New Recipe (GF, Raw & Vegan) & One Great Birthday Gift!

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If you know  me well, then you know that I was beside myself when I opened one of my birthday gifts and it was……….a Spiralizer!  I know, its’s hard to contain the excitement isn’t it?!? Seriously, though, I was so excited to get this because I have wanted to delve into the world of veggie pasta for a long time now.  Last night I finally made a dish using my Spiralizer, and it was super easy!  Cutting the zucchini took a few minutes, tops.  It was fun to make and eat.  There is just something about eating “pasta” that you cannot resist! There are some of you I will never convince to eat zucchini pasta, but for those of you who are interested, here is what I did!  I followed this recipe from Pinch of Yum with some changes; my version is below.

I paired this with a yummy salad and corn on the cob for a delicious, filling meal.  I also made cheesy pasta for my swimmers.  It was their favorite by far.  They ate the entire bowl, saying it was even better than the boxed pasta that I buy from Amy’s!  I have made homemade Mac and Cheese before, following recipes to the ingredient, and I have never had this much raving about it.  I literally cooked some pasta, pulled it off the stove, and mixed in a few Tbsp. of butter and a handful of Mexican cheese!  Seriously, that’s it! LOVED IT!  It will definitely be a staple in my house over the next few weeks.  Without further ado, here is the recipe for zucchini pasta:

Zucchini Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • handful sliced cherry tomatoes
  • handful sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • handful sliced carrots

Avacado Sauce:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Cup fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions (only green part), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Mash avocado, parsley and green onions together in a separate bowl, then whisk in all other sauce ingredients.  Pour sauce over zucchini noodle blend and mix to combine.  Best eaten the same day!  ENJOY!

Recipe: GF Vegan Creamy Potato Soup

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Vegan Creamy Potato Soup

This was a slow cooker soup recipe from Robin Robertson’s “Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker”. I cannot say enough about this awesome cookbook.  It is filled with so many awesome, simple recipes!  This soup was very filling, and it offered a great base that allowed people to dress it up as they liked.  It can be made gluten-free by choosing appropriate toppings.  If you are not vegan or GF, then you can modify ingredients as needed.  Use dairy cheese, milk or sour cream. Use pork bacon if you love meat!  Change it to suit your needs; this recipe is perfect for that.  I slightly modified the recipe, of course, and here is my version:

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • ghee
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp. vegan butter
  • plain unsweetened soy milk
  • vegan sour cream
  • vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya)
  • fresh scallions, chopped
  • vegan bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Heat a few spoonfuls of ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add diced potatoes, broth and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender.  Blend in Vitamix until smooth.  Pour into saucepan, and add butter.  Stir in milk until desired consistency is reached. Top soup with any (or all!) of the garnishes listed above. Tonight for leftovers, we mixed in broccoli broiled in ghee, and it was delicious!!!

 

Meal Reviews: New Concept to Encourage Children to Eat/Try Their Meal

Rustic Potpie

Rustic Potpie

I tried something new tonight to encourage the kids to eat their dinner WITHOUT COMPLAINT.  They have no problems eating, trust me!  Usually at dinner, though, there is some complaining about certain things in the meal or not wanting to eat or try everything.  I believe that variety is a good thing, and obviously I want my kids to eat all kinds of vegetables and try new foods. Historically they enjoy meals where all the food is separated.  As of late, though, this is harder and harder for me to do, mainly because of time constraints.  I do a lot of dropping off and picking up kids, and with swim team every day and all the other things that go on in a day, it is much easier to make a hearty meal or soup in the slow cooker.  Tonight I served a recipe made from Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.

Rustic Potpie

Rustic Potpie

I left out the mushrooms, used less wine than called for, and also used Tofurkey sausages as the protein.  My version is below.  I told the kids that I needed their help, and I wanted them to answer some questions to “review” the meal.  In order to participate in the review (which would be published on the blog), they had to eat their whole meal without complaint, and if they didn’t like something take at least two bites to try it.  Well, give them an opportunity to break out the computer and give their opinion, and let’s just say we had a quiet, quick, uneventful meal!  Y.E.S.!!!

Rustic Potpie Topped with Chive Biscuits  (from Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 Cup plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. dry red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Cup vegetable broth
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 package seitan or other meat substitute (I used Tofurkey Chick’n and Apple links)
  • 1 Cup frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh chives
  • 1/2 Cup plain unsweetened soy milk
  1.  Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Saute carrots and onions in 2 tsp. olive oil for 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, thyme and marjoram and cook for another minute.  Sprinkle on 3 Tbsp. flour and stir for 30 seconds.  Add wine, soy sauce and broth and stir to combine.
  2. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.  Add potato, meat substitute, salt and pepper to taste, and peas and cook on low for 4-6 hours (I cooked it for 4).
  3. In a bowl, combine remaining flour, baking powder, chives and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Quickly stir in the milk and 2 Tbsp. of oil until just blended.  Drop by spoonfuls on the surface of the simmering stew in the slow cooker.  Turn setting to high and cook for another hour.

The two youngest gave me answers verbally, and the two oldest typed theirs out independently.  It was interesting to hear and read what they had to say.  It is actually really helpful in determining whether or not to cook the dish again, and if so, what, if anything, to change about it.

