Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili (Crockpot)

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)

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of your crock pot. Add garlic, onion, and spices and stir to combine.
  2. Add al remaining ingredients except the lime juice and zest and stir to combine.
  3. Place the lid on your crock pot and set to low.
  4. Cool on low for 6 hours.
  5. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, agave ratio, as needed.
  6. Garnish with lime juice and zest before serving.

Ole’ Lentil Budget Bowl

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)

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Saute’ onion until translucent. Add Broccoli and cook until tender.
  3. Next, in go the frozen peas, and cook until defrosted.
  4. Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder, and add greens, cooking until just wilted.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

Pesto Quinoa & Lentils

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, we are moving on to the delicious smorgasbord that could be seen below the steamed beets!

I know you were all waiting with baited breath….

I noticed that I rarely use a plate. Every meal seems to be some sort of a bowl meal. What does that say about me? Hmm….

Anyway…. A delicious recipe made from leftover components of meals from the last week is the star of today’s post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Pesto Quinoa & Lentils

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 of a Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Beet Greens
  • 1-2 tsp Beet Green Pesto (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup Green Lentils, cooked
  • 1/4 cup Qunioa, cooked
  • 2 tsp good quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion until translucent. Add carrot & broccoli and saute until tender.
  3. Add beet greens & pesto and cook until just wilted.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.
  5. Top with Steamed Beets (Recipe Here)

No “Beet”ing Around the Bush

Again with the beets?!

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. 😉

Steamed Beets

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a square baking pan with foil.
  3. Clean & quarter beets.
  4. Place beets in the foil lined pan, and pour vegetable stock around the beets.
  5. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, & pepper.
  6. Cover pan tightly with foil, and place in preheated oven.
  7. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until beets are fork tender.

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

Ahhhh…..  I just got back from this week’s work trip, and am thoroughly enjoying sitting on my couch watching Glee.

Not that my trip was awful. Quite the contrary! I got to spend a delightful evening cooking and taking in the sunset with my lovely sister in-law.

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And come on, you can’t beat a view like this one….

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But, it is ALWAYS good to be home and cooking in my little kitchen.

If you can’t tell from my last post, I am a little obsessed with soft-boiled eggs right now.

What’s not to love about them? You get a rich, creamy yolk without the mess of it sticking to a skillet! It’s genius, I tell you! GENIUS! …I also get overly excited about Jeopardy, so I’m not the most creditable judge….

Anyway, this recipe is definitely one for the vaults. The punch of acidity coupled with the earthy flavor of the beet greens and the creamy richness of the egg yolk creates sheer perfection in a bowl!

For those of you who are not egg lovers, this recipe would be equally delicious sans l’oeuf.

 

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 cup Beet Greens, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 large, Organic Egg
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the egg, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove promptly and cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beet greens and lemon juice and saute until wilted. Add peas, nutritional yeast, fresh basil, salt & pepper, and cook until heated through.
  4. To serve, place the quinoa in a bowl, and top with the soft boiled egg.

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

I love beets, like really LOVE them.

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I also have an unexplainable fear of cooking them. (I also have a strange fear of artichokes, but that is another post entirely…) Maybe it is the chance that they will bleed their red dye all over my counter tops, hands, outfit… you get the picture. Maybe, I’m just scared of the unknown. Either way, I took another step toward conquering my “beet fear” once and for all with the creation of this dish.

Organic beets were on sale at my local grocery store this week. What better time to experiment?! I slung two bunches into my basket and strutted determinedly to the register. Once I got home, however, I wasn’t feeling quite so stoic. What in heavens name was I going to make? I settled on an easy, steamed beet. Wanting to incorporate the beet greens into my recipe (waste not, want not), I used them to make a garlic-y pesto & a warm salad.

For the sauce, I soft boiled an egg, which, once broken, lent a rich, creamy texture & flavor to the dish that beautifully tied in all of the sweet and savory notes of the other components.

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small Golden Beets
  • 2-3 Tblsp Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Beet Greens, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp dry White Wine
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 large, Organic Egg

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Beet Greens
  • 3 Tblsp fresh Basil
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub beets and place in a foil lined square baking dish. Top with 2-3 Tblsp Vegetable broth and tightly cover with another piece of foil. Place in preheated oven and cook until fork tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat. Add onions, and saute until translucent.
  4. Toss in the chopped beet greens, and cook until wilted., deglazing the pan with the white wine, if needed.
  5. Meanwhile, make a soft boiled egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the egg and boil for five minutes. Remove promptly and allow to cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  6. Pesto: Place garlic, greens, basil, oil, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in vegetable stock until desired smoothness and consistency is reached. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
  7. To serve, place sauteed beet greens and mushrooms in a bowl. Top with sliced golden beets, soft boiled egg, and a drizzle of beet green pesto.

“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! ….a few days late…

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I am fresh off of a crazy month and a half during which I was home for about 4 days total. I have been to Orlando, Tampa, Anaheim, San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Eugene, and San Jose. My marathon of travel culminated in a once in a lifetime trip to Kauai with my love, GF Guy.

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He has most of the pictures. But, once he posts them, I can promise you all a Gluten Free guide to Kauai featuring the best seafood on the island, a swim in a waterfall, a traditional Hawaiian lunch at a road side food truck, and a helicopter ride through the beautiful island that now holds a piece of my heart.

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We arrived home on Sunday, just in time to pull together a mini St. Patrick’s Day get together. In “traditional Irish fashion”, I whipped up a big pot of Pumpkin Chili. (riiiiight…..). The side dish, however, was the real star of the evening! I knew I had to make something green, but detest the thought of using artificial coloring. Instead, I used a healthy helping of spinach to transform Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix into a festive, green side dish that packed a veggie punch!

