Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Creamy Curried Chickpea Chowder

This all started with a sort of a stone soup method. So to begin, I randomly decided to soak a bag of chick peas last night. I had no idea what exactly I was going to do with it. I was a bit low on fresh produce so I kept thinking ok, I can make some simple chick peas, but what do I have that can I add to this. Then flashbacks of all the recipes I've seen recently of curries on the interwebs came to mind. Yum, I love curry. So my course was set. I would make some sort of simple chickpea curry. Then as I started digging around I added some carrots, my last onion, some garlic. Then while rummaging around the pantry I decided to add a blend of rice to it. As I rummaged further I discovered a can of organic coconut milk... Okay! Now we are getting somewhere! Anyhow, you get the idea!

This soup is based on chick pea curry and Thai curry soup. I can not take credit for this soup, but I can't give anyone in particular credit. These types of dishes have been around for ages and are all over vegan recipe blogs which I frequent. This recipe was a culmination of ideas from many different recipes that I have looked at the past few months and of what I had in my cupboards! The closest credit I could give would be to Vegan Gone Wild for adding wild rice to her chick pea soup which I thought would be divine! I didn't have wild rice, but I used a blend with brown & wild rice which was delicious! I can say this is worth a do-over, and a do-over of the do-over.. I couldn't stop "testing" this soup it is so good! This soup definitely got a thumbs up from others around here who are picky, meat & potato eaters! As a matter of fact, they loved it and I have a new favorite!
Creamy Curried Chickpea Chowder:
water.. and more water
2 cups of dried chick peas
1 onion diced
4-5 cloves garlic minced
2-3 carrots diced
2 tbsp chick pea miso
2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 can full fat organic coconut milk
1/2 lemon juiced
1-2 tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
1-2 tbsp of a good curry blend
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground ginger (or fresh minced)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3-4 sprigs fresh basil
1 1/2 cups cooked brown-wild rice blend

Start the night before by soaking your chick peas in 2 to 3 times as much water. They will expand so use a large bowl! The next day drain them and rinse them well. Put them in a large stock pot and cover them with twice as much water again, add one tbsp of salt to the water. Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Let this simmer gently for around two hours or until the chick peas are soft. I usually leave the lid on cock-eyed so there is room for the steam to escape. You can steam your rice while the peas are cooking. After the peas are soft, stir in the rest of the ingredients except the rice and basil. Bring this to a slow simmer for about another hour. Your broth will most likely be a bit thin. Remove about half of the chick peas & other veggies and put into a blender. Puree this for 2-3 minutes or until it is really smooth and creamy. Stir it back into the broth. This gives you a nice thick broth and leaves you with some whole veggies for a very hearty soup. Add in your rice and simmer for about ten minutes. Serve with torn basil leaves on top to stir in. This serves about 6-8. Enjoy~

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sautéed Asparagus & Artichokes With Red Quinoa

Quinoa is so simple, it really can be used in place of rice or even pasta. It's great with stir-fried or sautéed veggies. It's great so many ways really. I have been eating a lot of it lately and my appreciation for how versatile it is has grown. So today, I kept thinking about the package of frozen baby asparagus I had in the freezer and how I wanted to prepare it. Normally I just steam or roast it with a drizzle of olive oil, which is delicious but I wanted to do something different his time. I also had a package of fresh mushrooms that needed to be used up and the two together just sounded good.

Anyway, for those of you who know it is healthy and want to eat it more, but are unsure of what to do with it, here is another recipe for you!
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Asparagus Sauté:
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tamari or other gluten free soy sauce
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 onion sliced
1 small pkg button mushrooms
1 pkg fresh or frozen asparagus
1 can artichoke hearts
2-3 sprigs of fresh basil

Cook 1 cup of quinoa in two cups of water. Add the salt and simmer until quinoa is soft, about 20 minutes. Add the olive oil when all the water has cooked out. Sauté the garlic and onions in the sesame oil until they soften, add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Add in the asparagus and tamari and cover to steam for about 5 minutes. Rinse and drain the artichokes. Remove cover and add artichokes and sauté until artichokes are warm. Tear up the basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Serves 2-4 people.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Avocado Toast

This is one of my very favorite meals. It is really simple, not really a recipe, more of an assembly. I just had to post this because I absolutely love my toast this way. I try not to eat a lot of bread, but when I do, it's either homemade gluten free or from my favorite local bakery that makes gluten free breads. This particular bread bread is white in color, but it is actually made from whole grain millet flour, brown rice flour and water. That's it! I really want to know their secrets so I can bake my own! It is not soft like white bread, but it makes amazing crunchy toast. I usually keep a loaf in the freezer since I don't eat it often. It's perfect for grabbing a piece or two to toast when I want it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sweet Sautéed Beets With Greens

This is a dish I have been craving since the first time I made it. Sweet and savory, so delicious a new favorite! I grew up eating pickled beets that my grandmother made fresh from her garden. I could have eaten the whole jar if she wasn't looking. I have always been a fan of beets. But after I grew up I rarely ate them. I guess I never really knew how to prepare them or what to do with them until recently. I decided one day to try this out and I am so glad for a successful experiment!

