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Sarah Lawrence

Christmas Menu - a Gluten Free Vegan Feast

Christmas is such a wonderful holiday... celebrating the gifts of love and friendship... enjoying time with our family and friends.  For me, it's a joyful time.  In the kitchen, I want comfort and cozy... and I want tasty, healthy food that doesn't take all day to make!  I confess that I usually try new recipes at holiday time.  This year is no exception.  I'd love to share the inspiration for my 2 favorite dishes with you and hope that they can be a spark for you too! Okay, the ladies over at PPK are simply brilliant.  With a few modifications of the PPK vegan Macaroon recipe my Gluten Free Vegan version was born.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy coconut and the macaroon is just one of those things that’s eluded me… but no longer!  Now you can enjoy them too!   I played with these a little and my favorite variation was pressing a whole almond into the top of the mound of dough, baking and then drizzling with chocolate instead of dipping the bottom... kind of like an Almond Joy if you're into that!  GFV Macaroons GFV Macaroons 3 oz extra firm silken tofu ¼ cup coconut oil 2 tablespoons coconut milk 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup sorghum flour or ¼ sorghum + ¼ cocoa powder (for a chocolicious version) ¼ cup almond meal ¼ cup arrowroot starch ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½  cups unsweetened shredded coconut whole almonds, optional ½ cup chocolate chips, melted using a double boiler Variations recommended by PPK: Chipper: Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips to the batter Touch of Orange: Add 2 tsp orange zest and omit almond extract Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheets with parchment. Puree tofu, oil and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Scrape the sides to get everything back into the mix.  Add the remaining ingredients except the coconut.  Pulse to combine.  Tip out into a large bowl and mix in the coconut.  The dough will be stiff. Scoop tablespoons of dough out of the bowl and onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use my nifty Pampered Chef medium ice cream scooper to get uniform balls of dough.  These cookies don’t spread, so you can get a TON onto a baking sheet.  But, don’t overcrowd them or they will take longer to bake. 15 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven should do the trick… golden bottoms and lightly toasted tops. Transfer to a cooling rack while you melt the chocolate (I like the double boiler method where you place your bowl with the chocolate over a pot with a bit of boiling water on the stove… the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water, rather it should be big enough that it rests on the rim of the water pot so the steam and heat from the boiling water will gently melt the chocolate as you stir.) Once the chocolate is melted dip the cooled cookies in and coat their bottoms.  Then set them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet to set. Pop them in the fridge if you need them quickly, otherwise, a while at room temp will also set them up just fine.   The other super stars of our holiday feast were these chickpea almond tart shells.  Green Kitchen Stories is a new blog to me, but I am already in love!  David and Luise created a stellar GFV menu for Bon Appetit and their filled version of these shells was totally inspiring!  The recipe posted here includes my modifications based on our tastes.  I found the original recipe to be a bit too salty so I've cut the salt.  Also, the coconut oil I use is raw and tastes very coconutty, so for our tastes and with the pantry items we use I prefer to use Earth Balance to play off the nuttiness of the almond and chickpea flour without giving the added coconut note (even though I love coconut... it just didn't work for me here).  I added flaxseed meal to bump the nutritive value of the shell and loved the extra nuttiness that the flax gave.  So, try the original version and try my version... then make your own!  The beauty of cooking is that you have the freedom to create things that suite your tastes.    I spread a thin layer of garlicky roasted eggplant puree on the bottom of each baked shell, then added a layer of braised kale (chopped kale, garlic, shallot, parsley, veg broth), and topped with a dollop of herbed mashed potato. GFV Christmas Feast 2011 Served these alongside Quinoa studded with cranberries, pecans and roasted yams; mesculin greens with raspberries; steamed carrots seasoned with cardamon... and the meal was divine. Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Makes 6-8 tart shells depending on the size of your pans Tart shells 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 1/4 cup flaxseed meal ¾  cup almond flour or almond meal 1/3 cup potato starch, tapioca starch, or cornstarch 1/8 tsp sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choice or 1 ½ Tbsp dried 6 Tbsp Earth Balance + 6-9 Tbsp cold water special equipment: small tart pans Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until a nice dough forms. Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface (using either the chickpea or almond flour).  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and press into your tart shells.  If your pans are non stick there shouldn’t be a need to oil them, but if they’re not then definitely give the pans a quick coating. Take a piece of dough and press it evenly onto the bottom of the 1st tart pan, then work it up the sides.  Use your thumbs to keep the dough from going over the edges while forming a nice uniform thickness on the sides.  Since I don’t know the size of your tart pans, you may need more of less dough to make this work.  The shells that we liked the best had less than ¼ inch thickness to the sides and bottom.  They bake up crisp and are not dense. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the shells cool before filling them.  The bottoms will get soggy if you leave a filling in for too long, so be prepared to serve within about 45 minutes from the time you fill these little beauties.

