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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Easy black bean chili

 Easy black bean chili

This whole week was dedicated to easy recipes.  I have been dealing with no sleep, and the idea of spending a long time in the kitchen, oddly, didn't appeal to me.  So lots of salads and stuff in the crockpot.
This chili was one of those easy recipes that went in the crockpot.  I spent very little time throwing it together and let the crockpot do all the work.  I was happy with it and I was very happy that I found a good recipe for sour cream.  It can be found here on my fellow blogger Terri's site. ( If you have not checked out her site, here is your chance.  You will not regret it)

Ingredients:

4 15oz. cans black beans (or about 1lb. of homecooked), drained
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
2 14.5-15oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp. cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder (low sodium/sodium free if you can find it)
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika or regular paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 cup TVP (or you could use soy curls or saitan, but TVP is best, personal choice)
1/2c good veggie stock
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a slow cooker (crockpot) and set low for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours.  Check it about 1/2 way through and stir well.
Serve right away with some of that great sour cream.  
Leftovers are amazing too.  This recipe makes enough to freeze some.  I love it over baked potatoes, or just as it.  I also like to sprinkle some nutritional yeast.
I hope you like this as much as I did.


Easy lemon miso dressing

Easy lemon miso dressing

I have had a few variations of this dressing in the past, but I thought I had better come up with a permanent recipe.  This is my go to dressing.  I make it all the time for my salads and veggies.  I love it, my family loves it, and I hope you come to love it too.
Miso is so tasty and healthy for you.  It is such a wonderful ingredient, and this is no exception.  The nice thing is there is no heat applied, so you get the full benefit of the miso.  I tend to make a double batch of this dressing, because I use it all the time.

Ingredients:

1/4c white or yellow miso
1/4c maple syrup
3 tablespoons dijon mustard 
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (I use 4)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced fine (optional)


Blend everything together in a bowl until smooth.  Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  Use for salads, or as a dip.  
I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I do.  

Easy Thai peanut salad dressing

Easy Thai peanut salad dressing

My friend Julie asked me if I would come up with an easy Thai peanut dressing.  We were discussing how we love to use the PB2® powdered peanut butter.  I love the stuff, and so does she.  I will just say now, this is a personal choice.  There are pro and cons to using this product, but for me and many that I know, its a pro.
You can sub the PB2 powder for all natural, no salt, fresh ground peanut butter.  That way you are getting the whole product.  The choice is yours. :)

Ingredients:

1/4c prepared PB2 (per instructions) or the same amount of all natural peanut butter
1/4c low sodium soy sauce
juice of 3 limes
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave or honey if you are not vegan)
1 tablespoon white miso
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, chopped fine
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Combine the above in a large bowl and whisk until very smooth.  Transfer to a small jar with a tight lid.  Shake well and allow to sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using.  Shake each time you use.  
I hope you give this a try and enjoy!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tomato, spinach and orzo soup


Tomato, Spinach and Orzo soup

It is close to 100 degrees today, and soup usually isn't something I make when it's super hot outside.  I do have a couple of exceptions though.  If it is easy to make, or I can make it in the IP.  Today, I didn't want to use my Instant Pot, so I made a super easy soup on the stove top.
I was not even going to make soup today, but I saw my orzo in the cupboard and thought I would give it a go.  I am glad I did, because it turned out amazing and I was able to eat a bunch of it.  I had some nice toast with it, and it was in fact the perfect lunch.
I think you will love this soup and how easy it is to make.  Below is the instructions.  It is enough for two people to eat a big bowl.
 Ingredients

1 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes with the juice
3 cups good veggie stock
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced fine
1/2 tsp. dried basil 
salt and pepper to taste
3/4c dried orzo
1 very packed cup of spinach, washed and chopped. (measure after you chop)

In a medium pot, combine the tomatoes, stock, garlic and basil.  Turn heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.  Stir every few minutes until it has reached a boil.  Add the orzo and stir well.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once to make sure the orzo isn't sticking.  After 5 minutes, add the spinach and stir well.  Continue to cook until the orzo is cooked. (about another 2-4 minutes).  Check the seasoning and add as you desire.
Serve right away and enjoy.  Store any leftovers in the fridge.  Keep in mind the orzo will keep absorbing the liquid, so you may need to add more stock when you re-heat.
Most of all, enjoy this simple, yet delicious soup.

