I hope, my wonderful, tolerant readers, you do not feel used and abused.
It has, once again, been ages since my last post. So much has happened…. Work has somehow gotten busier and I began grad school. (Because I had soooo much free time to begin with…) The days when I began this blog, days when I had hours each day to spend playing in the kitchen and exploring new ingredients, are gone. Now, I am lucky if dinner involves more than steam vegetables and lentils and top them with salsa and, if I’m feeling particularly sassy, a little Daiya dairy-free cheese.
Today, however, was the day of the biggest football game in America, and I felt an overwhelming desire to prepare a football worthy feast. I made a small bowl of Guacamole, a delicious vegan crockpot chili, and a batch of gluten free corn muffins, and it was off to the races! …er…. football game.
I like my chili a bit on the soup-y side, so feel free to reduce the amount of vegetable broth to make yours thicker. Other than that, this recipe is a fairly straightforward crockpot dish that will leave your house smelling delicious!
Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)
1 Tblsp Olive Oil
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Carrots, chopped
2 ribs Celery, chopped
1 Zucchini, chopped
1 small-medium Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped
2 green Bell Peppers, cored and chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers, minced
Herbamare (or sea salt) and Black Pepper, to taste
2.5 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
28 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tblsp Agave Nectar
1 Tblsp Lime Juice, about 1/2 a small lime
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of your crock pot. Add garlic, onion, and spices and stir to combine.
Add al remaining ingredients except the lime juice and zest and stir to combine.
Place the lid on your crock pot and set to low.
Cool on low for 6 hours.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper, agave ratio, as needed.
I am writing this post just so I won’t forget this recipe. There are no frills and no pictures, and I’m okay with that. Whew! I’m glad I got that all out on the table. Now we can move on without pretense.
A few days ago, I was given a few varieties of pastas to try made byTolerant Foods. What makes their products unique is that their pastas are made from one ingredient, beans or legumes! Rich in protein and fiber, these appeared to be an excellent substitute for gluten and carbohydrate laden traditional pastas.Tolerant Foods pastas are also free of all of the major allergens, non-GMO, and organic. It all looked good on paper, but the proof would be in the taste and texture.
First, I decided to try the Black Bean Rotini. Instead of approaching this rotini like I would a more traditional pasta, I decided to focus on what flavors were inherent compliments to black beans. After all, this rotini only had one ingredient, black beans. It was highly unlikely that it would taste like something else. So, what goes with black beans? How about lime, chicken, and Siracha? Yes, yes, and yes, please!
Packed with intense, rich flavor and staggering nutritional value, this recipe is one I plan on duplicating again and again. Winner!
Siracha Honey Lime Chicken & Black Bean Pasta with Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce
In a small bowl, whisk together the Bragg’s, Honey, 1 Tblsp Coconut Oil, 2 Tblsp chopped Cilantro, Siracha, Red Pepper Flakes, and Garlic Powder. Pour evenly over the chicken.
Squeeze the juice of two limes over the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
Once chicken has marinated, begin by boiling water and preparing the pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tsp Coconut Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute’ the onions, peppers, and kale until onions are translucent and kale is wilted. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to high heat and add the Chicken and Marinade. Bring to a low boil and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until cooked through. After marinade is reduced by about half, add half of a chopped tomato.
Once chicken is cooked through, remove to a dish and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to breakdown.
While the tomatoes are cooking, make the creamy cilantro avocado sauce by placing 1/4 cup Cilantro, 1 Avocado (pitted), Salt & Pepper, and the juice of 1/2 a lime in a food processor. Process until roughly chopped. Slowly add 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot water until sauce is thick and smooth.
Add roughly 1/2 of the Cilantro Avocado Sauce to the tomatoes in the skillet and cook until heated through.
To serve, separate the cooked black bean pasta into two bowls and top with sauteed vegetables, chicken, and the warmed mixture of tomatoes and creamy Cilantro Avocado sauce. Bon Appetit!
For those of you who don’t know, the Tony’s are basically the Super Bowl of the theater world. GF Guy and I were so excited! We invited a few friends over, and I prepared a dinner worthy of the occasion. I made steak!
I don’ know why I decided that dinner just HAD to be steak. I’ve never actually cooked it before, and really only eat it once a year. But, steak it was, and AMAZING steak it turned out to be! Ready in under 15 minutes, this recipe is a decadent winner. GF Guy was sure pleased. Though, I’m making him eat lentils tonight….. So, there’s that…..
GF Guy is home, and I suddenly feel like baking again!
It has been over a year since I last made muffins. His first morning home seemed like the perfect time to pull out the old muffin tin and give it a go. I went to my favorite GF recipe blog, The Gluten Free Goddess, where I found a delicious recipe for hearty, whole grain blueberry muffins.
I made a few changes based on the ingredients I had on hand, as I do. GF Guy and I both LOVED them! My changes are highlighted in red. Feel free to follow the link to view the original recipe, and to check out the Gluten Free Goddess’s other delicious recipes!
My baby brother graduated from college, making me officially old. At least my little sister is still under 14 years old. She will keep me “hip with the kids”!
PS – Check out my dad’s epic photo-bomb in the background of this picture!