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Here is their review of Rustic Potpie:

What was your favorite part of the dish?

2-yr old:  Two things.  Sausages and carrots.

4-yr old:  I have three best parts.  Potatoes, carrots, the sausages and the biscuits.  That’s four.

7-year old:  I had two favorite parts. Sausages and biscuits.

9-yr old: My favorite parts of the dish were the biscuits and potatoes.

What, if anything, did you dislike about the dish?

2-yr old: Biscuits:  I changed my mind.  Sausages.

4-year old:  The broth and sausages were kind of spicy.

7-year old: I did not like the taste that the wine gave the broth.

9-year old: I liked everything about that dish.

Would you eat this again?

2-yr old:  Yep.  Yep, I can eat that again.

4-yr old:  Yes, I would eat it again.

7-yr old: yes I could eat that again.

9-yr old: Definitely.

If you could add one more vegetable to this dish for next time, what would it be?

2-yr old:  Cauliflower.

4-yr old:  Sweet potatoes.

7-yr old:  No more vegetables; I liked it the way it was.

9-yr old: Little chunks of broccoli.

Gluten Free: A Day of Whole Foods

I will show you how easy it is to eat a day of unprocessed, whole foods.  Today was vegetarian, gluten free and minimal dairy.  It involved minimal prep and very little time in the kitchen cooking.  I feel great and completely satisfied after eating this today.  I will probably top off the evening with a cup or two of caffeine free herbal tea.

Breakfast:

  • coffee with 1 tsp. sugar and half & half
  • huge green smoothie (1/2 bag spinach, 1/2 bag frozen blueberries, 1/8 cup hemp seeds & water)

Snack:

  • peach

Lunch:

  • salad (romaine, cucumber, carrots, red peppers, raw pecans, dried cranberries, artichokes) with balsamic vinagrette dressing

Snack:

  • raw carrots, red peppers, cucumbers, celery & raw almond butter

Dinner:

  • onion, mushroom, green beans sauteed in ghee & Braggs liquid aminos with 3 scrambled eggs topped with tomatoes
Gluten-Free Vegetarian Dinner

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Dinner

Delicious Salad! Raw Collard Greens!

This salad recipe is worthy of a second post.  I have written about it before, but I am bringing it back for those of you who may have missed it the first time around.  It is so delicious!  Please don’t be scared by the raw collard greens, especially if you are a salad lover.  The cashews and red onions are a perfect match for the greens.  I will say that the onion is a really strong flavor in this dish, so you may want to dial back the amount of onion to suit your taste preference.

Raw Collard Salad

Raw Collard Salad

Click here for this delicious recipe.  Collard greens are a rich source of vitamin K and also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and potassium.  What are you waiting for?

Raw Collard Salad

Raw Collard Salad

March Madness: Veggie Leftovers (Gluten Free)

This is my very favorite way to use up any and all leftover veggies in the fridge.  A meal appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Full of protein and veggies, it is extremely tasty and filling.

Egg with Leftover Veggies

Egg with Leftover Veggies

What you will need:

  • leftover veggies, ANY & ALL
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • Tamari (or Bragg’s liquid aminos or coconut aminos)
  • ghee

Melt 1 Tbsp. of ghee in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook egg to your liking (I cook it like an omelet). Remove egg from pan and add leftover veggies with Tamari or other sauce listed above and saute for a few minutes.  That’s it!  Super fast and easy.  In this dish, I think I had brussels sprouts, kale, onions and tempeh. Oh, and I threw on a little raw tomato because it’s just yummy.  I think my 2-year-old ate most of the kale off my plate, along with my tomato (and her tomato), and maybe a few brussels sprouts.  It is so tasty, but with the ghee and the Tamari, how could it not be?  Have you tried ghee yet?  If not, run right to the store and promptly purchase some.  You might have a hard time cooking with anything else again.  This is the brand I buy.

Organic Ghee

Organic Ghee

Now, no excuses not to use up all those leftover veggies.  I usually have this dish for lunch or a quick dinner, almost every day.  YUM!!!

March Madness: Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini

Botanically zucchini is considered a fruit, but in the culinary world it is treated as a vegetable so we will go with that!  High in folate, potassium and vitamin A, zucchini is a great addition to your diet.  Zucchini can grow quite large, but they are usually harvested when smaller to yield a better flavor.  They are reasonably priced, and I would recommend buying organic when possible.

My favorite way to get zucchini into our diet is with black bean soup.  The black bean soup recipe I use blends the soup, so you cannot even see the chunks of zucchini.  I use a recipe called “Sneaky Momma’s Black Bean Soup” from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann (with a few tweaks of course!).  How can you not love a recipe with that title?  Here it is:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • ghee (or olive oil to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 (15-oz) cans black beans, drained or about 3 1/2 Cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper

Melt ghee in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cumin and stir briefly, then add zucchini, tomato and 1 1/2 Cups water or vegetable stock (I use vegetable stock because it gives the soup a tastier flavor).  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.  Stir in black beans and oregano.  Puree soup in blender until smooth and creamy.  This soup freezes well.  I always make a double batch and freeze some!