My “Sneaky Veggie” Cornbread is an excellent way to get those picky eaters in your family to eat more vegetables and have fun while doing it!

“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Puree almond milk and spinach in a blender until smooth.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until done, about 30 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

Vegan BBQ Stuffed Acorn Squash

Hello strangers!

It has been over a month since I last updated this blog. I seem to have reached the point where I feel like most of my dinners are variations on already posted recipes. I suppose that is bound to happen when you have close to 600 recipes posted, but it still makes me feel utterly unimaginative.

The holidays were filled with travel and family. I was able to spend an entire week with GF Guy and Dickens! It was beyond heavenly!

Here is a little peek into the last month….

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THEN it was back to reality. Work has been wonderful and busy. I have been jetting back and forth between San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland each week and planning my travels well into March. To tell the truth, I love my busy, jet set life! I am a transient person, by nature. Traveling for work keeps my wanderlust in check. It’s hard to believe I have been living in the same city for a year and a half. My how time flies!

In other news, I have been vegan for almost an entire month. (minus 1 evening where my options were gluten or fish…. obviously, I chose the fish…) I work for a company that sells both gluten-free and vegan products. In an effort to educate everyone at the company on a vegan diet, and in an exercise to develop empathy for what those with dietary restrictions  must face on a daily basis, we have all adopted a vegan diet for the month of January. At first, I thought I would have a difficult time forgoing meat, fish, and honey. However, I am happy to report that I have had no problems! I have felt energized and focused this entire month. So much, in fact, that I am considering adopting a vegan lifestyle. I can’t promise anything. I’m already difficult to feed when I go visit friends and relatives, but we shall see….

For now, I will be vegan until February 1st. My focus during this month’s vegan challenge has been on eating whole foods. No processed meat alternatives for this girl! My diet has consisted heavily of fresh produce, beans, quinoa, and brown rice. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to approach a vegan diet. Food as nature intended is the recipe for a healthy diet. The below recipe is just that. Enjoy!

Vegan BBQ Stuffed Acorn Squash

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Water
  • 5-6 Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups Green Kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Great Northern White Beans, cooked
  • 3 Tblsp Gluten Free, Vegan BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese Shreds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut Acorn Squash in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon remove and discard the seeds and strings.
  3. Place squash in a baking dish, cut side down. Pour water around the squash until about 1/4 inch deep.
  4. Place squash in the oven and cook 35-40 minutes, until soft to the touch.
  5. Remove squash from the oven, and place face up on a plate to cool slightly. Discard the cooking water.
  6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  7. Saute the mushrooms in the olive oil until they begin to sweat. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
  8. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  9. Deglaze the pan with 1 tsp water.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes and kale to the pan, and saute until kale begins to wilt.
  11. Next add the cooked beans and BBQ sauce and cook until heated through.
  12. Remove the kale mixture from the heat and spoon evenly into the cooked acorn squash halves.
  13. Top each squash half with 1/8 cup of Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese Shreds.
  14. Place squash in the oven under the broiler and cook 3-4 minutes until the Daiya Vegan Cheese begins to melt.
  15. Enjoy!

One Pan Baked Chicken & Vegetables

No muss. No fuss. That’s the kind of girl I have become lately.

…..at least in the kitchen…..

Yes, these are purple polka dot pants. My fashion sense is clearly slightly less “no frills”.

I used to spend hours in the kitchen preparing one meal. Homemade hamburger buns to complete our slow cooked pulled pork feast…. Homemade almond milk…. Homemade hummus….. What has become of me?! I’ll tell you what has become of me… LIFE!

I swear! When not traveling, I leave the house at 6:20AM to head to the office, work through lunch, and don’t arrive home until just after 6PM. I work long hours, and I love my job, but I am starting to neglect myself a little…. I just realized that, literally…. Hmm…. Maybe I will take a lunch break today. 😉

Well, now that we have had our daily revelation, let’s get on to the recipe!

A one dish wonder, this baked chicken recipe is quick, delicious, and can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled to feed an entire family! Enjoy!

One Pan Baked Chicken & Vegetables

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Baby Carrots
  • 1/4 cup Crimini Mushrooms, halved
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Thyme, dried
  • Rosemary, dried
  • drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • about 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (375 for high altitude)
  2. Place chopped vegetables in an 8×8 square baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
  3. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and herbs, and place in the baking dish atop the vegetables.
  4. Pour 1-2 Tbsp of chicken stock over the vegetables, and drizzle everything with a little extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Cover, tightly with foil and bake 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Fennel

I am, as much as this pains me to admit, sick….

A fever, chills, sore throat… The Trifecta.

Had you seen my shopping basket at Whole Foods a few hours ago, you would have steered clear! Wellness Blend, Sambuca, Vitamin C, Cold Season Tea….

I was like a walking germ alert. Kids, this is what happens when you move clear across the country from your family, your husband is traveling, and you get sick. You are left to fend for yourself. It’s not pretty. It’s not glamorous. This is, straight up, life, my friends! Currently, I have some sort of concoction of chicken broth and vegetables simmering in the crock pot. Not so sure how it will turn out, but at least I won’t have to think about making dinner later.

Before being slammed in the face by “the sickness”, I had a chance to play in the kitchen with one of my favorite ingredients, Brussel Sprouts! Since my head is about to explode, and I need another cup of tea, I am going to cut to the chase, and let you all get on to the recipe. Bon Appetit!

Shaved Brussel Sprouts & Fennel

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 7-8 Brussel Sprouts, thinly sliced/shaved
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Fennel Fronds, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry White Wine

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add brussel sprouts, red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and saute 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the fennel to the pan and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to reduce, 5-7 minutes.