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Foodie, Main Eats

Quinoa and Spinach Lunch

December 13, 2012

I have a very picky toddler.

It’s not surprising. I was always a picky eater as well.

Here’s the funny thing: all she ever wants to eat is quinoa. She has straight up thrown fits when I’ve attempted to give her “toddler-friendly” lunches like grilled cheese.

All she wants is quinoa.

I’m more than fine with that.

In order to get her to eat spinach, I have to chop it up really fine; so it looks more like a spice and less like a healthy leafy green.

Here is our current favorite lunch:

-cooked quinoa (about a cup)

-a handful of baby spinach; chopped very fine

-Tbs of olive oil

-2 cloves of garlic; minced

-a splash of low-sodium tamari

-a few grinds of pepper

**I cook up a large pot of quinoa at the beginning of the week. That way I have it at the ready when I need to make speedy lunches during the week.**

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the olive oil up. Add your garlic and chopped spinach to the pan; cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and give everything a good stir. Add your pepper and tamari. Cook together until the quinoa is heated through (just a few minutes).

Serve. Enjoy. Be Prepared to make seconds.


Foodie, Main Eats, Snacks, Sweets

Mountain Man Apple Muffins

April 30, 2012

This recipe comes courtesy of my husband; The Mountain Man. He’s spent the past year planning out the perfect breakfast muffin recipe; and you know what…he totally nailed it with these muffins. They are Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Oil Free, and just spectacular. He eats one for breakfast…and I eat about 4 (because I have the appetite of a lumberjack).

These muffins are super moist, and packed with lots of great protein to keep you full until lunch time. These are also super easy to make Gluten-Free (just switch the Spelt Flour with Quinoa, Coconut, Almond, or another type of gluten-free flour).

We bake a double batch of these bad boys twice a week…because they’re THAT good.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 cup rolled oats; ground in a food mill or processor

1/2 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup almond flour

2 tbs hemp protein powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tbs chia seeds; soaked in 3 tbs water for 5 minutes

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 small apples; peeled, cored, and chopped (we use Gala apples)

1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (you could substitute carob chips or cocoa nibs)

 

Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a muffin tin (or line with paper liners). In a large mixing bowl, combine ground oats, flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and hemp protein powder. Stir and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, soaked chia seeds, vanilla, and almond milk. Add the “wet ingredients” to the “dry ingredients”; stir until well combined. Fold in the chopped apples, walnuts, and chocolate chips to the batter. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin (don’t be shy with your spoonfuls, the muffins won’t rise much).

Bake for 25 minutes; or until they pass the age old toothpick test. Let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Makes 12 muffins

Foodie, Main Eats

Chickpea Tacos

March 22, 2012

I made these tonight and just had to share this recipe right away!

These are so easy to throw together, and they are totally meat and dairy free (I swear, you won’t even miss the beef or cheese either).

I’ve tried various meat free variations of tacos before and have been very disappointed. However, these vegan tacos are out of this world!

What You’ll Need:

for the tacos:

-2 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans)

-1 tbs olive oil

-packet of taco seasoning

-1 can of refried black beans (preferably listed as “vegetarian”)

-8 corn tortillas (or pre-made hard taco shells)

for the guacamole:

-1 ripe avocado; with the pit removed and the flesh scooped out (but save the pit!)

-1/4 cup red onion; finely chopped

-1/2 of a jalapeno pepper; de-seeded and finely chopped

-juice of half of a lime

-dash of salt

for the salsa:

-1 package of grape tomotoes

-handful of fresh cilantro

-2-3 cloves of garlic

-1/2 of a jalapeno pepper; de-seeded and finely chopped

-1/4 of a small red onion

-juice of half of a lime

-dash of salt

 

I like to prep my guacamole and salsa before I start making the tacos; that way everything is all ready once the “filling” is done heating through.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the avocado, jalapeno, onion, and lime juice. Mash everything together with a fork. Add a dash of salt. Stir and taste. Place the pit in the bowl to prevent excess browning and set aside.

In a food processor, add all the tomatoes, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until you have a desired salsa consistency. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°. While the oven is heating up, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and heat through. Add water and taco seasoning to the skillet (follow the instructions indicated on the back of the packet when it comes to the recommended amount of water. I used 1/3 of a cup of water because I used a homemade taco seasoning mix). Stir until a desired consistency is reached. Set the heat to low to keep the everything warm until your are ready to serve.