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Sarah Lawrence

Ingredient Adventure: Black Chickpeas

I love trying new ingredients.  This bag of Black Chickpeas has been in my pantry for a little over a month now and I decided that tonight was their opening night in our kitchen!  Most of the recipes I've seen that use black chickpeas describe them as a snack or side dish and use them in a spiced sauce with some gamey meat.  Instead of using these little nuggets in their traditional supporting role, I've used them as the star.  This meal was rounded out with a gorgeous saute of ripped kale, seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and pepper as well as a scoop of steamed quinoa.  I also created a Gingered Coconut Almond Cream to top the Chickpeas, just because... I love ginger and I love a creamy sauce that I can dip into or swirl into a dish.  About 1 Tbsp topped each serving of Chickpeas. The Family Verdict: My 9 year old enjoyed the meal; the 5 year old mixed everything together and ate all but a few bites; my sweet husband left some of the kale and noted that because the black chickpeas look like black beans he expected them to be softer.  I cooked the chickpeas just past al dente, but it would be really easy to cook them a bit more to soften them. Notes: the Black Chickpea soaks and cooks the same as a tan chickpea, though this variety seems much smaller than tan chickpeas.  The taste is also very similar if not the same as the tan variety.  My next 2 experiments will be dry roasting them and trying a Black Chickpea hummus. [caption id="attachment_475" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Black Chickpeas with Kale and Quinoa"]black chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce[/caption] Black Chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce (yields 6-8 servings) Adapted from this Chana-chanp recipe 2 cups dry Black Chickpeas, soaked 1 tsp coconut oil 1 lb Onion, chopped 1 cup coconut milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 lb Tomato, crushed 1 Tbsp cumin powder 1 tsp turmeric powder 3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped 2 Tbsp Ginger, chopped 1 Tbsp chili powder or a generous squeeze of Sriracha, optional handful fresh Cilantro, chopped Salt, to taste Prep: Rinse the chickpeas in cool water to clean them.  Soak the chickpeas over night; drain. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft.  Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and cumin and boil until chickpeas are soft, about 45 minutes.  Once the chickpeas are cooked, turn off the heat and add the coconut milk/lemon juice mixture.  Taste.  Season with chili powder or sriracha as desired.  If you are serving children, you may want to reserve a portion before seasoning with the hot pepper options. Top with minced cilantro and serve.   Ripped Kale 1 bunch of kale, ripped or chopped into small pieces 1 tsp coconut oil Heat coconut oil in a wok or saute pan and add the kale.  Saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the kale is vibrant green and wilted.  Season with a hint of salt and pepper if desired.   Gingered Coconut Almond Cream (yields 1 1/3 cup) 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup raw almonds 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger Combine all ingredients in the Vitamix or other high powered blender.  Blend until very smooth.  The flavor or the cream intensifies the longer it sits.  Fresh ginger yields a stronger flavor faster.

