to use the real deal!) and unrefined sugar to make it all the better.

5-6 medium sized sweet potatoes ( I used an O'Henry varietal which is a real light yellow, but super sweet)
2 Tbsp of vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sucanat (or any unrefined sugar)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup sucanat (brown sugar)
1/3 cup flour (spelt, whole wheat, unbleached white)
3/4 cups chopped pecans
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 casserole dish.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks.  Place in a large stock pot with boiling water and cook until tender, about 15-30 minutes depending on the size.

Mash the sweet potatoes with butter until smooth.  Add in the soy milk, o.j., vanilla, sugar, syrup, salt and spices.  Stir until well incorporated.  Pour into prepared baking dish.

MIx the topping ingredients together until well combined.  Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes or until heated all the way through.

Friday, December 10, 2010

scrumptious roasted garlic smashed potatoes

serves 8-10

I love smashed potatoes, but they are usually jammed packed with butter, heavy cream, sour cream, yada yada yada.  I was determined to make some this year that had all the flavor and richness of the unhealthier versions but suitable for our needs.  Let me tell you, this exceeded my expectations, they were creamy, flavorful and everything one would hope smashed potatoes would be.

2 heads of garlic
olive oil
4 lbs. of potatoes (red new potatoes or yukon gold) half batch peeled, other half skins on and cubed
1 cup (+/-) organic soymilk or reserved cooking liquid
2 Tbsp freshly snipped chives

Heat oven to 425 degree.  Cut the tops off of the garlic and place each head on their own piece of foil.  Drizzle them with olive oil and s/p.  Wrap them up in a little packet and place in oven for 20-30 minutes. Let them cool.

Place cubed potatoes in a large stock pot and cover them with water.  Cook over medium heat for 20 or so minutes, or until tender.  Drain the potatoes (reserve about a cup of the liquid) and return them to the stock pot.

Using your fingers, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins into a small bowl.  Sprinkle with a little s/p and use a fork to mash the cloves into a paste.

Add the garlic to the potatoes and mash with a potato masher.  Add in small amounts of liquid at a time and mash until desired consistency.  Check for seasonings and adjust as needed.  Sprinkle with snipped chives.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brussel sprouts with pecans and dried cranberries

Here is one of the many side dishes I made for our (almost) vegan Thanksgiving dinner.  I say almost because my brother made a delicious turkey for the meat eaters in the family.

serves 6-8 as a side dish

1 pound fresh brussel sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and quartered
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add the pecans.  Cook them, stirring continually so they don't burn, for about 2 minutes.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.  Add the olive oil to the heated pan and and dump in the quartered brussel sprouts and s/p.  Stir constantly until the brussel sprouts are tender and start to roast about 6 minutes.  If you like them a bit darker (like me) keep them in another minute or 2.  At the last minute stir in the cranberries and remove from heat.  They are ready to serve.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chewy Ginger Cookies

I first made these cookies after I saw them on my friends blog... and they were incredible!  They were chewy, spicy, beautiful and festive!  I couldn't wait to make them this year, but I had an obstacle before me.  Our new dietary restrictions (which I will share when I have more time) requires that I adapt the recipe and I was nervous as to how they would turn out.  Well, I shared them with a group of ladies last night and they were a hit!  So without further adieu...

3/4 cup softened vegan butter (or regular)
1 cup sucanat (sugar)
1 egg
1/4 cup good unsulphured molasses
21/2 cups spelt flour 
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2+ cup organic (evaporated cane juice) sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the egg and molasses and mix until combined.

Sift together dry ingredients and slowly add into the butter mixture.  Mix until combined.

