Tag Archives: vegan

Quinoa White Bean Chili

I’ve actually been sitting on this recipe for a while now.

That’s really quite selfish of me. I’m sorry. Because, honestly, this recipe is really very good.

But, hey, I’m sharing it now, right?

So you can’t really be mad at me.

(If I had a new and awkward picture of myself, this is exactly where I would say, “Plus, you can’t be mad at a face like this!” Alas, I have no such picture… so really, I’m not sure why I bothered with this tangent. Annnnnyway….)

My friend Lauren and I made this dish over a month ago. We got it from Clean Eating Magazine. You can find the original recipe here, but we changed it pretty drastically — and, to be honest, we did so because the original was pretty bland.

Quinoa White Bean Chili

makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans white beans
  • 1 16-0z can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 cups fresh chopped spinach
  • grated parmesan to taste (or, if you’re Vegan, don’t)

Directions:

In a large pot, combine quinoa and water and cooke over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add bell peppers, beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin and oregano to pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

When chili has thickened and the quinoa has a white halo-like appearance, stir in spinach and cook for one more minute, until the spinach has just wilted.

Serve topped with fresh grated parmesan.

And no,  you totally do not have to serve it in a glass jar…


But isn’t it pretty like that?

 

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Lazy Girl’s Lentil Chili

Boy, do I have an easy dish for you today!

I call this the “lazy girl’s” lentil chili because it’s made entirely of ingredients that are already basically prepared for you.

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All you really have to do is dump everything into a pot together. And, I mean, does it get much easier than that?

No. The answer is no. Not unless you’re making a frozen meal, but this can be passed off as homemade, you can control the sodium levels, and it’s preservative-free! Hooray!

This dish is a good, very healthy meal to have at the ready for busy girls (Not just lazy girls! Maybe I should change the name…) who don’t have time to prepare lunches every day before work. All you have to do is throw this dish in some tupperware and you have individual, microwave-ready meals.

Lazy Girl’s Lentil Chili

makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package TJ’s prepared lentils
  • 1 package frozen rustica carrots
  • 1 package frozen yellow & green wax beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (16 oz)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (despite the picture, I actually used Annie’s organic BBQ sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
  • low-fat shredded cheddar (or other) cheese (optional)

Directions:

I wasn’t kidding. This couldn’t be easier.

Literally:

Dump all of the ingredients into a pot. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Top with a dollop of sour cream/ greek yogurt and  low-fat shredded cheddar cheese if you like. You should. Unless you’re vegan… since this meal is otherwise vegan!

I know, right? You’re welcome.

Don’t tell me eating healthy is hard!

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Vegan Food Crawl

A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Lauren sent me a link to something called a Vegan Food Crawl, asking me if I wanted to go with her.

Yummy, probably healthy, vegetarian (vegan, even!) food, all along a long walk, alongside one of my best friends? Sign me up!

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When we showed up, we were each given a bag with the Urban Food Crawl label on it.

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I thought this was a cute touch, though it definitely made me think we’d be getting more nibbles-to-go than we did (since we didn’t get anything to-go unless we didn’t finish what we got at each location).

We got a menu in these bags, however, which let us know what we had to look forward to.

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As the menu suggested, our first stop was Malo.

20120130-094203.jpgThere, we got Vegan Chipotle Soyrizo Tortas (and burritos, actually) with avocado, lettuce and tomato.

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Once splitting was all said and done, this is what my plate of tastes looked like:

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This location, being the first, was also the first where I got a real sense of what this food crawl would be like. We were all kind of sitting around at a table and rather than being treated like this was a professional food crawl. We were instead kind of like a big, distant family, especially given that we got plates to split with each other. We also waited about 20  minutes for our order to come, as it seems they didn’t put the order in until we got there.

Once we ate and the hosts paid, we moved on to the next location, which was across the street: Garage Pizza.

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This place offered the same kind of deal, where we all sat at tables there and waited for our food, which we split up.

At Garage Pizza, we got the Vegan Calzone, which had Daiya cheese, mushrooms, vegan sausage and red onion. It’s actually supposed to come with bell peppers instead of mushrooms, but one of the hosts had a personal preference that led her to change the official order.

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My piece:

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At this point, only two stops in, I was already kind of full!

