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.
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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.

“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!

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.

Simple Veggie Saute’ for One

….because sometimes simple is better.

Do you ever crave a plain-jane meal? No bells and whistles…. Just good, simple, straight forward flavors?

I sure do. Sometimes all my body wants are vegetables, pure and simple. I could just have a salad, but that’s not always the ticket around here. Last night, I was in a just such a veggie mood. I opened the crisper drawer, hauled out every last scrap of produce I could find, and set to work. I chopped and sauteed my little heart out (for all of 10 minutes) before sitting down to a heaping bowl of veggie goodness.

Naturally, I topped my bowl with mashed avocado for some heart healthy fats. I’ve noticed my clothes are getting a little loose lately. Time to amp up the fats in my diet again! For those of you who don’t know, I tend to lose weight fairly easily, especially when I’m not working out consistently (backwards sounding, I know…) I have to make sure to include a good amount of healthy fat in my diet to keep at a consistent weight.

My favorite fat sources are:

  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Chia Seeds/Flax Seeds
  • Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Milk (Ice cream anyone?!)

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What about you? What are your favorite healthy fats?

Simple Veggie Saute’ for One

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 5 large Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 Roma Tomato, chopped
  • Sea Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 Avocado, mashed

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a saute’ pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute’ about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes, until they begin to sweat.
  4. Add zucchini and cook about 3-4 minutes more.
  5. Add garlic and saute’ 1 minute, until fragrant.
  6. Quickly add the chopped tomato to keep the garlic from burning.
  7. Cook until tomato begins to break down.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve topped with mashed avocado.

Mirin Thyme Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are my jam!

I love them on salads, on pasta, plain, hot, or cold. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You get the idea….

I am always looking for new ideas for flavor combinations and stumbled upon this one quite by accident. I was reading a recipe for roasted mushrooms that called for white wine. I didn’t have any, but did find a bottle of mirin tucked in the back of my cupboard. Mirin is kind of a wine, I thought…. So, I went for it!

The resulting vegetables were utterly delicious! GF Guy and I devoured them, sadly leaving no leftovers. (sniff) I guess I will just have to make some more!

Mirin Thyme Roasted Vegetables

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Broccoli Crown, chopped
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 bunch Organic Rainbow Carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 lb mixed Chantrelle and Maitake Mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss until evenly coated.
  3. Pour onto a foil lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Make sure all mushrooms are facing cap down.
  4. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until desired done-ness.

Southwestern Vegetable Medley

What do you get when all your produce drawer contains are a few broccoli stems, 1/2 of a yellow squash, 1/2 an onion, and a few wilted pieces of kale?

Southwestern style veggie goodness, that’s what!

I am a big believer in using every part of a vegetable. In fact, the broccoli stems are my favorite part! Sweet and crunchy, they are delicious raw or cooked. I arrived home from a business trip 2 weeks ago ravenously hungry and with little in my refrigerator save the aforementioned vegetables. Without even bothering to kick off my heels, I set about chopping this and sauteing that. I had planned on making some quinoa to go along with my vegetables, but that would have taken too long, and I was too hungry! Priorities, folks!

Southwestern Vegetable Medley

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Olive Oil (for flavor)
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 Broccoli Stalks, chopped
  • 1/3 Yellow Squash, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • dash Chili Powder
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 handfuls Baby Kale
  • 3 Tbsp Salsa

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add sliced onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add remaining vegetables (except kale) and cook 5-7 minutes, until soft.
  4. Add spices and stir until vegetables are evenly coated.
  5. Add the kale and salsa and cook until kale is wilted.
  6. Serve.

I ate the entire pan in one sitting. I love my veggies!