Scoop out a rounded teaspoons of dough and roll into balls.  Then gently roll the balls into the sugar and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on your oven) just until the edges are firm.  Take caution to not over bake!!!  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to set up, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

yields 2-3 dozen perfectly chewy cookies!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chili recipe #317

I call this chili recipe #317 because I never make chili the same way twice.  Chili, for me, is really more about using what ingredients I have on hand that day.  Oh, and, this can be made in a crock pot as well!

olive oil
I yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 box of POMI diced tomatoes *** (major disclaimer below)***
1 Tbsp, or more, of cumin
2 tsp coriander
dash ( or more if you can handle spice) of chipotle chili powder
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large, or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
veggie stock, just in case it gets too thick and needs to be thinned out
cilantro for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle some olive oil over small cubes of sweet potatoes and roast until they are tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add in tomatoes, and spices and stir together real well.  Next, pour in all the beans, bell peppers and sweet potatoes and simmer until it thickens.  You could be ready to eat this chili in a matter of 30 minutes, or keep it simmer on the stove until you are ready to eat.  Just check back often and add stock if it is thickening up too much.  Just be careful not to stir vigorously, too frequently... you don;t want mushy beans now, do you?

***ok, here is my disclaimer! I cannot recommend using canned tomatoes because of the amount of BPA that leaches from the lining into the food.  Please google this and research for yourself... I am not some crazy lady, just doing the best I can to keep my family healthy and limit our exposure to harmful toxins.  I am not going to go into all the finding here, but I will leave you with some links.  I would love to hear your thoughts and findings on this subject!***

Consumer Reports: BPA in canned foods

BPA free tomatoes

Lettuce Wraps

These lettuce wraps are so delicious, simple and easy to adapt to your preferences.  The possibilities of what you could add are endless.  Next time, I will try sauteed tofu and mushrooms.  You could slice up some raw bell pepper or bean sprouts.  For meat eaters you could add some shredded chicken or shrimp.   Leftovers make a great salad the next day, so don't worry if you made too much!

serves 6-8, or 4 with leftovers

Chili Peanut Noodles:
5-6 oz of dried bean thread noodles ( found in the asian aisle)
1/2 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter ( i used 1/2 pb, 1/2 almond butter)
5 Tbsp agave, honey or brown rice syrup
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp sweet chili sauce
4 + large garlic cloves
dash of red chili pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup warm water

Lettuce Wraps:
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup dehydrated coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
hoisin sauce
1-2 heads of butter leaf lettuce, washed and gently dried
3 limes, quartered

For the noodles, fill a medium pot with water and get it hot.  Add the noodles and soak until tender, about 15 minutes.  Then, bring the water to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Drain and set aside.

Using a food processor or a really good blender, combine nut butter, agave/honey, lime juice, soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic and 1/2 cup warm water and chili flakes.  Pulse until fully incorporated.  Make sure to taste the sauce and see if it needs anything else.  The portions above are just a suggestion.  I ended up adding some extra lime juice and soy sauce, but its all up to you!  Pour 1/2 the mixture over the noodles and set aside.

For the lettuce wraps, put all the ingredients in the own small prep bowls.  To assemble take a lettuce leaf and spread a dollop of hoisin sauce on, then add the noodles.  Then top with onion, carrots, cilantro, peanuts, coconut and chili peanut sauce.

*Remember, be creative!  This recipe is merely are starting point.  I would love to hear from you the ways you have adapted this (or any of my recipes for that matter) recipe to your taste buds!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breakfast Tacos

This recipe is inspired by my mom.  She is also on the journey to eating better and feeling better.  She told me that in an effort to eat something other than oatmeal for breakfast, she dreamed up this beauty.  I took some liberty to embellish it a tad.  I hope you enjoy and have a healthy, fulfilling start to your day!

1 "good" corn tortilla ( I love the Mi Abuela Bonita ones from Whole Foods)
1 "good" egg ( and by good, I mean, organic, free range, cage free...the whole nine yards)
1/4 cup black beans, heated up
a sprinkle of cumin
a drizzle of whatever salsa you have handy ( I used a salsa verde)
a couple hunks of avocado
a couple leaves of cilantro (optional)

So, in a cast iron skillet, heat your tortilla on both sides and set aside.  Add a little olive oil to the pan and fry your egg.  I prefer my yoke runny, which makes for an extra delicious taco, when the yoke breaks and becomes part of the sauce. mm mmm.  Mix together warm beans and cumin and place on top of the tortilla.  Put the egg on top of the beans and drizzle with salsa.  Top it all off with some sliced avocado.  if you are really crazy and work really hard at presentation, knock yourself out with a garnish of cilantro.  But for me, the presentation didn't matter, because it was consumed in about 5 seconds!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Healthy Caramel Corn

8 cups of popped popcorn (make sure to remove un-popped kernels)

1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, vegan butter, canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 sucanat, evaporated cane juice, or brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat butter, syrup, sugar and vanilla over low heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Add popcorn into melted mixture and stir until all pieces are covered.  