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creativecalligraphy

Hearty Oat Breakfasts: fiber rich and good for Fall

The cool night air is spilling over into our mornings; soon it will be hanging on to our daytimes... Fall is here!  Put away your tee-shirts and release those comfy sweaters from their hibernation. While we enjoy gluten free oats year-round because they are a great fiber rich, whole grain gluten free option, we especially enjoy them in Fall and Winter for their warming properties.  I love preparing oatmeal for my children as a nutritious breakfast.  On days like today when our oldest goes straight from school to gymnastics, it gives me great joy to power him up in the morning with one of these oat meals.  Adding quinoa to our oats is a simple way to ensure that we are protein rich and ready to face the day!  Quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.  The fiber in these recipes is also impressive... through my personal tally based on the dry weight of our starting ingredients, the Apple Oat Meal contains about 9 grams of fiber per serving(5 from the oats, 3 from the quinoa, 1 from the apple).  9 grams is about 1/3 the RDA for most people.  Not bad for a bowl of oatmeal! The American Heart Association guidelines for daily fiber intake vary by age.  To give you an idea of what you need and what your children need, check out these numbers:  Gender/Age Fiber (grams) 1–3 years (19 grams) 4–8 years (25 grams) 9–13 years: Female: (26 grams); Male: (31 grams) 14–18 years: Female: (29 grams); Male: (38 grams) 19-50 years: Female: (29 grams); Male: (38 grams) 50+: Female: (30 grams); Males: (30 grams)  The recipes I share with your today use seasonal fruits with oats and quinoa.  One recipe starts with leftover, cooked, unseasoned quinoa and the other starts with raw quinoa and cooks the seed along with the oats.  Both take about 15 minutes from start to finish, so you can easily get this nutritious breakfast on the table even on a busy morning! Enjoy! Harvest Apple Oat Meal Harvest Apple Oat Meal (makes 4 servings) 2 cup gluten free oats 4 cups water ½ cup organic raisins 1 cup cooked quinoa maple syrup, optional Apple Cream 1 organic apple, quartered or chopped ½ cup raw cashews, soaked if necessary Place oats, raisins and water into a pot. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the oats don’t burn and everything cooks evenly. To make the apple cream, place nuts and apple in your Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. If you are working with a regular blender, soak the cashews in ½ cup water for an hour before blending and chop the apples before adding them to the blender. You may need to add more water to get a creamy consistency if you use this method, but it is equally yummy (it just takes some prep time.) Stir the cooked quinoa into the oats and spoon into your serving bowls. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired and top with a dollop of the apple cashew cream.   Peaches and Cream Quinoats (makes 3-4 servings) ½ cup quinoa, rinsed 1 cup gluten free oats 3 ripe peaches, diced 3 cups water Cashew Cream 1 cup raw cashews 1 ½ cups water 2 medool dates, pit removed Place grains, water and half of the diced peaches into a pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the grains don’t burn and everything cooks evenly. To make the cream, place nuts, water and dates in your Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. If you are working with a regular blender, soak the cashews and dates in the water for an hour before blending. You may need to add more water to get a creamy consistency if you use this method, but it is equally yummy (it just takes some prep time.) Spoon grains into your serving bowls and top with the cashew cream. Enjoy!

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creativecalligraphy

Quinoa Burgers with Greens and Chilled Curried Peach Soup

 I am so excited to share this meal with you!  My boys absolutely gobbled the burgers and each had several "sippers" of Curried Peach Soup.  The burger makes use of three of my weekly staples: quinoa, homemade hummus and kale; and the gorgeous organic peaches we picked up at the market this week really shine while boosting up Vitamin A, C and Potassium.  

Quinoa Burgers with Greens and Chilled Curried Peach Soup
Quinoa Burgers with Greens and Chilled Curried Peach Soup

Quinoa is such a superb seed!  Not only is it incredibly easy to prepare, versatile and yummy but it’s a powerhouse of protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium & vitamin E.  Here, quinoa shares center stage with the amazing chickpea, aka garbanzo.  The chickpea takes on a big role as a binder, but is so mild and creamy that the other flavors come through.  

