Category Archives: Dinner

Vegan chicken salad

Summer is here and I am loving the more relaxed schedule! It hasn’t gotten too hot yet, here in Utah, but warm enough that I’m not wanting to have oatmeal for lunch anymore and am preferring something cold. I often have a mexican salad (romaine greens, a chipotle black bean burger, tomato slices, salsa and guacamole), but when I want to mix things up, I’ll make this for dinner, and eat the leftovers for lunch over the next few days. This is a recipe I got from my sister last year when she was visiting from Seattle. We made it multiple times over the few days she was here, because there were several of us that loved it. But to be completely honest, most of my kids don’t really like this meal, so they’ll eat the croissant with a little bit of this salad. But I love it, so I’m happy to have leftovers to enjoy for lunch for a few days! My kids ask me why it’s called vegan chicken salad, when there’s no chicken in it. I tell them it’s because if I called it vegan salad, that could mean anything. This way we all know what chicken salad is, and it’s that, just minus the chicken with some white beans instead :).

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Here are the ingredients you’ll need. If you don’t have a red onion, that’s fine. You can use white or yellow. The color of the red is nice in this salad. Also, some brands of the garbanzo beans (like Walmart’s brand), are a lot harder to mash than others. So you may want to experiment.

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Here you see the beans I mashed up with the spices, mayo and onion. Next we’ll stir in the grapes and celery.

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It’s nice to be able to have something yummy to eat in the summer, without having to turn on your oven and make your house even more hot. I hope you enjoy it!

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Vegan Chicken Salad
*serves 8

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c red onion, chopped fine (white or yellow is fine too; but I like the color from the red)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder, or dried chopped onion
3 Tbsp veganaise or Mayo
1 c grape halves
1/2 c chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks)

Place the garbanzo beans, onion, mustard, spices and mayo in a medium mixing bowl. Smash together with a potato masher. Stir in grape halves and chopped celery. Allow to sit in fridge for an hour before serving on croissant, or bread (I like to put it on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread; open-faced). *You can also eat this right away, but allowing it to sit in the fridge for a short time will not only chill the salad, but also allow the flavors to blend more fully.

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Salads, vegan

Creamy Coconut Korma

My husband and I love Indian food. Our kids are okay with some of the sauces, and they like Naan bread, but they are not big fans….yet. But, just as the author from French Kids Eat Anything says, they’ve got to try it many times (I think 12? And I’m going to go even further and say 20) to develop a taste for it. It’s also good for me to remember that food always tastes better when they’re hungry, so I’ve got to remember to not let them snack an hour or two before dinner.

As you can see, we use a lot of spices in this recipe. You might be wondering where in the world you can even find some of these things, like fennel seeds, and cumin seeds. Most you should find at your local grocery store, Walmart, Target, Sprouts etc and I picked up a couple from an Indian store near by but  you can also use the powdered form of any of these spices, and you should be able to find the powdered form anywhere. I like to use whole spices because they keep their flavor longer, so especially for things like fennel or cardamom, spices you might not use very often, having the whole spice is nice.

Also, you don’t have to use the entire jalapeno. I do. But I like spicy foods. And so does my family. Just as a frame of reference, when I order Indian food at a restaurant, I ask for medium heat, and that’s what you’ll get with this. Which, Indian medium heat, might feel too hot for some. So feel free to use half, a quarter or even less jalapeno if you’re not into the heat. You’ll still get a little from the cayenne and chili powders.

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There are a few ‘optional’ things you can do with this Korma. You can add cooked chicken, or steamed veggies, or paneer (a soft cheese), or raisins. If I’m doing chicken, I’ll usually throw it in the crock pot in the morning, on low with some broth, mostly because I’m lazy and I just want to dump it in and forget about it. If I’m adding in steamed veggies, I will steam them as I’m cooking my sauce. The paneer or raisins, I just add once the sauce is nearly done.

Alright, so first thing you’ll do is put your cashews in a bowl with some cool water and let them sit for 15 minutes while you’re putting the other paste ingredients, starting with your water, into your blender. By soaking the nuts, you break down the phytic acid so it can be more easily absorbed. Nuts also have enzyme inhibitors making them hard to digest, but soaking them neutralizes the enzymes for proper digestion.

Once all your ingredients are in there, drain and add the cashews and blend until smooth. As a side note, when I add my ginger, I just peel it and then drop the 1 inch piece in the blender.