Once the oven is preheated, drape the tortillas over the wire rack in the oven. I drape one tortilla over one wire (if you want a “wider” taco shell then drape the tortilla over 2 wires). Bake for about 5 minutes; or until the just start to crisp up. We like ours not too crispy; it adds a nice texture to the meal that way. Sprinkle with salt once you remove them from the oven.

While the shells are baking (or while the filling is heating up), heat the can of refried black beans in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once they are heated through, they are much easier to spread inside a taco shell. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.

Assemble: In a warm taco shell, spread a layer of refried beans. Add a layer of chickpea filling (the chickpeas won’t roll out of the shell thanks to the layer of refried beans). Top with a few dollops of guacamole, and a few dollops of salsa. Finish with a few sprinkles of nutritional yeast (optional) for a nice “cheesy” flavor.

Serves 4 (with 2 tacos a piece). Enjoy!

 

 

 

Foodie, Main Eats

Veggie Laksa

March 3, 2012

Hi There! It’s only been forever and a day since I last posted anything. No worries. I’m still here.

With life in overdrive lately (with no signs of slowing down), I decided to take a wee break from the website (after all it’s only a hobby…unlike parenting, which is a 24/7 job).

We are still living “plant strong” with our diet; and haven’t had meat or dairy in well over 2 months now. Ok, that’s a lie. I had cheese last week; but I was vastly disappointed after I ate it (and felt gross too…and YES, it was “good” raw, organic cheese).

Both my husband and I are loving this new lifestyle choice. We are feeling super, looking great, and are actually eating our recommended daily intake of veggies (for once)! We talked about it a few nights ago, if we’ll ever “go back”, and at this time we can’t see ourselves becoming regular meat or dairy eaters again. Sure, we might have some meat or some dairy every now and then, but definitely not every week (let alone, every day).

As of right now, we have about 5 really great “plant strong” dishes that we rotate for dinners. One of our faves, is this Veggie Laksa dish. Now, traditionally, laksa is served as a soup dish in Malaysian (and Thai) cuisine. However, I like my laksa a bit thicker (more like a sauce than a soup). The great thing about this dish is you can add just about any veggie that you like! I use zucchini, red bell pepper and carrots (because the colors are pretty together…and they taste yummy too).

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 tbs olive oil

-1 package of Tempeh (I prefer a 3 or 5 grain variety); cut into 1 inch chunks

-1 red bell pepper; diced

-1 zucchini; peeled, halved, then sliced into 1 inch pieces

-4 or 5 carrots; peeled and chopped

-1 small yellow onion; diced

-1 tbs red curry paste

-1 can coconut milk

-2 cups vegetable stock

-1 package of udon noodles

-2 handfuls of red lentils

-about 1 tbs cilantro; chopped in a food processor PLUS additional chopped cilantro for garnish

-salt and pepper to taste

 

 

In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, and saute until translucent. Next, add the  red pepper, tempeh, and red curry paste. Saute everything until the pepper is soft. Add the carrots, zucchini, coconut milk, stock, salt and pepper,  and lentils to the dutch oven. Stir, cover, then turn down the heat to a medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (until the vegetables soften and the lentils cook down); stirring occasionally. Once the veggies are cooked all the way through, add the uncooked udon noodles to the pot. Cook for an additional 5 minutes; or until the noodles are done. Add the cilantro and stir everything together.

 

Serve warm with a hefty side of steamed broccoli (FYI: leftover sauce is SO YUMMY over top of broccoli)

Makes 4 servingsAdapted from Zen Family Habits

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Soups

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

November 15, 2011

coconut-curry-chicken-soup

This recipe has been one of my “old-standbys” for about 3 years now. It is my absolute favorite recipe to use when I want to use up leftover chicken.

The flavors are amazing. Seriously, so good.

I recently started adding Sriracha as a garnish (since the toddler has zero interest in eating it). The Siracha somehow makes it even more delicious. I didn’t think that was possible, but apparently it is.

You need to make this soup. Then tell me you made it, and I can say “I know right? So good!”.

coconut-curry-chicken-soup

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-2 tbs olive oil

– 1-2 cups of leftover chicken; chopped (or 1-2 chicken breasts; cooked)

-1 medium sized yellow onion; chopped

-1 red bell pepper; chopped!

-2-3 carrots; peeled and chopped

-1 can of coconut milk (I really like the brand Thai Kitchen….they aren’t paying me to say that…I just think they deserve a shout out for being awesome)

-1 tbs red curry paste

-4 cups chicken stock

-2 handfuls of brown basmati rice (about 1/2 cup)

-2 handfuls of red lentils (same as the rice)

-1 tbs dried cilantro (or fresh!)