Then, I flew home to spend 24 hours with my husband, GF Guy. In honor of his visit home, I made a second attempt at creating his family’s famous Arroz con Pollo. In sticking with my convictions to avoid processed foods, I skipped the usual yellow rice mix, and made the recipe completely from scratch. My first attempt, a few months ago, was just okay. The recipe was very complex, but, it was missing something.
I think this version is much closer to where it should be.Both GF Guy and I loved it and went back for seconds. And, the chicken to rice ratio was spot on perfect. In our house, that is probably the most import thing when making chicken and yellow rice. There are few things more annoying than ending up with a giant pot of leftover yellow rice and no more chicken.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 bay leaf and chicken thighs to the pot of boiling water and poach 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain, and season chicken with salt and pepper. Set seasoned chicken aside.
Place large pot back on the stove over medium high heat. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pot and saute’ onions and bell pepper until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Quickly, so as not to burn the garlic, deglaze the pan with white wine.
Add the tomato paste and rice.
Add the spices and bay leaf and stir to thoroughly coat all ingredients.
Pour chicken stock into the pot.
Nestle the seasoned chicken thighs in the pot. They should be mostly submerged in the cooking liquid.
Top chicken with the peas, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Drizzle with a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover pot with a lid, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
Adjust seasonings and serve.
Serve with fresh Cilantro, chopped tomato, baby spinach, and sliced avocado, if desired.
I have this deep fascination with making ingredients from scratch.
What’s the big mystery? Things didn’t start off in bottles on grocery store shelves. Someone, a long time ago, used to make these ingredients for their families. So, why can’t I? My first foray into making condiments is a BBQ Sauce recipe. Admittedly, I used store bought organic ketchup and organic mustard in the recipe. But, it’s a start, right? After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither will my condiment collection be.
Half of my friends already think I’m a bit of an extremist when it comes to my commitment to organic, local, and sustainable foods. After reading Michael Moss’s book, however, I’m about to become even more extreme. I don’t want to buy anything that comes in a box or package ever again, unless it comes from a reputable company who’s beliefs align with my own. I highly recommend everyone read this book. Consider yourself warned, though. It will change the way you see food forever.
On that note… I made BBQ Sauce!!!GF Guy was home for a few days so I pulled out all the stops and made one of his favorite dishes, Pulled Pork! I used my old stand-by recipe, but this time made my own BBQ Sauce. Next time, I will make my own ketchup and mustard first.
This year is turning out to be the year of the “quinoa bowl meal”, and with good reason.
These meals are versatile, delicious, and SUPER CHEAP!!!!
We have all heard the complaint that it is simply too expensive to eat healthily and/or to eat gluten free. I would like to challenge any persons who says that to a cook off! At one point, my husband and I were both unemployed. Yet, we still managed to eat a plethora of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. I made my own almond milk, baked my own gluten free bread, and we ate like kings on less than $150 a month. It is possible. You just have to want to do it and put forth the effort.
Okay… I will step off my soap box now.
It is currently snowing sideways, wet, and nasty outside. I knew that dinner needed to be something spicy that would warm me from the inside out. Out came the hot sauce, cumin, and salsa, and I was on my way!
PS – Guess who finally remembered to charge her camera battery? This kid!
Ole’ Lentil Budget Bowl
(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1/4 of a Yellow Onion, sliced
1/4 cup Broccoli, chopped
3 Tblsp frozen Peas
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/8 tsp Chili Powder
1 cup Beet Greens, chopped
1/4 cup Green Lentils, cooked
1/4 cup Quinoa, cooked
3-4 Tblsp Salsa
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
dash of Hot Sauce
Melt oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
Saute’ onion until translucent. Add Broccoli and cook until tender.
Next, in go the frozen peas, and cook until defrosted.
Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder, and add greens, cooking until just wilted.
Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.
I know, I know…. But they were on sale, 2 for 1! You wouldn’t expect me to pass up a good bargain, would you? Besides, we should all eat more beets. They are excellent for the liver, boost mental health, and are even considered by some to be an aphrodisiac. (Oh yeah… I went there.) source
I made a big batch of these steamed beets to use on salads and other meals throughout the week. I will give you the recipe for what I ate my beets on tomorrow. It was delicious, filling, and vegan! I win.
(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)
1 bunch organic Beets (reserve the beets tops for another recipe)
2 Tblsp Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 tsp dried Thyme
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a square baking pan with foil.
Clean & quarter beets.
Place beets in the foil lined pan, and pour vegetable stock around the beets.
Sprinkle with thyme, salt, & pepper.
Cover pan tightly with foil, and place in preheated oven.
Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until beets are fork tender.
I simply adore the weekends. Mornings where I get to sleep in until 7:30am, roll out of bed, enjoy a leisurely cup of French-press coffee, and take a moment to breathe….. Yes, weekends are the best.
I took a bit of time this morning to try my hand at a recipe I spotted over at Kelly’s Spunky Coconut blog. Her Silver Dollar Banana Pancakes looked like the perfect vehicle for the bag of coconut flour that has staring accusingly at me from the back corner of my refrigerator.
I took her base recipe and converted it from banana to pumpkin, which was a delicious swap. Unfortunately, mine stuck to the pan a bit, making then rather homely looking, bless their hearts….. Regardless of their scrappy appearance, they tasted delicious, especially when topped with a drizzle of organic honey.