We took a break part-way through to stop at a spice station. It was a cool location, but definitely added to the very slow pace of the food crawl.

Next up: Berlin Currywurst

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This was, by far, my favorite location. Not only was the food good (and plentiful), but this was the only stop that really seemed to “get” what we were there for. The staff of the restaurant told us about their food and why they brought it to Los Angeles from Germany, and also told us about how they came to offer vegan options.

One of these options involved these amazing french fries, which we dipped in curry ketchup.

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So good.

The other was a surprise favorite of mine: vegan kielbasa (tasted real and I had no problem with that, even though I’m not a meat fan!). There were a variety of flavors, but to me, the clear winner was one that had both orange and curry flavors. It was to die for. It also came with German bread, which was a really nice touch.

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The next stop was Naya, an India restaurant.

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This place was kind of weird, since they definitely did not seem to get that we were on a food tour. They crowded us around low tables at a bar and asked for individual orders, which was odd.

Their food, however, was good! Two Samosas each — one spinach & tofu and one pea & potato.

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The pea and potato Samosa was one of my favorite things we tasted all day.

Sadly, this is where the tour stopped for Lauren and me. While this mostly can be chalked up to a personal call I got that basically forced me to leave, I can also say that I wasn’t all that sorry to go. As much as I loved the food tour, I was a) completely full at this point and no longer wanted any more food and b) sort of over it. This was three hours in, we’d been to four stops, people were ordering drinks, and I just didn’t want to spend a fourth hour of my Sunday on a food crawl with strangers.

I think this food crawl could be awesome and I know it’s through a new company, so I’m hoping they’ll keep improving the tour. I seriously encourage any of you fellow LA-ites to check it out, but I’d also encourage them to change things. For instance: they should cut down the amount of food at each stop, the amount of time spent at each stop and the amount of time total. If the tour was something more expected by each location (say, “we’ll be here at 2:15PM, so please be ready with these dishes”), the food was already paid for, and there was a little more information about the food at each stop, it might feel more like an actual food crawl.

That being said, go check their website out if you’re in LA!

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Lentil Dip

First recipe of the new year! And it’s healthy! Hooray!

Honestly, I’m not sure how to approach blogging about this recipe.

I’d like to call it a happy accident, but that’s not entirely true. I made it up in my head and hoped for the best. At first, the best did not happen. The way I had planned on making this did not at all come through.

I think the way I’d actually approach describing the way this dip came about is that it happened through a bunch of mis-steps and a bunch of attempted solutions.

No matter what, though, it certainly had a happy ending. It was really quite nice. Thank goodness.

So, this is where I started:

FYI: I never used the corn. I half forgot and half gave up on it. But actually, I think it was for the best. I don’t think corn would have worked.

Oh, and I’m just going to tell you right now: I straight up eyeballed this recipe. I made it in the cabin and only found out once there that we didn’t have any measuring utensils. I think it worked out just fine, though. I’ve been cooking for a while. However, I not only eyeballed it, but halved the recipe I made up because we only had five people. So… well, I guess we’re just going to have to trust me, here, huh?

Anyway.

Here’s how it went down.

First, my plan was to serve everything raw. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea. I think I was tired.

Basically, I threw all of the ingredients (again, eyeballed) into the cabin’s blender to see what happened.

I had really high hopes.

Too high. Wanna know what happened? This happened:

Yea. Not so blended. As in, not blended at all.

I also tried tasting it and hated it. All I could taste was raw onion. Since, you know, the onion was raw. Duh.

My friend Michelle suggested that cooking the blend would not only cut that whole raw onion taste thing (she’s much smarter than I am), but would also soften the whole mix and allow me to try to blend it better.

So, I baked it, and then I used a hand mixer to blend it.

And then, because I’d given up on the dip at this point as a lost cause, I made Will taste it.

When he gave a positive review, I chanced a taste. Thankfully, I agreed! It was good! What a happy surprise.

So, I served it with these:

And I was happy. And so was everyone else! We made a pretty serious dent.

I thought it was a great dip for a party but I also think it’d actually be pretty yummy on a sandwich — kind of like hummus, but a little thicker.

Alright. Now for the recipe (Finally, right? I’m such a talker.)!