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Once that’s done,warm your oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Cut up your onions like so (they don’t need to be diced because they’ll go into the blender), and add them to the warm oil. Next, add your spices to the pan and let them cook together for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add your fresh and canned tomatoes and cook a few minutes longer.

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Add these veggies and spices to the blender with your paste.img_9401

Blend until smooth.

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Pour the blender contents back into your pan. Add about 1/2 cup  water to the emptied blender jar, put lid on, and swirl it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and pour into the frying pan. Keep pan on medium-low heat and stir in your coconut milk until blended together.

Add your optional cooked, shredded or cubed chicken/veggies/raisins,or just keep it as a plain Korma sauce. Allow the flavors to cook together another 5 minutes before serving over brown basmati rice (or any cooked rice; I often have it over just steamed broccoli and cauliflower). I don’t like to add a lot of salt to the recipe, so I will sprinkle a little bit on the top before, just before I add my chopped cilantro.  Also great with a side of Naan, or whole wheat pita bread that’s been toasted.

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Vegetable Korma

*serves 8

Paste:

1/3 cup raw cashews (soaked in a bowl of water for 15+ minutes, then drained)
1 c water
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp coriander seeds (or 1 Tbsp ground coriander)
2 tsp fennel seeds (or 2 tsp ground fennel)
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp ground cumin)
6 whole cloves (or 1/2 tsp ground cloves)
4 green cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/4 tsp black peppercorn (or 1/4 tsp ground)
1 jalapeno (can do 1/2 or less if you’re more of a ‘mild’ spice person)
4 tsp minced garlic or 8 cloves
1 inch ginger, peeled

Combine all paste ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.

2 medium onions, chopped (red, yellow, or white)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large Roma tomato, chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (or any cut)

1 can coconut milk with full fat (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
chopped cilantro to garnish
optional: 1-2 cups chopped and steamed veggies like carrots, potato, peas
optional: 1/3 c golden raisins or 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
optional: cooked, shredded chicken or cubed paneer. (I’ll usually put a frozen chicken breast in the crock pot with some vegetable broth in the morning and cook it on low all day)

In a large frying pan, add 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion with 1/2 tsp sea salt, yellow curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until they are mushy, a few more minutes. Add these veggies and spices to the blender with your paste. Blend until smooth. Pour the blender contents back into your pan. Add about 1/2 cup  water to the emptied blender jar, put lid on, and swirl it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and pour into the frying pan. Keep pan on medium-low heat and stir in your coconut milk until blended together.

Add your optional cooked chicken/veggies/raisins,or just keep it as a plain Korma sauce. Allow the flavors to cook together another 5 minutes before serving over brown basmati rice (or any cooked rice; I will also often have it over just steamed broccoli and cauliflower). Sprinkle your serving with a tiny bit of salt, and then garnish with chopped cilantro. Also great with a side of Naan, or whole wheat pita bread that’s been toasted.

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Vegetable Pot Pie

I love Pot Pie and being vegetarian, I normally just pick out the chicken when I make this for my family, but this week we didn’t have chicken on hand and I thought I’d just add in some extra veggies and make a veggie pot pie. It was so yummy! My kids liked it too, though one mostly ate the potatoes and one mostly ate the crust…eh, it’s all good. I think this dish is more about the gravy, potatoes and the pie crust anyway! I even found a whole wheat pie crust at the store so this dish was pretty easy to put together.

This is what I put in my pot pie, but you can use a variety of veggies depending on what you have on hand. As you can see I used a little fresh and frozen. I think next time I’ll add in some cauliflower, too.

I made my homemade vegan gravy as the veggies boiled, and then I mixed veggies and gravy together and put them in the bottom of my mostly unbaked pie crust (You bake it for 5 minutes prior to adding in the veggies).

I placed another unbaked pie dough on top, pinched the edges, cut a few slits in the top to let the steam out and then placed it on a baking sheet (in case some gravy dripped out while cooking; I hate cleaning ovens) and put it in the oven.