-2-3 bay leaves

-salt and pepper to taste

-Sriracha to garnish

coconut-curry-chicken-soup

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add your onion, carrots, and pepper to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onion and pepper are soft. Add the red curry paste and give everything a good stir.

Now, add your chicken, coconut milk, chicken stock, lentils, rice and bay leaves to the pot. Cook until the soup begins to bubble. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours (the longer it cooks, the better it tastes). About 30 minutes before serving, add the cilantro.

Garnish with Sriracha and more cilantro.

Serve with warm naan or sliced avocado.

Makes 6 servings (or 4 BIG servings, which is what usually happens in our house)

**This dish can easily be made in the slow cooker. Just add all your ingredients to the slow cooker crock (even frozen chicken). Set on low for 8-10 hours. Add the cilantro before serving. The perfect busy weeknight meal!**

 

coconut-curry-chicken-soup

 

This recipe is adapted from Savory Sweet Life

 

**Updated 4-17-2014

Foodie, Main Eats, Soups

French Onion Soup

October 14, 2011


Savory onions, gooey cheese, crusty bread…what’s not to love?! 

 

The back story: A few years back, I hated onions. There, I said it.

I don’t know why, I just did (we’ll chalk it up to the ignorance of youth…and some poorly prepared dishes I was fed as child). All this changed once I started cooking. I began to crave onion in my dishes more and more. Now, I add freshly chopped onion to nearly everything I cook.

Today: French Onion Soup is probably one of my favorite dishes to make. Maybe it’s the baguette, maybe its the broiled cheesy top, maybe it’s the giant pot of savory beef broth and onions…or maybe it has something to do with my gorgeous Le Creuset soup crocks that I got this year for Mother’s Day. Truth be told, it’s all of the above. I feel so fancy when I make French Onion Soup. It’s the only dish I make that has special bowls exclusively reserved for it! Seriously, this soup means business!

It’s also the perfect “I’m having someone over for dinner and I want to impress them with BOTH my culinary skills and my super awesome taste in tableware.” The great thing about this soup is it takes practically no time, what so ever, to put together. Which makes it the perfect mid-week “My brain is too fried to think of  anything to make for dinner…but I still want something kind of nice because I decided to wear actual clothes today…not just yoga pants” meal. You know you’ve been there.

There are tons of great French Onion Soup recipes out there but this one is really hard to top. It’s adapted from a recipe found in Williams-Sonoma’s  “Comfort Food Cookbook ” (big shout out to my bestie Kim for suggesting this recipe!). I really love that it doesn’t call for a whole stick (or more) of butter. I’ve had French Onion Soup before that’s almost too rich to enjoy, and that takes all the fun out of it! You’ll notice that I didn’t add the white wine that the original recipe calls for. I never seem to have wine in the house anymore (let alone cooking wine); but trust me, it’s Ah-Mazing without it.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-2-3 pounds of onions: halved and sliced (I used a combo of yellow and red onions)

-2 tbs butter

-1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

-8 cups of beef stock (I used Low Sodium Better Than Bouillon because it’s pretty much the greatest stuff ever. Seriously, the best.)

-a few sprigs of fresh Thyme

-2 bay leaves

-1 demi-baguette; sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (or a whole baguette; then you’ll have half of a tasty baguette to eat the next day!…or, if you’re like me, while your soup cooks!)

-2 -3 C shredded provolone, swiss or gruyere (I use a super awesome Provonella cheese that I find at our local Co-Op: Provolone+ Mozzarella = the perfect cheese for this dish!)

-salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add your sliced onions to the butter and sprinkle with a few grind of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes; until the onions begin to soften. Turn the heat to medium-low, remove the cover and let cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the onions turn a golden-brown color; stirring occasionally (you will be tempted to eat this entire pot of caramelized onions before you continue making your soup…do not give in).

