Plant Based Goodness

We set our clocks back last night which is a good reminder that fall is definitely here. We’ve had a warm September and October, and November is starting out cool and damp-typical for the midwest. Although I’m not a fan of it getting darker earlier now, it’s a part of the life process we must traverse. I think the warmer temps helped some of the leaves stay on the trees here, there are still a lot of red, yellows and oranges dotting the landscape. Sometimes most of the leaves have blown off by early October; I’ll enjoy the color as long as I can.

Fall weather means warm comfort dishes like soups and stews. I made my veggie stew last night for dinner and my homemade recipe did not disappoint. We’ve got great leftovers for the week and some in the freezer for later! I’ve got a lot of great recipes for the fall and winter, but sometimes I like to just make stuff up (like my stew recipe)

Tonight I made the Spinach Potato Tacos from the Forks Over Knives app-with a twist. I added some bell peppers to the mix and it was heavenly. I served it with a quick Tex Mex rice and it was a perfect dinner! The rice consisted of Whole Foods frozen brown rice, some frozen roasted corn, frozen black beans (I freeze beans on a regular basis for times like this), diced red and orange bell pepper and diced zucchini. After I warmed it in the microwave, I added some Trader Joe’s roasted salsa to it and it was DELISH! Quite an easy dish to put together!

Here are some pictures of my creations!

Stew!

Veggies sautéing without oil! I love the colors!

Tortilla Bowls!

Spinach/Potato/Pepper Tacos served in a corn tortilla bowl, and easy Tex Mex Rice

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Giant Burrito Cake-It’s what’s for Dinner!

I am on Facebook a LOT, more than I’m on WordPress! I connect with friends and family, I learn new things about all sorts of stuff and I find a LOT of recipes. I don’t always have time to make all of them, but this recipe looked intriguing. It was one of those time lapsed videos which I find fascinating to watch. This one was from BOSH, and it actually goes kind of fast, but I found the actual recipe too! Here’s the link to the video /recipe that I found on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/vegangifrecipes/comments/6txyfh/giant_burrito_crunch_cake/

I will warn you that it is a lot of work (lots of chopping and prep cooking), and I did make some modifications to remove the oil and ‘fake’ cheese. I decided to use fat free tortillas, but they are kind of thick, so it was somewhat difficult to slice the cake once it was baked. Next time I might try the Engine 2 brown rice tortillas. In place of the ‘fake cheese slices’, I made a ‘cheese’ out of Kite Hill cheese and some nutritional yeast; it was a nice replacement. I added some roasted corn to the rice/bean mixture which was also delicious! I obviously did not use oil to sauté anything, but did line my cast iron skillet with a little oil. It was probably not needed, but I didn’t want a sticky mess on my hands when it came to serving it. It’s a little hard to flip a cast iron skillet that is packed with food, so I recommend using a lighter baking dish. It’s garnished with salsa, guacamole, and I added some plant based sour cream (thanks to Kite Hill Greek Style yogurt) to my plate.

This will probably not be quite as crunchy as leftovers, so I recommend making this for company, or a family dinner.

I highly recommend making this yummy plant based dish, you will not be disappointed!

Making a Recipe Your Own

I love following recipes when I want to try new dishes; but I also love adding my own tweaks to them if I feel it’s warranted.  Quite often when I make a recipe for the first time I follow it to a ‘T’, then I make adjustments in future renditions.  Tonight was different; I let my creative side come out!  I made a recipe from the Forks Over Knives App-Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and basil. In stead of cherry tomatoes I used a combination of mini San Marzano and small heirloom tomatoes.  I put a little fresh salted minced garlic on top of each tomato half.  Once the pasta and tomatoes were cooked, I added sundried tomatoes, capers, and some chopped spinach.  Then I added the required chickpeas and basil.  I LOVED the additions!  To be honest, I would not put chickpeas in the next rendition…maybe cannellini beans instead.  The little garlic roasted tomatoes were so very yummy.  My husband gave it a two thumbs up and definitely wants it put on the make again list.