Spread popcorn onto GREASED cookie sheet (preferably one with a rim) and bake at 300 for 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, as it can burn quickly.

Remove and let cool for another 10 minutes.

Devour it!!!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spicy Lentil Dahl

serves 4

This is hearty, flavorful and delicious Indian soup.  It does have a spicy kick, so if you prefer a more tame flavor simply omit the cayenne pepper.

1 Tbsp sesame oil (or olive oil)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4-5 cups veggie stock or water
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)
2 Tbsp tomato paste

In a dutch oven or medium sized stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 5 minutes.  Once the veggies are translucent, add in lentils, stock (or water) and spices.  Bring to a boil and reduce down to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the lentil are very tender.  Stir in tomato paste until well combined.  I actually did not have any tomato paste on hand, so I left it out and it was still delicious.  Check for seasoning and add more s/p if needed.

Braised Cabbage

serves 4

We used this to top our veggie burgers, or it would be delicious as a side dish

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 c finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves , minced
4-5 c thinly sliced green cabbage
2 c roughly chopped kale leaves (optional)
1/2 c water
splash of white wine
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until they have softened. Add the garlic, cabbage, kale, (1/2 c) water, salt and pepper and cook covered for 10 minutes, checking periodically to make sure that it doesn't scorch. Remove lid and cook additional 20 minutes over medium heat stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Splash in wine towards the end, and cook until absorbed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto (with fried sage and toasted walnuts)

serves 4-6 as a main coarse, or 8-10 as a side dish

1 medium butternut squash
small bunch of sage (6 leaves finely chopped, 20 roughly chopped)
8 cups veggie stock
1 onion, diced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 425.  Peel the squash and cut it into small cubes, about 1/4 inch.  Place squash on a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt.  Roast for about 5-10 minutes, or until it turns golden and becomes tender.  Do not overcrowd the pan or else the squash will steam and become mushy.

2)  Put stock in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, keep it warm on the stove.

3) Take 6-8 sage leaves and finely chop them.

4)  In a large, dutch oven or heavy sauce pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add in chopped sage and cook for 1 minute.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat to low, add in rice and season with salt.  Cook for 3 minutes or until rice starts to become translucent as well.  Turn the heat back up to medium and add in the wine.  Once the wine has been absorbed, add enough warm stock to cover the rice.  Stir well and reduce the heat back down to medium-low.

5) Gently simmer the rice, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed.  Add another ladle full of stock (about 1/2 cup) and stir occasionally until new stock is absorbed.  Repeat this process until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

6)  While the rice is cooking, heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small sauce pan and saute about 15-20 roughly chopped sage leaves until crispy.   This takes about a minute.  Remove them to a paper towel.  In the same pan,  toast walnuts for about 2-3 minutes.

7)  When rice is tender, stir in squash and 1 more Tbsp olive oil.  If you are using parmesan cheese, go ahead and stir it in at this point.  Cook until cheese is melted or until squash is heated through.  Season with s/p to taste and garnish with fried sage leaves and toasted walnuts. Serve IMMEDIATELY!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegan Harvest Pancakes

makes enough to feed an army!

2 1/2 cups flour (whole wheat or spelt)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup soymilk (we use hemp milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp sucanat, honey, agave or brown sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Add 1/2 tsp vinegar to milk option and let stand for 5 minutes.  This allows it to curdle and works as a buttermilk substitute.

2. Mix together all ingredients, stirring just until combined.  You do not want to over beat it.  Let mixture stand for 5 minutes and you are good to go.

3.  Heat skillet over medium heat and grease it with either coconut oil or olive oil.  Wait until it is nice and warm before pour batter in.  Cook on one side until bubbles appear, then flip.  Cook another couple minutes and remove.