 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Vegan vodka pasta sauce

Vegan vodka pasta sauce

Although my passion is for all things Asian, I do travel to other parts of the world for dinner too.  In fact, I love Italian food almost as much as Asian food.  I think the connection is the pasta.  I love pasta, it makes me very happy.  I grew up on pasta, even though I was from a German home.  It was cheap and easy to make for my mom, and I was very happy to eat it.
One thing I really love is a great pasta sauce.  I make a wonderful marinara sauce, and use it often.  My kids love it too.  But sometimes I like to get a little more exotic.  So I came up with a recipe for creamy vodka pasta sauce.  I am going to tell you now, it is so delicious!  I put this stuff on some penne pasta and went to town.  
It has amazing notes, it actually tastes exotic.  You will taste it and then take in more and more.  It's one of those recipes that make me very happy.  I hope you give it a try and you love it as much as I did.
 Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced small
2 14.5 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes, no salt if you can find it
1/2 c vodka
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2c nutritional yeast
1/2c rice cream ** (see notes to make this)
** rice cream- 1/2c hot cooked white rice and 1/4c soy milk (or any, unflavored, unsweetened plant milk) Combine in a blender and blend until very smooth.   It will be very thick.
 In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the onions.  Keep stirring so they don't stick.  If they are sticking, add a little water.  Saute until they start to turn translucent.  Add the garlic and tomatoes.  Stir well and add the vodka.  Add the spices and stir well.
Cook until it comes to a simmer.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Stirring a couple times throughout.
After 20 minutes, remove lid and add the maple syrup, nutritional yeast and rice cream.  Stir well and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with your favorite pasta.
It really is that easy.  It is easy to make and it will be a joy to eat.
I love it on thick pasta's like penne.
I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mango Chutney




Mango Chutney



My kitchen smells amazing this afternoon! I had a monster mango sitting on my counter, tormenting me, calling out to be used more than just in a smoothie, or cut up. This mango was the size of two normal sized ones. I owed it the respect of experimenting with something new. So I decided to make something I've never made. Spicy, sweet mango chutney! I looked for the perfect recipe, but they all fell short. I decided it had to be my own recipe. I am happy to report that this chutney will be made often. My taste buds are dancing.

Ingredients:

1 very large or 2 regular sized mangoes (peeled and cubed into medium sized cubes)
3 small granny smith apples, peeled and cored.  Cut into same size as mangoes.
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped small
4 large Medjool dates, pitted and cut into small pieces (you can sub. raisins or currents)
1 T grated fresh ginger
1/4c agave nectar (you can sub. with sweetener of choice like maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c rice vinegar (not flavored or seasoned)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 round tsp. curry seasoning.  ***(this is the brand I use)***



In a large saute pan over medium heat, add all of the above.  There is no order to the addition, just get it all in the pan.  Stir very well so all the ingredients are incorporated well.  As it begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low.  Allow to cook for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  As it cooks, it will thicken.   Take off the heat after 20 minutes and allow to cool completely.   You can use after it cools, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.  It can be frozen if it makes it that long, or you could make a huge batch and bottle it.  It would make a great gift!  Enjoy!!

*****Side note:  After it sits for half a day in the fridge, it gets even spicier.  So if you don't want super spicy, cut the pepper flakes in half.  It is amazing as is though, just spicy.  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Easy lentils and zucchini

Easy lentils and zucchini

This is the time of year when zucchini is in abundance.  Everyone and every farm stand has zucchini of every shape and size.  Huge ones are great for zucchini bread, and small for stuffing and stir fries and dehydrated for chips.  
I was lucky enough to get a couple of just picked zucchini from my sister in law, and wanted to make something different.  I had a big bag of lentils that were dying to be made, and decided that a combination of them and zucchini (with a couple other veggies) would be great together. 
So I went to work chopping my zucchini, carrots and onions all to the same small size (about 1/4 inch cubes) and the end result was so delicious.  I will be making this more often, both because it was so easy, and it was so good.