Add the flour to the onions; stir until all the onions are coated. Now, add 1 cup of your beef stock to the dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to release any tasty brown bits that are stuck. This will help release lots of flavor into your soup. Add the remaining 7 cups of stock. Toss your thyme and bay leaves into the pot, cover, and simmer on low for an additional 1-2 hours (the longer it simmers, the tastier it gets!),

When you’re ready to eat, turn your broiler on high (adjusting the racks so that the top rack is at the second notch in your oven). Spoon your soup into your designated french onion soup crocks; leaving about an inch at the top. Now, place 3-4 slices of bread on top of the soup. Cover with cheese and put under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Here’s the important part: DO NO WALK AWAY FROM THE BROILER! Keep an eye on your bubbling cheese so it doesn’t burn. If you have a super hot broiler, it may only take 1-2 minutes for your cheese to crust up and turn a light gold color. A burnt cheese crust would ruin your dinner…and possibly your whole day (maybe even your week; depending on how much you were looking forward to this meal).

Serves 6-8 (we usually eat half one night, then the other half the next night).

 

**Don’t have fancy soup crocks? Fear not! Use large ceramic mugs instead!**

 

 

 

 


 



 

 

 


 

 

Foodie, Main Eats, Soups

Pumpkin and Sausage Soup

October 10, 2011


I don’t know what it is about October, but as soon as it gets here all I want to do is eat pumpkin; whether it’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin seeds or roasted pumpkin (with olive oil and sage). I want to eat pumpkin, in one form or another, every day. Last week, I focused my attention on pumpkin soup!

Since pumpkin has such a mellow flavor, it goes well with just about anything. I paired it with sausage (because who doesn’t love some tasty porky goodness now and then?) and leeks (because I had them in my refrigerator…that’s a good enough reason, right?). This soup far surpassed any of my expectations!

I think I have a new “go to” fall soup! Seriously, so. good!

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 small pumpkin OR 2 cans of pure pumpkin puree

-3 leeks; trimmed and chopped

-1 carrot; chopped

-1 rib of celery; chopped

-1 yellow onion; chopped

-3 cloves of garlic; chopped

-3 C chicken stock; you could substitute vegetable stock too (which is what I did because I ran out of chicken stock…my bad.)

-1/2 pound of ground sausage ( I used all pork, but turkey or chicken would work really well)

-1/2 C non fat plain greek yogurt

-1/2 tsp red curry paste 

-fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (they are usually packaged together in the produce aisle in a “poultry herb” mix)

-2 bay leaves

-salt and pepper to taste

First things first, preheat your oven to 400°. Cut the top and bottom off of your pumpkin. Cut your pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and guts (but save the seeds for making Roasted Pumpkin Seeds; which, by the way,  go great on top of the soup). Now, cut each half into 4 pieces and place skin side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sat and pepper. Roast for roughly 30 minutes; or until tender.

Once your pumpkin is done roasting, set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. After it’s had a chance to cool down a bit, scoop out the flesh from the skins and roughly chop.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the pot is nice and hot, add your sausage. Cook until it just begins to brown and crumble. Spoon sausage into a small bowl and set aside; leaving the remaining grease in the pot.

Now, add your chopped onion to the pot. Saute until translucent in color. Add the celery, carrot, garlic and leeks to the onions. Cook until everything begins to soften. Add your pumpkin and chicken stock to the pot. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Turn your burner off, remove the lid and let your soup cool for about 10-15 minutes. Now, working in batches, puree in your food processor or blender (and if you’re a real pro you can use your immersion blender and do this all in the pot! I envy you!). Once your soup is all one consistency, put it back on the stove (preferably in the same pot you cooked everything in).

Now, add you bay leaves, herbs, cooked sausage, red curry paste and yogurt. Simmer on low for an additional 1-2 hours.

Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Serves 6

**Short on time? Throw all your ingredients (except the sausage) into the slow cooker, set on low for 6-8 hours. Remove your herbs and puree. While pureeing, brown your sausage in a skillet. Add the cooked sausage to the soup and Voila! Dinner. For this method, I recommend using canned pumpkin; otherwise you’d still have to roast your pumpkin ahead of time.**

 

 


 

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

October 4, 2011

Now that cooler temperatures have begun to set in, it’s time to bust out my mini crockpot and serve up heaping bowls of oatmeal each morning. Oatmeal is such a great food to eat in the morning because it fills you up AND keeps you full. Now, I’ll admit it, I used to be an instant oatmeal kind of girl (mmm maple brown sugary goodness). It’s so easy to just throw a packet in the microwave and BOOM…oatmeal; but trust me, it ain’t got nothin’ on these oats. Besides, 1 packet of instant oatmeal never kept me full! I had to eat 3 packets; otherwise I’d be starving around 10am. Not cool.