So do be afraid to try different things when you make a new recipe. I find pasta is very forgiving and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you add.

Bon Appetite!

Refreshing Summer Salad-Happy Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. It’s a rather uneventful day now that my dad has passed away, but I still like to celebrate my husband’s fatherhood and remember the great memories I have of my father.  We were lucky to enjoy dinner with my husband’s oldest son and wife last night at a quaint Italian restaurant near us.  It was a great time with wonderful conversation and food.  I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day. 

In lieu of the rich food we had the previous night, I decided to make a tasty salad for dinner.  I made the Avocado and Chickpea salad from the Forks Over Knives App.  It’s super easy to make and this time I embellished it with tomatoes…what a difference that made.  This is a very versatile dish that could be placed on a bed of greens, or in an oil free tortilla.  I chose the salad option, and served some homemade lime and sea salt tortilla chips on the side.

I’m excited for the beginning of summer…so many good things are happening!

One of my favorite photos-my dad and me on my first birthday!

Stuffing Peppers with Plant Strong Goodness

A few weeks ago my hubby mentioned that stuffed peppers would be a good dish to have this winter. I made a mental note to buy some green peppers. As I’ve been trying to get better at staying on a budget for groceries, I’ve started using Peapod grocery delivery service again. It’s much easier for me to control my grocery spending when I see the total add up as I put things in my virtual shopping cart. I had forgotten I put green peppers in my cart and was pleasantly surprised when I unpacked 4 nice looking green peppers today. My short term memory isn’t always that good when I’ve got a lot going on!

I resurrected a stuffed pepper recipe that I made years ago with ground beef; but I don’t remember where I got it. I know it took me a while to find a recipe I liked, and I remember I liked this one. So I set out to make a whole food, plant strong version. I first made a simple tomato sauce with canned tomatoes, fresh shredded garlic, Italian seasoning and ground fennel. I blended it with my immersion blender, added some tomato powder to thicken then cooked it for about 20 minutes. I added some more tomato powder and it was done. A very easy way to make sauce!

While my brown rice was cooking, I made some of Happy Herbivore’s No Beef Broth and heated up about a cup of Engine 2 Ancient grain blend (found at Whole Foods). I blended the cooked rice, grain blend and some of the ‘broth’ to give it some good ‘meaty’ flavor. The stuffed pepper recipe has some good spices that are mixed with the rice and then I added a touch of the tomato sauce for more flavor. The peppers get blanched in hot water for a few minutes to help soften them for cooking. I had fun spooning the rice mixture into the peppers and topping with sauce. The final topping was a mixture of nutritional yeast (nooch) mixed with bread crumbs. I spooned some sauce around the peppers and baked for about 30 minutes. They turned out beautifully! I served a nice green salad and some crusty bread with it. The best part was that my husband loved them and said the meal reminded him of his childhood…stuffed peppers were a very comforting dish for him.
Here’s the recipe and some photos:

Stuffed peppers with Rice and Mixed Grains
Cook Time: 40 minutes… Recipe for stuffed peppers serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:
4 large green bell peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1 cup Engine 2 Ancient Grains Blend (heated in microwave for 3-5 minutes)
salt* optional
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
dash Vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soft bread crumbs mixed with nutritional yeast
Tomato sauce
Happy Herbivore’s No Beef Broth

DIRECTIONS

1. Wash peppers; remove stem ends, seeds, and white membranes.
2. Cook bell peppers in 1 cup of boiling lightly salted water for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain.
3. Mix rice and grain blend and about 1/3 of the no beef broth. Add paprika, celery seeds, curry powder and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Add a little of the tomato sauce (1/3 cup maybe) to the rice mixture and mix gently until well blended.
5. Fill peppers with meat mixture and top each with tomato sauce then some of the bread crumb/nooch mixture.
6. Bake stuffed peppers at 350° for 30 minutes.

Stuffed with rice/grain blend:

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Ready for the oven:

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Plated:

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Dig in!

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