Also, I recently bought an iron skillet that I found at a flea market for ten dollars! It was unused and "unseasoned". I seasoned it initially by coating it in oil and baking it in my oven upside down, with a sheet of tin foil on the rack below it, for about an hour at 400 degrees. This gave it the nice black coating. Since I have been using it, it has gotten blacker and more non-stick. I love it now that it is easier to cook in! I will be using this instead of my old cheapy non-stick pans with all of the unknown toxins leaching slowly into my foods. Iron is good for you, so a little bit of iron leached into your food can only be a good thing. As the guy at the flea market said "the original iron supplement"!

Sautéed Beets
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp water
1 bunch of beets with the greens
2 tbsp maple syrup or other sweetner
sea salt to taste

Cut the greens off the beets at the base and rinse very well. Scrub the beets with a vegetable brush or peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut off the roots and the stems then slice. Depending on the size of the greens, leave whole or chop a bit if they are large.

In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic in coconut oil until they start to caramelize or brown, stirring frequently. Add in the beets and saute for a couple minutes stirring frequently. Then add the water, cover with the lid and let them steam for about 5-6 minutes. Stir again and add in the beet greens on top and cover and let it continue to steam for about another 5 minutes. Once the beets are soft and the greens wilted, add in the maple syrup, sprinkle with some sea salt and stir, saute for about 2 more minutes. I listed this as a side, but I eat this as an entree I love it so much! Warning this dish is highly addictive if you like beets!

Raw Strawberry Chia-Hemp Breakfast Pudding

This pudding is so creamy and light at the same time. You'd almost think there was dairy in it. My daughter, who is very skeptical about everything I eat, said it made her think of yogurt (without the tang), which was my goal! This pudding is lightly sweet and makes a great breakfast topped with some fresh strawberries. You can easily substitute the strawberries for your favorite fruit. Blueberries would be delicious also! It just so happens that this is strawberry season and they are one of my favorites. Right now the prices for organic are $2.50 per pound which is super cheap! I keep buying them and devouring them!

Quinoa With Red Lentils & Basil

This is a fairly simple and tasty recipe for quinoa. If you like lentils, you will love this. The combinations of garlic, onion, lentils and basil is YUM. I highly recommend the fresh basil for this dish. If you are not a fan of basil - you are crazy... kidding! Anyway, you could try substituting with fresh cilantro, another of my favorite herbs.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Raw Fig Energy Bars

Ok, this is not to my credit whatsoever, credit belongs to the Detoxinista for sharing her recipe for Cherry Pie Larabars. I absolutely love her blog and encourage everyone to check out her recipes. I keep links of my favorite recipe blogs of some amazing chef's and nutritionists on my blog, so be sure to check them out!. Anyway back to the larabars. I did not know what a larabar was until I read her post. From what I get, they are pretty tasty, healthy treats. I guess there has been a lot of speculation about Larabars since the company was purchased by General Mills. GM is fighting to stop the labeling of GMO's which as we all know, means they are not looking out for the consumer but only their own pocket book. The good news is that the questions about GMO products used to make Larabars have been answered. Larabar has issued a statement on their website that they are enrolled in the Non GMO project and will continue to be GMO free. But, as always, making them yourself is always cheaper and best!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hot & Sour Meets Pho

What can I say about the most beautiful soup ever? This is a treat for all the senses. I have been dreaming of making this soup since I first saw a slightly different version on My New Roots blog. She has a beautiful "Pho-Inspired Noodle Bowl" that looks amazing. I have to give her some credit for my recipe. My broth is quite different than traditional Pho broth. There are not many things I do not like, but I am not a fan of the black licorice flavor that anise has. I didn't want to end up with a pot full of something I won't eat! So, I actually set out to make a simple ginger broth. But the creative juices were flowing and, as things go, I had a sweet vision.. for a sweet, hot & sour type of broth. Anyhow, sampling as I went, I altered my direction! And it came out delicious!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Purple Rainbow Salad with Orange-Ginger Poppy Seed Dressing

I was excited to finally make my first trip to Hoover's Market, which is about an hour away, but I wasn't nearly as excited as when I saw their fresh organic produce section... not to mention their bulk section and all the other healthy goodies! I am lucky to belong to a good local organic co-op which allows me access to a large variety of produce. But at Hoover's, they had all the things I had been wanting and more! I came home with a load of produce, my fridge was almost bulging! This will have to be a once a month trip.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tomato-Herb Cannellini Dip

I saw a post on a recipe for hummus. I have made my own in the past, this one called for smoked paprika and yum! I had never thought of using smoked paprika in a bean dip. Anyhow I went to make some hummus and realized that I did not have any chick peas. What I did have was cannellini beans.

Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie - The Secret of the Perfect Fruit Smoothie

Today I wanted a fruit smoothie for breakfast. The secret to making a good fruit smoothie without adding a sweetener is to not use ice! Instead, keep some frozen fruit on hand. I buy bananas when they are slightly green. I love eating them before they are fully ripe. So I eat one or two until they just barely start to get brown spots. Once they start getting speckled, I peel them, break them in half and toss them in a large ziplock bag and freeze them for smoothies! Depending on your blender you may want to slice them before you freeze them. I also try to keep frozen blueberries and strawberries in stock. Frozen bananas make a great smoothie base. They add all the extra sweetness I need.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Green-Carrot Juice

Creamy Almond "Ranch" Dressing

I like to switch up my dressings frequently since I eat so many salads. I love salads and I have always loved a good ranch dressing. Almonds are loaded with essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium not to mention the protein and fiber. They make a great base for a "ranch" dressing instead of dairy. Here are some nutrition facts on almonds.