This recipe yields 4 HEFTY servings (at around 250 calories…depending on your “add-ins). Trust me, you won’t be hungry in 2 hours after eating this hot cereal!

I love to utilize the slow cooker method for oatmeal because it makes breakfast a breeze. I throw everything into the 3 1/2 quart crockpot, give it a stir, set the temperature to low snd say “nighty night.” When we wake up, we have a wholesome, no brainer, breakfast; piping hot and ready to eat! It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever! Not to mention, any leftovers become lunch for JBird (since she can’t seem to scarf down enough of it!).

Here’s what I use when making my super awesome oatmeal:

-1C Scottish Oatmeal (aka porridge) **I use Bob’s Red Mill brand because it’s the absolute best (taste wise and nutritionally). You could also use Steel Cut Oats, but steer clear of quick oats. You’ll end up with a gummy mess (and no breakfast…wah wah)**

-3C water

-1C unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-1/2 tsp salt

-a few dashes of cinnamon

-a few dashes of nutmeg

-2 tbs ground flax

-some “spray oil” (like Pam) to coat the inside of the crock to prevent sticking.

Set on low for 8-10 hours (however long you sleep for)

wake up and enjoy!

I add 2 tsp of pure maple syrup and a sliced up banana to mine after it’s done cooking. It’s totally boss.

Things to add while it’s cooking:

-raisins

-dried cherries

-chopped apples (yumm! I bet this would taste like apple crisp!)

-pears

-figs

-dates

-dried blueberries

-shredded zucchini (it would totally taste like zucchini bread batter! Oh Em Gee!)

Optional Post-Cooking Toppings:

-fresh blueberries

-honey (but don’t feed this to your babies! thanks.)

-pure maple syrup (none of that maple flavored junk that comes in fun shaped bottles)

-walnuts, pecans, almonds…whatever you like, go nuts! (haha!)

-banana!

The possibilities are endless!

Foodie, Main Eats

Spinach and Sausage Frittata

September 12, 2011

I like to call this dish: “Free Ta-Ta”. Mainly, I just like an excuse to say “Ta-Ta (s)”.

However, I think this is more of a combination of a frittata and a quiche. A “Fruiche” or maybe a “Quittata”…we’ll just stick with “Free Ta-Ta”

This recipe is great for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner! Seriously, it’s THAT versatile!

It’s incredibly savory and mouth watering…I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Plus, the leftovers (heated up in the oven) are crazy good.

This recipe is adapted from a Williams Sonoma Recipe

What You’ll Need:

-1 tbs olive oil

-1 bag of frozen organic spinach (I always try to buy organic spinach; fresh or frozen)

-1 medium bell pepper; chopped

-1 package of sausage (I used a local all-pork breakfast sausage)

-2 eggs and 1 egg white

-3/4 cup of milk (check and make sure your milk is RBGH-free! If not, switch to organic)

-3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (unbleached all purpose would work just fine too)

-1 tbs dry mustard (or 1 tbs grain mustard)

-1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I like to use provolone or monterey jack)

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1 tsp onion powder

-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-salt and pepper 

Combine eggs, milk, flour and mustard in a small bowl. I find that it’s best to use a bowl that has a fitted lid (ie: Pyrex). Whisk until the eggs are fully beaten and there are no lumps. Refrigerate for at least one hour before you start cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a cast iron skillet (an absolutely essential tool in any kitchen), heat the oil until hot. Add the sausage. Cook until just browned (it doesn’t have to be 100% cooked because it’ll finish in the oven). Remove sausage from the skillet and set aside in a small bowl. Add the chopped pepper to the remaining hot oil and tasty brown bits; cook until tender. Add the bag of frozen spinach; along with the spices. Cook the pepper and spinach together until the spinach is no longer frozen. Turn your burner off but don’t remove the skillet from the stovetop.

Remove your egg mixture from the fridge and stir in the shredded cheese. Add the mixture and the sausage (including any juices from the bowl) to the skillet of veggies. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine everything, smoothing the surface as you go. Before you put the frittata in the oven, you want to make sure the surface is nice and even.

*If you feel so inclined: sprinkle the top with freshly grated parmesan to give it a little kick*

Place you skillet directly into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until the top begins to brown).

Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve it up with a fresh salad of mixed greens and a light balsamic dressing. De-lish!

Makes 4-6 (big) servings

Optional Substituions:

-ham

-bacon

-meatless sausage

-asparagus

-mushrooms

-sweet onion

-swiss or cheddar cheese

Make it your own!