4.  For a sweet treat, drop in carob or chocolate chips after pouring batter into the skillet.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lentil Sloppy Joes with Coleslaw and Avocado

serves 6-8

This meal has all the delicious flavors of a bbq pulled pork sandwich, but all the healthy goodness of lentils... you're welcome!

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups dry lentils
6 cups of water
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sweetener of your choice (molasses, agave, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar...)
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 bay leaves
s/p to taste
whole wheat buns
1 avocado, sliced


1 head of cabbage
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
2 limes, juiced
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp honey
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil

In a large dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium.  Add in garlic and onions.  Saute for 5-7 minutes.  Add in all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the lentil are tender and just beginning to break down, about 1- 11/2 hours.  Season with s/p.

To make the coleslaw, mix together lime juice, cumin, garlic, honey, s/p, and oil.  Pour over cabbage and cilantro.  Combine well.

The lentils freeze really well, so you can either double the batch or just freeze your leftovers for another time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fried Rice

serves 2-4

3-4 cups cooked brown rice (use a little less water than normal to cook your rice to ensure that it is dry and not mushy)

3 Tbsp canola oil
toasted sesame oil
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 carrots, peeled and chopped small
1/2 bell pepper, chopped small
1 cup o broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup frozen peas
2-3 stems of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
soy sauce
dash of red chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
1 tsp ground ginger (optional)

Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil and a few drops of sesame oil in a well oiled cast iron skillet, or wok.  Saute garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes.  Turn heat up a tad and add in veggies.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn.  Remove veggies and set aside.

Add a little more canola oil and a splash of sesame oil to hot skillet, then add in the rice.  If possible, try to spread the rice into an even layer and let it cook until crispy.  Pour desired amount of soy sauce over the rice and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Add the cooked veggies back in and mix together.  If the rice is not crisping up enough, feel free to turn up the heat and let it be for a couple minutes.  Try as much as possible to resist the urge to stir it constantly, the longer you leave it alone, the crispier it will be.   Check for seasonings and add more if needed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vegetarian Enchiladas

These "cheese-less" enchiladas will make a believer out of you!  You do not need meat or cheese to make a satisfying and delicious meal.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 large, or 2 small zucchinis, chopped
2 cups, peeled, cubed and steamed or roasted butternut squash (optional, but really worth the effort)
2 cans of black beans
1-2 ears of corn, cut off the cob (if out of season, you can use frozen, just thaw before cooking)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1-2 Tbsp cumin
2-3 tsp corriander
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
20 oz salsa verde ( I use 1 1/2 small jars from Trader Joes)
tortillas (spelt or whole wheat are good options)
skim milk mexican cheese blend (optional, I left it out completely, and it was delish)
salsa of your choice (fresh is best!)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large (cast iron) skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic and jalapeno.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies, spices and s/p and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Check for seasoning and add more if needed.

Pour enough salsa verde just to cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Layer tortillas in the dish and top with 1/3 of the veggie mixture.  Drizzle more salsa verde over that layer, top with more tortillas.  Continue to layer; tortillas, veggies, salsa verde until you are out.  If you are using cheese, sprinkle a little  on top of each veggie layer and finish with cheese on top.  If you are omitting it, just end with veggies on top and pour remaining salsa verde and make sure to cover any bits of tortilla that are showing... otherwise they will get crispy.

Bake covered with foil for 30-40 minutes, then bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Top with chopped cilantro and fresh salsa!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feel Better - Vegetable Barley Soup

This soup is great for a couple reasons.  One is that it is comforting and nourishing when you are not feeling well.  It is also an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of soup.  You can add or leave out anything and it still turns out great!  You can throw everything in a crock pot in the morning and set it on low, or whip it together for a spontaneous lunch or dinner.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
s/p (healthy dose)
2 small bay leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water (you can use more stock and less water, thats just all that I had on hand)
1 cup of barely
3 sprigs of thyme
3 large kale leaves, stem removed and coarsely chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
1 can of kidney beans
handful of green beans, chopped into bite size
couple dashes of red chili pepper flakes

Heat oil in a large dutch oven, or stock pot, over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and carrots and saute for 5 minutes.  Season with s/p.  Add liquid, bay leaves, thyme and barley. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or so.  Add in veggies and chili flakes and simmer until tender. Check seasonings before serving and add more s/p if needed, and remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Vegan Banana Bread Waffles

These are so yummy and filling... kid tested, mother approved!

serves 2-4

1 3/4 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat flour, or gluten-free mix of your choice)
1-2 Tbsp sucanat (coconut sugar crystals or brown sugar)
1/2-1 cup hemp milk (or soy)
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup olive oil (or coconut)
1 tsp vanilla
a drop of almond extract (optional)
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 Tbsp protein powder

Heat waffle iron on a medium setting.