Ingredients:
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
2 medium zucchini, washed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, minced fine
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. green lentils, washed and picked over
4 cups veggie or mushroom stock
4 cups water


In a large soup pot, combine all the ingredients except the zucchini.  Stir well and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and put a lid on top, slightly off so it vents.  
Simmer for 20 minutes, remove lid and stir well.  Add the zucchini and stir again.  Return lid and cook another 5 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Remove from heat and take lid off.  Serve right away as a side, or over rice as the main dish.  (I actually just had a huge bowl the first day).
This will make a lot of lentils, so you will have enough to freeze.  It will store in the fridge for a couple days too.  
I hope you try this super easy recipe and enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Peach oat muffins



Peach oat muffins

It is peach season in our neck of the woods (well, most of the state.  Our peaches have been on the market for a while)  But they are super sweet this year, and I have been eating them almost daily.  My kids are not the worlds biggest fans of peaches, but when I put them in a muffin, that changed.  They downed two each.  And considering how healthy they are, with no added oil or fat, I am happy to supply them.
One thing that is great about these muffins, is that they are not sickening sweet.  Instead the peaches and some maple syrup add just the right amount of sweetness.  Another reason I don't mind giving my kids more than one.  You will see just how easy these are to make and they will last a few days in an air tight container. 
 Ingredients: (Makes 1 dozen muffins)

Preheat oven to 350*

Dry
2c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2c oats 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons ground flax
(mix together with a whisk in a large bowl, make sure everything is well incorporated)

Wet
1c unsweetened apple sauce
1/4c plant milk (I used cashew milk)
1/4c maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 medium, ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks.  (you can keep the peel on if you want, I found they turn black when baked in the muffins, but it doesn't change the flavor at all.)


After mixing all the dry ingredients in the bowl, add the chopped peaches.  With a large spatula, mix into the dry ingredients.  This will keep the peaches from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.
Add the wet ingredients and just mix until everything is moist.  Do not over-mix, it will make them tough.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
While they are sitting,  line a muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners.  
Scoop with a medium sized ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup) well rounded, into each liner.  Distribute any remaining over the 12 muffins. 
Place in hot oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place the muffins on a cooling rack.  Let cool enough to handle, or all the way.  

Serve for breakfast or as a mid day snack.
You can feel good knowing the ingredients are good for you!
I hope you enjoy!!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Plant-based bibimbap

Plant-based bibimbap

Chances are, you will never see me very far from some kind of Korean food.  I adore the flavor, the heat, the look.........I am simply in love with it.  So it only made sense to make one of the quintessential recipes, bibimbap.  Fun to say, fun to create, and fun to eat.  It is fun because you can be creative with your veggies, you can adjust the heat too.  So you are really in control.  The one constant is the rice.  That is your base.
 The instructions may seem long, but honestly it takes very little time and just a little bit of patience.  The end result will be an amazing lunch or dinner and a very satisfied tummy.  This recipe is enough for two people, or one very hungry person.  (leftovers!)

Ingredients (for pictured above)

1 medium zucchini, washed, cut in half and cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half and cut into matchsticks
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces 
4 baby bok choy, cut in half, then quarters 
8 medium button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 large onion, peeled, cut in half then sliced thin
1 lb. of baby spinach
1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Cooked rice (about 2-3 cups per person)


 For the sauce you will need:

2 tablespoons of Korean hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp. sesame seeds
 Mix together until smooth, set aside.

Make the tofu next.  After cutting into small cubes, place on a paper towel and pat dry.  In a nonstick pan, over medium high heat, place all of the tofu in, and allow to brown on all sides.  It should happen pretty quickly.  When all the sides are browned, add a few dashes of soy sauce and mix around.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring about 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Season the water with about 2 tsp. salt.
When the water comes to a boil, bring the veggies over and starting with the carrots, boil each type of veggie.  You will only boil for 1 minute.  Then with a slotted spoon or a small strainer, remove from the water.  Drain well, then put on a plate.  Add the next veggie, again boiling for 1 minute, then scoop out and drain.  Do this with all the veggies, keeping them in individual stacks.  Last veggie to blanch is the spinach.  Just add all of it to the pot.  It will wilt quickly.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove and drain well.  
Now you should have several piles of blanched veggies.  You want to season them all.  The easiest way is to add a few dashes of low sodium soy sauce to each stack.  

Now lets assemble it all.  In a large bowl, place a base of rice.  I use about 3-4 cups just for me.  Then using half the veggies, place them all around the rice, leaving a hole in the middle so you can see the rice. (see picture above)  Also add half the tofu.  Then pour half the sauce all around and in the middle of the bowl of rice and veggies.  Serve right away.  When you eat, combine all the ingredients in the bowl and eat!  Once you have this recipe down, it will be easy to make, easy to try new veggies and you can adjust the heat too.
I hope you try this dish and enjoy!!!