I love that only one pot and one skillet are involved on the messy side of things (if you need to make the hummus, you’ll have the food processor to contend with as well).  But, this one take relatively little effort to get great results.  To make this guy your own, try changing the spices.  You can use another green in place of the kale or try combinations of herbs instead (parsley and cilantro, thyme and oregano, dill).  Finishing the patties with rice flour gives a light crust and makes for a pretty golden brown burger. Use your hands to mix things and you will soon get the feel for the right texture so you will be able to adapt to the ingredients you choose.  My hummus recipe is a stiff hummus, actually much more stiff than commercial varieties, so if you are using a store bought hummus you may need to add in the garbanzo flour or rice flour to aid in binding and reduce the moisture level. Quinoa Burgers (Makes 6 burgers) 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water 1 Tbsp organic onion powder 2 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled 1 cup homemade hummus (recipe below) 1/4 cup minced kale (about 2 leaves) 1 teaspoon Frontier All Purpose Seasoning or your favorite herb blend 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 2 Tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos 1-2 Tablespoons garbanzo bean flour or rice flour (as needed) Fresh ground black pepper Brown rice flour 1 Tbsp Olive oil Preheat a skillet to medium high heat and pour in the quinoa.  Lightly toast the seeds for a minute or two until they start to smell nutty but are NOT burnt.  Add in the 2 cups of water, onion powder and unpeeled garlic.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and fish out the garlic. Put your softened garlic onto a plate or cutting board and, with the edge of a knife, lightly press on the garlic to squish it out of the peel.  Add this back into the quinoa mixture. Add the hummus, kale, herbs, smoked paprika, Braggs and several grinds of pepper into the quinoa pot and mix well.  I like to use my hands for mixing because I get a good feel for the stickiness of the dough and can tell if things are binding together or if I am going to need to adjust with the bean/rice flour and/or water.  So, once the ingredients are incorporated take about ½ cup of the mixture and make a ball.  If you can shape it into a burger type patty without anything crumbling off or wilting over, then you have the right consistency.  If you can’t, and your mixture is too wet, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of garbanzo flour over the mixture and stir it in.  If your mixture is too dry, try adding a teaspoon of water at a time and mixing.  We are looking to make a mixture that it neither too wet nor too dry.  We want moist. Continue adjusting until you get a patty that holds well on its own. [caption id="attachment_445" align="alignright" width="300" caption="ready for mixing"]ready for mixing[/caption] Divide the mixture into 6 equal bits and form into balls which you will then shape into ¼ inch thick patties. [caption id="attachment_444" align="alignright" width="300" caption="shaping and dredging"]shaping and dredging[/caption] Get your cast iron skillet hot over a high flame and coat it with the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium.  Lightly dredge the patties with some brown rice flour that you’ve put in a shallow bowl or plate.  Get your burgers into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until you get some browning. Serve on your favorite bun or GF bread or set up a pretty plate with greens and fresh tomato and avocado.  I think a grainy mustard is a wonderful condiment for this burger, but you’ll find your favorite.   Homemade Hummus 3 cups cooked chickpeas ¼ cup tahini 3 cloves garlic juice of one organic lemon dash of salt and pepper 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper (optional) Put all ingredients in your blender.  Pulse to combine and then blend until a smooth texture is achieved.  If needed, stream in a tablespoon or two of veg broth or olive oil to thin the mixture (this step is really dependent on the moisture level of your chickpeas and tahini, so it will vary). Flavor develops more after a day in the refrigerator, but this is totally great right out of the food processor.  Use half the batch for the quinoa burgers and enjoy the remainder with veggies during the week or as an accompaniment for salad, or thin it out with water or almond milk to make a luscious dressing/dip. ************************************************** My kids LOVE this soup!  It’s a great soup for teaching, actually, because each of the components tastes so different on their own.  Taste the ingredients one by one before putting everything into the blender and then taste the final product.  When combined, the flavor of this golden peachy toned creamy soup is a little sweet, a little spicy.  Chill for an hour or more before serving, but don’t keep it for more than a day as the color will go a funny orange and the peach flavor loses something. Chilled Peach Soup 4 organic peaches ¼ cup coconut flakes 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon curry powder ½ tsp fresh grated ginger Wash and pit the peaches.  Put everything into the Vitamix and blend on low speed for 10 seconds.  Whiz on maximum speed for 30 seconds or until the coconut is thoroughly blended and the mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a bowl or container and chill for at least an hour before serving. Note: blender or food processor will work but may not yield a smooth texture.  If you don’t have a Vitamix, consider using ½ cup of prepared coconut milk instead of coconut flakes and water.

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creativecalligraphy

Protein Packed Burritos

Even if you’re not going to eat all 14 burritos at one mealtime, make them all… you’ll love the convenience factor later in the week or even later in the month!  These make a great quick lunch and great after school snacks.  I can fit 1 burrito into a snack size ziplock bag.  They are easy to mark and super quick to reheat in either the microwave or oven. * If you're using lettuce as your wrapper of choice and you want to freeze leftovers, just freeze the filling in 1/3 cup portions.  Warm the portion and then spoon it onto your fresh lettuce leaf when ready to eat.  Lettuce won't hold up to freezing.  Spelt wraps hold up fairly well, if you can tolerate spelt.  Rice wraps can get crumbly, so my suggestion is to add a bit of water to the filling before you set it in the wrapper and freeze it.  The extra moisture will help during the thaw.  If your rice wrapper looses it's composure during the process, just top it with some enchilada sauce and eat with a fork and knife!  There is nothing tragic about that! Protein Packed Burritos (14 servings, 2 hours hands-off bean cooking, 15 minutes assembly) 1 lb dry pinto beans 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 8 cups water + 4 cup water 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper ½ tsp chipotle powder 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water 14 tortilla style wrappers of your choice or large romaine lettuce leaves vegan cheese shreds, optional (I used Daiya pepper jack) Put the beans into a colander and rinse them under running water.  Give the colander a shake and dump the beans into a large pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Shut off the heat after the boil and let the beans rest for an hour.  Come back, drain the beans and put them back in the pot.  Add the 8 cups of water you’ve measured out and set the temp for medium high so the pot comes up to a simmer.  Cover and leave the pot for an hour. In the meantime, mince your onion and garlic and sauté them over low heat until fragrant and translucent, but not browned.  Turn off the heat and leave these until the beans are ready. Also, set the quinoa and water into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. The beans are ready when they are tender and most of the cooking liquid has been absorbed.  When you reach that point, usually around the hour mark, transfer your beans in batches to the pan with the onion and garlic.  Take a potato masher and go to town on the warm beans.  We are looking for a pretty smooth texture, though some partial beans are nice.  Continue adding your warm beans in batches and smashing them until you’ve worked through the beans. Season and taste.  Adjust to suit your palate. Stir in the cooked quinoa and taste.  Adjust seasoning again if necessary. Take 1/3 cup portions and place on your wrapper.  Add vegan cheese shreds if you like, fold bottom edge over the filling, turn in the right and left sides to make an envelope and then roll to close. Plate and eat!    