Vegetable Pot Pie (vegan)
Serves 6-8

1 c diced carrots
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/3 c white or yellow onion, diced
1 c frozen green peas
optional: 1 c diced cauliflower, 1 c corn, etc
2 c gravy (CLICK HERE for my favorite gravy, and it’s vegan)
two 9-inch unbaked pie crusts (I used a whole wheat version but can use gluten-free or regular pie crust)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with silicone or foil to keep any filling from dripping and burning in your oven. Place one 9-inch pie dough crust in a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes and then set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine carrots, potatoes, onions and celery(or whatever optional chopped veggies you choose). Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. During the last 3 minutes, add the frozen peas. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. While that’s cooking if you haven’t yet made gravy, do so now. Mix the gravy and cooked vegetables together and pour into the partially baked pie crust. Top with the second unbaked pie crust, pinch the edges together and cut a few slits in the top with a knife so the steam can release. Bake for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 6-8 slices and serve.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Enchiladas

While taking my whole foods plant based nutrition class( aka WFPB, which I recently finished!!! Woot, woot!!), I searched our library and checked out various “China Study Cookbooks” …a total of 5. All of these cookbooks are WFPB which basically means the recipes not only vegan with no animal products, but also no processed foods including oils, refined sugars, and flours. I’ve been experimenting with the recipes and so far we’ve found a few keepers, one of which, is this recipe for Sweet Potato Enchiladas, which I adjusted some. My husband wasn’t too excited about the idea of having enchiladas without cheese, but he gave them a try and during dinner he commented a couple of times on how good they were, and afterwards he suggested we hold on to this recipe :). So, into my blog it goes because this is where my collection of our favorites are and I love that anyone in my house, can look up the recipe and make it, without mom!

You’ll want to make sure you’ve baked your sweet potato ahead of time. I prick the potato before cooking, put it in a 9×13 pan lined with foil, and cook it in the peel, without washing for about an hour at 400 degrees. You’ll know when it’s done because some of the juice will start seeping out of the holes from where you pricked it. Allow it to cool before peeling the skin so you don’t burn yourself.

Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions, garlic, cumin and coriander in vegetable broth over medium-high heat until the onions are light brown. Add the coconut aminos/soy sauce and spinach. Cook for a minute or two until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Fold in sweet potatoes, black beans and salt.

Place a couple tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll. Place the enchiladas, seam-side down, in a 9×13 baking dish.

Pour salsa on top and cover with aluminum foil. I like my food with a bit of spice so we used a Medium-heat salsa. I like this La Victoria Brand, and also Pace or Picante. Bake the covered enchiladas for 25 minutes.

Serve warm with sides. We love brown rice/quinoa, black beans, greens, corn and guacamole or chopped avocados.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas
*Serves 6

3/4 c diced onions
4 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp vegetable broth
2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos)
1 c chopped spinach
1 c baked sweet potato, mashed
1 c cooked black beans (or canned black beans)
1/4 tsp sea salt
14 corn tortillas
2 c favorite salsa (I love the medium heat La Victoria or Pace)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions, garlic, cumin and coriander in vegetable broth over medium-high heat until onions are light brown. Add soy sauce and spinach. Cook for a minute or two until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Fold in sweet potatoes, black beans and salt. Place a couple tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll. Place the enchiladas, seam-side down, in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour salsa on top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Serve warm with a side of brown rice/quinoa, black beans, corn and guacamole.

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Tikka Masala (paneer, chicken or vegan option)

My friend Jaya, who is from India gave me an amazing Tikka Masala recipe! All through dinner my husband and I were going back and forth on how wonderful it was and came closer to the restaurant style Tikka Masala than any other we’ve tried, and we’ve tested quite a few recipes. I was surprised to find out that the sauce didn’t have any dairy! Which is even better as dairy is mucus forming so I try to not do too much, especially in winter months when there seems to be more head colds going around. I deleted one of my other Tikka Masala recipes from this blog as this one is SO much better, but I’m keeping the crock pot Tikka up for now…but if I try this in the crockpot and it works, I may be updating that as well.

Here are your ingredients, and notice I’ve already created the marinade for the paneer (or you could do chicken) and it’s resting while I chop the other veggies.

Here’s a close up of a couple of the spices. I buy mine from Sprouts, but a lot of grocery stores should carry them on their spice/baking aisle, or if you have an Idian grocery store close by, head there because you’ll also find your Indian Green Chile there as well.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cook for one minute; this will help release the flavor in the spices and you’ll smell a wonderful aroma. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture.

Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add water a tablespoon at a time to thin it according to your preference (I usually add 1- 2 tablespoons) once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and Cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Paneer Tikka Masala(chicken and vegan option)

MARINADE:
1 c cubed paneer (or chicken, tofu, chopped veggies, etc)
1/4 c plain yogurt (or could use full fat coconut milk)
1 T chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 T melted coconut oil (or other oil)

For the Sauce:
2 T coconut oil
2 medium white onions (yellow is too sweet)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 large Roma tomatoes (romas are better for sauces, more meaty)

1/2 c water
1 indian green chile, chopped (these are smaller and thinner than a jalapeno; if you don’t have an Indian market nearby and you can’t find this at a store, I would try doing 1/2 a jalapeno…if it’s not spicy enough, once the sauce is all made, you could add in more)

1/2 can Thai kitchen coconut milk
cilantro for garnish

Marinate the paneer in 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, half teaspoon garam masala, half of the juice from a lemon, and 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt. Allow it to sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent. Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and cook for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture. Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add Thai coconut milk; once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

*If vegan, you could totally do this without the paneer or the chicken. You could just serve this sauce plain over brown basmati rice or add any of these: firm cubed tofu, cashews, golden raisins, chopped veggies including potatoes, peas, carrots etc

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Vegetable or Chicken Korma

I recently made friends with an Indian woman whose son is in our  daughter Nora’s school class. She’s been in the United States for about 3 years now and when I found that out, I asked her if she knew how to cook Indian food. She of course did, and she asked if I’d like her to make some for me. What a dear! I told her that what I would really like would be to have her teach me how to make Indian food. And so we got together one day last week and she taught me how to make Vegetable Korma! I was so excited and pleased to be in her kitchen, watching, smelling, tasting, taking notes and learning from her! It really was a dream come true! And guess what?! She said we can do it again! Next time we meet we’ll go to the Indian Market together so I can get some of the ingredients she used that’d I’ve never seen before, like the chana dahl in the first picture below on the far left, and the white poppyseeds in the next picture, and the Indian chilies. I took lots of pictures!

The first thing we did was make our korma paste. We did this by adding all the ‘paste’ ingredients (listed below in recipe) to the blender and blending it til smooth. We added more water as needed if it was too thick to blend.

Next we chopped up the red onion (she advised we use red or white, but not yellow as it’s too sweet…but I’ve since used yellow, and it honestly still tasted great) and sauteed it with a little oil (you can use olive oil or coconut oil), salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder. After having made this multiple times now, and not always being able to get the Indian chiles and the curry leaves, I’ll often substitute curry powder for the leaves (and yes, I know they’re not the same thing, but I LOVE the flavor of curry powder and it adds a nice color), and I’ll a jalapeno, in place of indian chiles. Next we added the tomatoes and cooked them until they were mushy, about 5 minutes.

Next we added the paste from the blender to those tomatoes. Once we dumped that in, we added about 1/2 cup warm water to the blender jar, put the lid on and swirled it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and we poured that into the frying pan. *As a side note, if you wanted chicken Korma, or just a plain Korma sauce, this is where you’d do that and skip adding the veggies…either add in cooked chicken (you could also marinate it and cook it in some of the same spices), or just leave it here plain, or add in some paneer (soft indian cheese).

Next up we added the chopped veggies. And you could really use whatever you like here. I love carrots and chopped potatoes in my Indian food. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add coconut milk (or a couple TBSP plain yogurt with 1 cup water), bring heat to medium and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.

Vegetable Korma

*serves 8

Paste:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 15+ minutes)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp white poppy seeds
1 tsp roasted chana dal
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1/4 tsp black peppercorn
2 small green chilies (indian green chili found at an Indian market; I often sub 1 jalapeno)
4 tsp minced garlic or 8 cloves
1 1/2 inch ginger, peeled
1 c water (or a little more if needed, to get a creamy paste)

Combine all paste ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth, adding water, 1 TBSP at a time, if needed to blend.

2 medium red onion, diced (or white, but not yellow because too sweet)
1/2 tsp sea salt
14 curry leaves (I often sub 1 tsp curry powder)
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large Roma tomato, chopped
1 can coconut milk with full fat (I like Thai Kitchen brand)…or you can use a couple TBSP plain yogurt and 1 cup water
optional: 1-2 cups chopped veggies like carrots, potato, peas
optional: 1/3 c golden raisins
*could do cooked chicken or paneer instead of veggies
chopped cilantro to garnish

In a large frying pan, add 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion with 1/4 tsp sea salt, curry leaves, turmeric and chili powder and cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until they are mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the paste from your blender. Add about 1/2 cup warm water to the emptied blender jar, put lid on and swirl it around to get all the paste sticking to the inside of the jar, and pour into the frying pan. *As a side note, if you wanted chicken Korma, or just a plain Korma sauce, this is where you’d do that and skip adding the veggies…either add in cooked chicken (you could also marinate it and cook it in some of the same spices), or just leave it here plain, or add in some paneer (soft indian cheese).