Lentil Dip

serves about 10 people as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 package cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s (or about 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils)
  • ~1 cup finely diced carrots
  • ~1 cup finely diced onions
  • ~1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups Red Pepper Spread (with Eggplant & Garlic) from Trader Joe’s (or another red pepper spread)

Directions:

(I’m giving you the directions as they should be, not how I had to do it.)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

If you have a food processor, throw all of the ingredients together into the food processor and process until blended but still a little chunky. If you have a blender instead, use that and don’t worry — it really probably won’t get too blended.

Put the processed mix into a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Use a spoon to mix everything together, serve in a bowl, and put some chips around the dish.

It’ll be a healthy party hit!

I have to check that spread, but I think it might even be vegan.

Have you ever had a happy accident (or whatever this was) like this in the kitchen?

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Happy Thanksgiving! Praline Spice Cookies (Vegan)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Today, I am thankful for so much. My life is rich and full. I have an amazing family, a huge circle of incredible friends all around the world, a base of readers that I see coming back day after day (I really love you guys), a job I love, and so much more. I am a lucky girl.

I know I was supposed to share these with you yesterday (sorry about that), but it’s better late than never, right?

Plus, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously.

And now you can be thankful for that. 🙂

(And maybe just ignore how awful the pictures are since they were taken in my garage at night. I did my very best without a lightbox!)

Oh, and this is actually an adaptation of my own recipe — for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Praline Spice Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (liquified, at room temp or higher) (use unrefined — trust me on this)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)
  • 1 cup pecan pralines (I get the amazing ones from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, liquified coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips and pecan pralines, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips and nuts into the dough.

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded. You can even round them with you hands,if you want, as they will keep their shape.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

And then you’ll get these babies.

Yup.

These are also the closest to cookie dough balls that I’ve ever made by accident. They are hard on the outside while being crumbly, doughy and chewy all at once on the inside.

Plus, the pecan pralines add an incredible sweet/ salty aspect to them!

So, back to Thanksgiving — aside from this awesome recipe (I kid, I kid)…

… What are YOU thankful for today?

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend, I was going to a party with a bunch of people I hadn’t met before and I therefore wanted to bring cookies. I mean, what better way to make people like you, right?

But I was still vegan at this point and I really wanted to stick with it. Enter: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

It was an experiment with which I got extremely lucky.

I have since made three batches, changing up the recipe each time. The first batch was definitely the best (in my opinion), but they were all good. So, I’m going to write out the recipe for the best version (trust me, they are SO GOOD) and then I’ll tell you what I changed for the other two batches, should you think they sound more your style.

Here’s a sort-of peek at what it looks like when I create a recipe.

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I first write out what I think I’ll do and then, once I get in the kitchen, I change everything. I do it every single time. There isn’t much of a method to my madness, but it usually works. Thankfully.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, almond extract and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips into the dough.  Dough will be crumbly!

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(The best part of vegan dough is that there’s no salmonella to worry about and you can have as much dough as you want! The worst part of vegan dough is the same thing. Tummyaches are the worst.)

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (I think 12 is much better — it gives you this lovely browned quality below).

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Sadly, that is the only picture I have of the first and best batch of cookies. Happily, the 3rd batch looks really similar, so that works.

The second batch looked like this:

AKA super flat. Very chewy. Some people like that, so here’s what I did for that:

  • I cut the oil to 3/4 cup
  • I upped the almond milk to 1/2 cup
  • I tried coconut extract instead of almond extract.

People still liked these, so I’m not going to knock them. However, they were my personal least favorite of the three. They did result in one accident picture that I kind of liked, though:

How very “fall” of them.

The third batch had these changes:

  • I cut the oil to 3/4 cup
  • I upped the almond milk to 1/2 cup
  • I added a half a cup of flour (actually, I may have added more — I can’t remember — but I’d say add until it’s crumbly)
  • I used coconut extract instead of both vanilla extract and almond extract. (I really think the almond extract and vanilla extract together is best, though.)

Those are the cookies you mostly see in pictures here.

The main recipe, in my opinion, gives you a pretty perfect cookie — chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

The second batch (the flat cookies) are super chewy and the third batch are thicker and almost cakey. They’re a little bit healthier, I suppose (what I was going for) but in the end, I say go with the better cookies and just don’t have seven of them.