Mash banana in a medium sized bowl.  Add to it the sucanat, hemp milk, olive oil, vanilla, almond extract and applesauce.  Mix well.  Next, stir in flour and baking soda.  Mix until combined.  If it looks too thick, add in splashes of milk at a time until desired consistency.

Spray iron and pour 1/4- 1/3 cup of batter and cook.  Serve immediately.

These waffles are on the sweeter side and delicious by themselves or with a little drizzle if maple syrup or honey!  Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Curry & Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 large yellow onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups dry, red lentils (rinsed and drained)
3 cups butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
5+ cups of water (plus more if needed)
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2-3 sprigs of thyme

In a large dutch oven/ stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Saute onions, ginger and garlic, for about 5 minutes.  Stir frequently, so the garlic doesn't burn.

Add in lentils, squash, water, spices, thmye sprigs and s/p.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least 45 minutes.  Add extra water if soup is looking too thick.  Remove sprigs before serving.  If you want a smooth, creamy soup, you can blend with an immersion blender or just mash pieces of squash with the back of a wooden spoon. Make sure to check seasoning at this point and add s/p or extra spices, if needed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This is how we eat oatmeal in our house.  Being vegetarians, we need to be creative in how we consume good fats and protein.  Oatmeal and "smoothies" are great ways to pack in tons of nutrients.

1 cup of cooked oatmeal
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4+ tsp flax oil (contains omega 3 fatty acids)
1/4+ tsp hemp oil (contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids)
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp chia seeds (high in fiber, antioxidants and protein)
1/2+ tsp hemp seeds (high in protein, and omega 3 and 6)
-/+ 1 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
splash of hemp milk
handful of walnuts

Octoberfest Potato Salad

recipe courtesy of my Aunt Anne!

this is a party portion size.

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar- or lemon juice
4+ garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, or 2 small, finely chopped
5 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp canola oil
3 lbs baby new poatoes
3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

To make the aioli:
Put egg yolk, vinegar, garlic, shallot, s/p to taste, in a bowl and whisk together.  Slowly whisk in oils to thicken.

Boil potatoes, until slightly under done.  Pour dressing over potatoes while still warm.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata

serves 8

12 eggs
3 Tbsp water/ or milk, or milk substitute
3 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese, or part skim, or just a sprinkle

Separate 4 of the eggs, putting the whites into a bowl and discarding the yolks.  Add the other 8 whole eggs and 3 Tbsp of water/milk to the whites and whisk well.

In an ovenproof, medium to large sized non-stick skillet, or a well greased cast iron pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes.  Season with s/p.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, covering them evenly, season with s/p again.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the egg mixture has set around the edges, but still liquid in the middle, about 8 minutes.  Sprinkle on the cheese.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  Place the skillet about 2 inches under the top broiler.  Cook until set and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

adapted from

Friday, October 15, 2010

Healthy Cornbread

1 cup Cornmeal
1 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp sucanat (or sugar, or you can omit it altogether)
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup melted coconut oil, or butter

1. preheat oven to 425.
2. mix dry ingredients together. add egg, milk and coconut oil/butter and mix until smooth. DON'T over mix it.
3. grease an 8x8 baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Naan Pizzas

Serves 4-6, as an appetizer or 2-4 for a main course

6 whole wheat pieces of naan
1/2 cup marinara sauce
mozzarella cheese
1 yellow squash, cut thinly lengthwise
2 Tbsp thyme, just the leaves, finely chopped
a sprinkle of parmesean cheese

Spread marinara sauce over naan and add desired amount of mozzarella cheese.  Cut thin strips of squash in thirds and place on top of cheese.  Sprinkle on thyme, parmesean and s/p.

Bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown and beautiful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

We eat these suckers like french fries!

Heat oven to 425.  Cut little stump end off of the brussel sprouts and slice in half.  Toss them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Seriously Good Vegan Black Bean Burgers

Don't let the "vegan" scare you, these are some tasty black bean burgers!

makes 6 medium sized patties or 4 large.

1 (15 oz) can of organic black beans, drained
2 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 3 Tbsp water*
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin (or more if you like it spicy!)
2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for the pan
whatever garnishes tickle your fancy

1.  Mash black beans in a large bowl.  Add in flax mixture, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, spices, s/p and olive oil, and mix until well combined.

2.  Form mixture into patties and place in fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill.

3.  Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Arrange patties in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and serve with whatever fixins you want.

*If you do not have flax seed and are not worried about it being vegan, you can use 1 egg as the binder.

Baked Soaked Oatmeal

This healthy and easy breakfast is sure to become a favorite! You start by soaking the oats the night before, which helps you better absorb all the good nutrients from the oats, and bake it off in the morning.


4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, or butter (coconut oil not only tastes amazing, it is soo good for you!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk or yogurt.
        Or for a dairy free option: hemp milk, almond milk, soy milk with 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar added to it.


4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
frozen berries or nuts

The night before mix together oats, cinnamon, coconut oil and either buttermilk, yogurt, or hemp milk.  Remember, if you use hemp milk or some other milk alternative you need to add 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to help break down the nutrients.  Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350. To the oat mixture, add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar and any nuts or berries.  If the mixture is really dry feel free to add in a splash more milk of your choice.  Grease a 9 x 13 dish and pour oat mixture in and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

We top ours with honey or agave nectar, shredded coconut, and hemp milk, but feel free to add whatever your heart desires!

Vegan Berry Scones

2 cups Spelt flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, plus more for brushing
1/3 cup agave, plus more for brushing
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used frozen ollaberries and they turned out great).

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the oil, agave and vanilla and mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour in hot water and mix until coconut oil is dissolved.  Now, gently stir in berries with a rubber spatula, just until incorporated.

3. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the lined sheet.  Make sure to keep at least 1 inch between scones. Lightly brush the tops with oil.  Bake them on the center rack for 14 minutes, rotating the sheet half way through.  They are done when they turn golden brown and slightly firm.  Remove them and brush with agave nectar.  Let the scones rest for 15 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

* adapted from Erin Mckenna's cookbook, babycakes

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Butternut Squash, Sage and Ricotta Lasagna

This recipe is perfect for a cool autumnal dinner, or as a side dish for Thanksgiving! It also goes great with the avacado, orange and walnut salad!

3 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used low fat milk with great results)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2- 2 cups mozzarella cheese (again, i used skim)
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 loosely  packed  fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups veggie stock
Lasagna noodles (i prefer the no boil...less work)
1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425.  Place the cubed butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil and season with s/p.  Bake it until tender and edges turn golden brown.  Remove and let it cool.

2.  Reduce the oven to 375.  Mix together ricotta, milk, egg yolks, mozzarella and nutmeg. Season with s/p.

3. Melt butter in a small pan over medium high heat.  Wait until the butter starts bubbling and add the chopped sage.  Stir frequently.  Cook until sage crisps up, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Place roasted squash in a bowl and mash it with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon.  Feel free to adjust the texture.  If you want a smoother consistency, keep on mashing.  If you prefer more texture, leave some chunks.  Stir in sage/butter mixture and stock.  Season with s/p.

5. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture in bottom of the dish.  Top that with a layer of noodles.  Spread 1/2 of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles and top with another layer of noodles.  Spread 1 cup of ricotta over noodles.  Repeat layering one more time (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta).  Sprinkle parmesan over ricotta.  Don't worry if you end with squash on the will still turn out!  Just make sure that top layer of noodles are covered with some mixture, otherwise it will dry out.

6. Bake until cheese is bubbling and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.  Let it stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

*Trader Joes has butternut squash already chopped and in a bag, super easy!  However, nothing quite beats the taste of fresh squash...