Add chopped veggies. Cover the pan and bring the heat to low and cook 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add the coconut milk (or yogurt and water)  and optional golden raisins and bring heat back up to medium and cook another 10 minutes, stirring ocassionally and adding more water if needed, a Tbsp at a time, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and Naan.

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“Refried” Beans

Growing up with a father who was born and raised in Mexico, we ate Refried Beans and Mexican Rice almost daily. And that’s not an exaggeration. As I’ve gotten older, my body can’t handle all the oil and just fried food in general, and this recipe has none of that but is still so yummy! This recipe comes from my sister, who gave me permission to share it with you here. As I mentioned these ‘refried’ beans are really not fried at all, but instead you cook the beans in water in a crock pot for 5 hours, drain them, then add some salsa, diced chiles, and spices and mash them up and they’re ready to eat! Delicious and nutritious!

 

I like to use as few dishes as possible, so I cook the pinto beans in the crock pot, drain them in the sink (I don’t even use a strainer to save on dishes; it’s okay if there’s a tiny bit of water left in there), and then I dump all the other ingredients into the crock pot with the cooked beans and mash them with a potato masher.

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We love to eat these beans with enchiladas, or inside burritos, or on the side of any Mexican dish. It’s also a great chip dip! Enjoy!

‘Refried’ Beans
*serves 8-10

3 c pinto beans (or more if you like, just add a little more spieces), rinsed
1 c salsa (I like medium heat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 8 oz can diced green chiles
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Put beans in a large crock pot and fill with cool water. Cook on high for 5 hours until soft. Drain beans and put back in crock pot(if you strained them in a separate dish). Add all of the other ingredients and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.

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Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!

THE RECIPE

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.

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Daily Food Journal: 7 days

“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan

I love the quote above and try to follow it, eating lots of plants, and real foods as opposed to foods made in a lab, and not too much. The ‘not too much’ is probably the hardest part for me because I love food! Awhile back I read the book  “French kids eat everything”  and it was interesting to learn that snacking or grazing is something that is not done all over the world, and is, in fact, thought of as rude in some areas, like France. But it makes sense that if kids, and adults don’t snack, and are actually hungry at mealtimes, of course foods taste better and they’ll eat more variety! And it’s a good way to keep your weight in check. Anyway, that’s a bit off topic for today so let’s get back on track.

I often get asked what I eat in a day, or what a typical day looks like with food, so I thought I’d share a sample week. And since I’m a very visual person, I’ve made a collage of those foods I eat in a day. I really only have a couple of snacks(hummus and veggies, lara bar, fruit or shake) and lunch items(wraps, salad and oatmeal) that I eat regularly, though a couple of times a week I might have leftover dinner for lunch, so that does add variety. My breakfast almost never changes, besides adding a little something extra on Saturdays before my long run like a banana, rice cake with almond butter or a Superhero muffin. So you’ll see that I have my hot lemon water and green smoothie pictured daily. Also, the only thing I drink besides my smoothies/vegan protein shakes is water. And I drink a lot of water throughout the day, probably around 90 oz.

I’m pretty regular about when I wake up, go to sleep, and the times of day I eat so I thought I’d lay that out for you here as well:
515 am wake up, drink room temperature water from my water bottle on my nightstand (around 16 oz);
6-730 am exercise and drink water
8am  12oz hot lemon water
830am 32 oz green smoothie (I drink this over about an hour)
1130am lunch (if I’m really hungry before lunch, I’ll have a piece of fruit like a banana)
230pm snack
6pm dinner
930-10 asleep

Monday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie 
Lunch: wrap (lettuce, tomato, black beans, avocado, hummus, onion on Teff wrap)
Snack: rice cake with 1/2 Tbsp almond butter and apple slices
Dinner: salad and vegan Mac and Cheese