You know, if you can help yourself.

One last thing!

My friend Ryan, who you may remember from his epic guest post,  is doing Movember again (I invited you to help out a year ago, too!).

I would like to invite you to donate to his cause, his mustache, and his awesomeness. It’s for a great cause and a great person!

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Two Weeks Vegan, Done

I finished my two weeks of being vegan!

Overall, I felt really good about eating as a vegan. My body felt good and I enjoyed the challenge. When my two weeks were up on Monday morning, I felt kind of sad that the challenge was over. I also lost ten pounds during those two weeks, so that’s nothing to sneeze at.

However, I missed eggs and cheese (really, mostly eggs) so much that I was glad to know I could have them again. I’ve already had both. No regrets.

That being said, I’ve actually continued to eat mostly vegan since my two weeks were up. My coffees have continued to be made with soy milk, coconut creamer, and even almond milk (as with the delicious almond milk latte with one pump of almond syrup below).

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My first non-vegan day actually started with a vegan breakfast…

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That’s Kashi Go Lean! Crunch with blueberries, blackberries and almond milk.

(By the way, is it  berry season? Those berries were the bomb dot com.)

Lunch was also vegan. It was the new Bistro Salad from Trader Joe’s.

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Have you guys tried this salad yet? It’s fantastic. It has edamame, cranberries, almonds and kale in a lemon dressing. It’s amazing. And it takes forever to eat, which is a bonus for a fast eater like myself.

Dinner was 100% not vegan, but it was still vegetarian! (More on that at the end of this post).

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That night, I was really happy to be done with the vegan experiment because I was back at that same restaurant/ bar I’d been to last week, at which I was unable to get anything except chips and salsa. That was probably my only frustrating vegan moment.

Anyway, that single-serving pizza was a margherita pizza and it melted in my mouth. My reunion with cheese was magical.

Magical, I tell you.

My reunion with eggs was less magical but still good.

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The hot part, anyway. That spinach & feta breakfast wrap from Starbucks is usually one I love, but sadly, it was kind of cold in the middle! That’s never happened to me before, so it was definitely a fluke. But, you know, cold egg whites aren’t the yummiest.

It’s okay. I’ll have a better and more magical reunion with eggs tonight at home. I’ve been thinking about this meal for two weeks and two days now, so I might have kind of a moment when I eat it.

Lunch yesterday was the same as the lunch from the day before. That salad is too good.

Dinner last night was made with my favorite cooking buddy, Lauren. We made a quinoa chili that we adapted from a recipe she found in Clean Eating Magazine.

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It was reallllllllllly good, so I’ll be doing a post with that recipe soon! Get psyched.

Anyway, I want to address how I’ll be eating from now on.

I think it would be really unrealistic of me to say that I could continue to be vegan. While I really enjoyed the challenge and certainly could have gone on with it longer, I also spent the two weeks looking forward to eating eggs and dairy (well, cheese, and at least any whey or milk ingredients in things like Kashi crackers or other healthy processed foods) again. For me, being vegan was a challenge I loved in part because I knew it had an end date.

There are a lot of habits that I’d like to keep up from being a vegan. The only things I snacked on during those two weeks were fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, veggies and hummus. Seriously, that’s it. I loved how that made me feel and I plan on keeping this habit.

I also enjoyed not eating meat. I feel really good about being a real vegetarian for a while. Or, actually, a pescetarian. I haven’t yet had fish, but I know that I will want it to be an option for me.

I don’t want to make any promises for how long I will keep  up being a pescetarian. I haven’t really had any craving for for meat or poultry yet, but I also know that if that craving ever comes, I want to be open to having it again. I’ve had so many issues with so many different foods in the past that I don’t want to make a hard and fast rule for myself that says I can never have something again. If I start feeling that, for any reason, I need to re-introduce meat into my diet, I will.

That being said, I plan on being meat-free (meaning no chicken, beef or pork) for a while. I don’t know how long it will last (two months? forever? who knows.), but I feel really good about how it fits into my lifestyle right now.

Have you ever been a pescetarian or vegetarian before? Are you now? How did you come to the decision?

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