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creativecalligraphy

Quick quinoa dinner + Peachberry Sorbet

After T-Ball tonight I needed to pull together dinner quickly.  I tossed 1 cup of quinoa into a pan with 2 cups of water and some broth powder.  Set that guy, covered, over a medium flame and let it boil for 10 minutes, then shut the heat off and let the steam finish it off to fluffy perfection.  While the quinoa was working I smashed 4 cloves of garlic, cut up about a pound of broccoli florets, trimmed up a pound of snap peas and thinly slice 2 carrots. [caption id="attachment_384" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Quinoa with Saucy Veg"]Quinoa with Saucy Veg[/caption] The veg hit a hot saute pan with 1/2 cup of veg broth.  Covered that guy too and let them steam.  In the downtime I mixed 1/4 cup of Bragg's aminos, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/3 cup mirin, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp chili paste and 2 Tbsp tapioca flour.  After the veggies steamed for 10 minutes I threw in the sauce mixture and stirred until things thickened up. Within 15 minutes of starting I had fluffy quinoa topped with saucy steamed veg on plates and on the table.  Quick, easy and nutritious. Desserts in our home are often fruit based, as I'm sure you've caught on by now.  I do enjoy baking, but dessert creations are usually made up on the spot if the kids are still craving somthing for their bellies or their sweet tooth!  Whole fruits are so easy to freeze in sliced portions that there is really no reason why I can't whip up a refreshing, whole food dessert in about 3 minutes flat. Tonight I made a quick sorbet using some of our favorite flavors. Peachberry Sorbet (Serves 4-6 )
[caption id="attachment_383" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Peachberry Sorbet"]Peachberry Sorbet[/caption] 1 lb frozen sliced peaches 1 cup frozen raspberries 1 banana, fresh 1/2 cup soaked goji berries + their liquid (about 1/4 cup berries, 1/4 cup liquid)* - optional 2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
*We need to start by soaking the goji berries if we're going to use them.  I usually have a batch of goji berries soaking in the fridge.  Goji's come dried like raisins.  I buy raw, sun dried gojis and rehydrate them in double the amount of water to the amount of berries.  I just throw them into a container and cover them with water and set them in the fridge overnight.  They plump up beautifully and can be eaten alone, with your favorite yogurt, tossed into your smoothies or my favorite... in a cup of green tea.  Goji berries are sweet, red gems that have a unique flavor.  They remind me of cranberry and raisins at the same time.  Interesting and unusual, but intensely good for you because of their high levels of antioxidants. Once we've got nice plump goji's we can proceed.  If your goji's aren't ready or you don't have any, you're still good to go without them.  No worries! Put everything in the Vitamix or food processor.  Process on medium speed while using the tamper to continually push down the bits of fruit into the blade.  Keep going until everything is blended.  If you're not using the goji berries and their liquid, you will need to add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of another liquid.  Good choices are water, orange juice or pear nectar.  You may have to stop and stir the mix because we're working with a good amount of fruit here and very little liquid.  When everything is blended and smooth serve it up quickly or spoon it into a freezer safe container and store it for an hour or so before serving.  If you are going to freeze this longer than and hour you will need to let it soften on the counter for 20 minutes before you try to scoop it and serve it.

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