Tuesday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Oatmeal with slice strawberries and coconut, and toast with coconut oil
Snack: banana and Lara Bar (my favorites are lemon, coconut cream pie, blueberry muffin and cherry pie; it’s nice to have a grab and go snack with no added sugars. Lara bars only have a few ingredients which are usually dates and some form of nuts and dried fruits)
Dinner: Enchilada Soup  and salad (not pictured)

Wednesday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Granola with plain yogurt, honey and sliced strawberries
Snack: Maca Date Shake (I usually have this multiple times a week)
Dinner: veggie Stir Fry and watermelon

Thursday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Oatmeal with toast
Snack: Vegan Protein Shake
Dinner: Baked Sweet Potato, Mexican Style (the rest of the family used Russet potatoes) and an orange

Friday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Leftover veggie Stir Fry
Snack: 2 almond flax balls and a banana
Dinner: Homemade Whole Grain Pizza and salad (sometimes I like to put my salad on top and not use any dressing). We make pizza weekly.

Saturday:
Pre-long run: banana and Superhero muffin
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich
S
nack : Hummus with veggies and sweet potato crackers or Ak Mak crackers
Dinner: Black bean, egg and veggie burrito (often Saturday night, Scott and I will go out to dinner and kids will get leftovers or something easy like spaghetti or Little Caesar’s Pizza…yes, I said it, we get Little Caesar’s for the kids. Don’t judge).

Sunday:
Breakfast: hot lemon water and green smoothie
Lunch: leftover Mexican Quinoa Salad
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Breakfast; usually pancakes or waffles with eggs and hashbrowns…sorry I couldn’t fit everything into the picture, but Sunday dinner is a BIG breakfast. Here is our pancakes with Squash and Onion Frittata.

And just so we’re clear here, I do have treats. Usually on the weekend I’ll have a bowl of popcorn with Strawberry Aussie licorice, and then probably once a week I’ll bake something using a healthier sweetener, like our peanut butter cookies, PB popcorn, candy bars, key lime pie or honey sweetened muffins etc and I’ll have some, but I try to limit my sugar consumption and stick to having a treat or two on the weekend.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

Butternut Squash and Onion Frittata

I have my second ever half marathon coming up this Saturday morning and I’m a feeling a little nervous. I feel prepared, I trained a lot over the past four months, usually running 6 days a week, doing some speed work outs, long runs and easy runs each week, and also doing some yoga and weights mid week, but I ran this same half last year and I ran it hard, and I really want to get a personal record. But it may not happen. And that makes me nervous. But I know that in the long run, it doesn’t really matter and that PR or not, it’s gonna be okay.

Besides all my running, I’m also trying to get really nutritious and quality foods in this week(and always), and I’ve already got my dinner, the night before the race, and my breakfast that morning, all planned out. I’ve been trying lots of new recipes from Runner’s World magazine and my ‘Run Fast Eat Slow’ cook book and this is a recipe I lightly adapted from the Runner’s World magazine.   Scott and I LOVED this Frittata, though most of our kiddos didn’t appreciate all the chunky veggies.  But, since I don’t always cater to our children’s tastes anyway, because I know that they need to experience these foods so that they will one day develop a taste for them, we still make them and I will for sure be making this one again!

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You can buy already cubed butternut squash to save prep time, but to save money I usually buy the whole squash and then peel and cut it myself. And when I say ‘peel’, what I really mean is, I take a sharp knife and slice off all the skin with a downward motion on my cutting board. Once it’s all cubed, I put mine on a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone liner, drizzle with my olive oil, salt and garlic and cook it in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. You can do this step hours, or even a day, before you throw the dish together. If not using within a couple of hours, cover your squash and store in the fridge until you’re ready.

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In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, feta cheese and cooked squash. Set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Saute 1 sliced onion and cook, stirring until brown and soft, about 10 minutes.

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Pour the egg mixture into the cast iron skillet with onion and stir gently. Transfer to oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until eggs have set.


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Butternut Squash and Onion Frittata 

2 cups butternut squash, cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
9 eggs
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 c feta cheese

Cube butternut squash, if you haven’t already. Place on baking sheet, toss with 3 Tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder,  and cook in 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in cast iron skillet (mine is 12 inches) over medium heat. Saute 1 sliced onion and cook, stirring until brown and soft, about 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Stir in  feta and 2 cups roasted cubed butternut squash. Pour into the cast iron skillet with onion and stir gently. Transfer to oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until eggs have set. Serve warm.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, gluten-free