Avacado, Orange and Walnut Salad

1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
Lettuce of choice; spinach, mixed baby greens,etc


1 clove of garlic, through a garlic press or finely chopped
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup white basalmic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix garlic, honey and vinegar together. Then drizzle in olive oil and season with s/p to taste. If it's too tart for your liking simply add more honey or oil. You really can't mess it up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Veggie Biryani

1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or olive oil)
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large red onion,  cut into small wedges
1 (2 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted cashews, divided
1/2 nonfat plain yogurt (plus more for garnish)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
5 cups of fresh veggies, cut to bite sized pieces ( i used, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes)
2/3 cup of water
1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of rice (I used a brown rice blend from Trader Joes)
tomatoes, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil in a large oven proof  pot, like a dutch oven, over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, onion wedges, ginger, and 1/2 of the cashews and s/p.  Make sure to stir often and keep an eye on it, so it doesn't burn or stick.  If you need to, add a splash of water to keep it from sticking.  Do this until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Next add the yogurt and curry powder.  Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Add in the veggies, water and a dash more s/p.  Cover it and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pot to boil, and add rice and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Don't worry, the rice will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain the rice really well, and arrange it over the veggies in the dutch oven.  Cover the entire pot with foil as well as the lid.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until rice and veggies are tender.

Garnish with extra cashews, cilantro, tomato wedges and drizzle with yogurt.

Asian Noodle Salad

serves 6

8oz whole wheat spaghetti (thats half a package)
4 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fresh grated or minced ginger
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 of red bell pepper, chopped
small handful of shredded carrots
1-2 green onion chopped
bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

1. cook spaghetti according to package.  reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid when you are draining it, it will be used to thin out the sauce later.

2.  sauce:
there are two ways to do this, in a blender or food processor or by hand in a bowl.

Place peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and agave or honey in a blender or bowl. Add reserved cooking liquid until desired consistency.

3. Toss the noodles with the sauce and gently fold in veggies and red pepper flakes.

4. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro

Thursday, October 7, 2010


3/4 cup brown sugar ( I use Sucanat)
3 Tbsp. honey
1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
3/4 cup oil (I use melted virgin coconut oil, or substitute with unsweetened applesauce)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour (I use spelt flour, or you could use whole wheat, or any combination)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger (if you have pumpkin pie spice on hand you can use that instead)
1 to 1 1/2  cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350

Beat until blended sugar, honey, pumpkin, oil and vanilla.

In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix well.

By hand, stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greases cookie sheets.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they slightly firm up and bounce back after being touched.

Cool on wire racks.

*They taste even better the next day, but don't blame me if they don't make it that long!
**Be prepared to share this recipe... it is THAT good!

Split Pea (and Red Lentil) Soup

*Serve with Spelt Cornbread!

2 Tbsp oil ( Coconut, grapeseed, olive, etc)
1 onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
2-3 carrots chopped
s/p (to taste)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 1/2 cups split peas (or 2 cups if not using red lentils)
4-6 cups of veggie stock (boxed or homemade)
2-4 cups of water (depending on how thick or thin you want the soup)

Heat oil in large dutch oven, or stock pot.
Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add lentils, peas, stock, water, bay leaves and s/p.  Reserve some of the water to add later, if the soup is too thick.
Simmer until lentils have broken down and most the peas are as well.  This may take up to an hour.
Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Sneaky Pesto

4 oz container of basil
2 leaves of kale or swiss chard
1 cup of spinach
2-3 cloves of garlic
handful of pinenuts or walnuts
+/- 1/2 cup of olive oil

Blend until smooth.  Add more olive oil if needed.  Season with s/p.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

serves 6-8

2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 ribs of celery chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes (save the liquid)
1 can of black beans
3/4 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3 carrots
4 large red bell peppers
optional- shredded pepper jack cheese)

1. Heat oil in saucepan.  Add onion, garlic, celery and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cumin, coriander, spinach, and drained tomatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. season with s/p.

3. Preheat oven to 350.  Pour reserved tomato juice in bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

4. Fill each half of a bell pepper with quinoa mixture and place in the dish with tomato sauce.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover, and sprinkle a little cheese, if desired.  Bake 15 more minutes, uncovered, or until golden brown.