FALL SMOOTHIE: 4 Ingredients, No Added Sugar

I was going to say it has 5 ingredients, but have we started to consider ice an ingredient? Does it count? I don’t know. In any case, you need some ice for this so adjust the math as you see fit.

This is another “throw everything in the blender and hit the ‘on’ button” recipes, but I’m still going to take credit for it because IT WAS DELICIOUS and tasted like a DELICIOUS CREAMY FROZEN DESSERT but it EASY and NOT UNHEALTHY AT ALL! Win win win win!

Vegan Fall Smoothie

FOUR INGREDIENT FALL SMOOTHIE

  • 1 banana
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)… forgot to measure this, oopsies!
  • PUMPKIN PIE SPICE* to taste
  • one large glass of ice (to make a thick smoothie or less if you want it thinner)
*PUMPKIN PIE SPICE. Let’s dicuss: If you didn’t already know, you can buy prepared “pumpkin pie spice” which is already blended up nicely for you and contains all the goodies like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. But you can put it on aallllll kiiiinnnnndddss of fall foods and instantly they became DELICIOUS like you are a magical chef/baker/cook. Then you have better self esteem that lasts all day! Look at you!
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Sick Times call for Instant Soup (That’s not Full of Crap)

I’ve come down with whatever annoying cold 30% of everyone I know has had or currently has. THANKS, GUYS.

That said, I’ve not been cooking as much as I’ve been flopping on various pieces of soft furniture and devouring guilty-pleasure books and library movies I’m too embarrassed to mention. But a lady needs to eat, even if it’s just a cup of soup at 4pm!

Thankfully I had some instant soups left over from Ryan’s MANLY CAMPING/KAYAKING TRIP TO MAINE!!! a few months ago. (He still has a scar from when he “rescued his grandfather from the rapids”. Yes. Ask him to show you.) That was interesting because we had to pack non-perishable vegan food, enough for one week.

Vegan Corn Chowder

This is where this food post is a cop-out: I found these soups in the organic soup section of Wegmans. I simply followed the directions (add water! heat on the stove!), added some cannellini beans for protein and felt like I had done something really fancy when I added some parsley. Woooow.

ANYWAY. I’m posting because if you aren’t already sick but find yourself to be in the future, get a few packs of this soup (the company, Taste Adventure,  has a few other vegan soups as well) so you don’t have to debate running out to the store which would mean you’d have to put on real clothes. 

Taste Adventures brand Corn Chowder

It’s worth mentioning that the corn chowder is only full of whole foods – not a single chemical-sounding thing in it! It also has a thick, creamy texture which makes up the bulk of the soup thanks to dried pea flour.

Nothing glamorous, but hearty and warming on a sick, gray October day.

Sick Days are for Indulging (Sort of)

Take the usual my-body-knows-I’m-not-pregnant-and-is-doing-it’s-weird-housecleaning-shit, that horrible pain that makes one start to wonder if its just easier to live without certain organs. Pair it with the soreness in my legs and butt from some hard working out at boot camp (workout bootcamp, not like Army bootcamp), which makes sitting or standing a remarkable chore, just thinking about getting in or out of the car starts building anxiety.

That’s a fancy way of saying I feel like complaining about how much pain I’m in. There, all done.

Here’s a list of a few things I’m enjoying when I’m not too focused on wishing the demise of my pain receptors:

 This afternoon – and who am I kidding? this evening as well – I’m going to take a nice hot bath with this wonderful lavender essential oil. Lavender is one of those scents that smells a little like a health food store and herbal tea at once, but lately it makes me think of one thing: baths. (Sometimes biscotti.) After dishing out money on lavender bath fizzies, I realized I could get a bottle of oil and add some drops to the tub and it would last much longer. (Plus sometimes I go crazy and put some drops in candles, on my clothes, on my chest when I’m falling asleep.) I got a really great oil from a LOCAL business, Scentsible by Nature, one bottle for only $7.00. Do you know how many homemade bath fizzies I could make with that!?

 Let’s stay on a roll with chocolate. Now, I advocate healthy eating as often as possible, but let me tell you, in times like these I only want four food groups: chocolate, peanut butter, chips, and hot sauce. (Not necessarily all at once.) Know what’s better than a good chocolate bar? When the package design on that chocolate bar is just as wonderful as the treat itself. a certain bar from Theo’s Chocolates takes care of that. NOT ONLY does it have fig, fennel and almond (weird and yummy, my favorite!) but the package features TWO CATS IN LOVE HOLDING A GIANT FIG.

 BOOKS. How do I even find a place to start? While I ponder making a separate “books” tab on this blog, I can tell you what I’m reading now (this week?). One is a collection of short stories from Alfred Hitchcock magazine. Another is  a book on creative art journaling, another new cookbook, but also this: Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison. An easy fun personal account of one young woman in her twenties who moves away from her boyfriend and family for a few months to attend a retreat in Bali where her head becomes full of smart-ass commentary on the whole experience and “yoga people”, while at the same time offering many opportunities for personal growth.

….Also, couch napping, Pierogi cat and sympathy from my boyfriend. Would you call that a fair trade? Hey! I’m a Lifetime Movie!

Anyhow, if you like chocolate and/or desserts, you can check out the Just Desserts event in Bethlehem tomorrow, Friday Oct. 21st! Go HERE for more info. I’ll be supplying the dessert at Loose Threads Boutique!

CHICKPEA (No Chicken) NOODLE SOUP: from Food Network Magazine

I think it’s beneficial for any home cook to take in recipe ideas from various sources, even if it doesn’t specifically fit your dietary needs. That’s why we get so crafty with substitutions! Or in this case, omissions.

The November issue of Food Network magazine (with an unfortunate cover photo of a big cooked turkey) had an issue for a simple soup that was already healthy and easily made vegan by leaving out the chicken. I was sitting on the couch reading the magazine one minute, and less than 30 minutes later I was eating this soup. Really simple, really fast.

Food Network Magazine Chickpea Noodle Soup

CHICKPEA NOODLE SOUP veganized from Food Network magazine Nov. 2011 issue

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 ounces dry spaghetti noodles, broken into 2-3 inch long pieces
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, or 2 cups cooked from dried
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Vegan chickpea noodle soup

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add dried spaghetti pieces and stir, toasting them for about two minutes. Add carrot, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, half the cilantro and cook about one minute. Add the veggie broth, chickpeas and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is soft enough to eat. Garnish with cilantro!

Vegan chickpea noodle soup with cilantro garnish

RECIPE: Greek Spinach Balls (harhar) with Mint Dill Yogurt Sauce (Dairy Free)

This is a recipe that came straight out of a cookbook, but it was easy and tasty and I wanted to share! This is from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, a great cookbook for lots of inspiration. (While not exclusively vegan, this cookbook is mostly-vegetarian, very vegan friendly and most recipes can be adapted, as this was.)

Greek Spinach Balls with Minted Dill Yogurt Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or juice of one large lemon should do it)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (you can make your own if needed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *sesame seeds to coat, about one cup (my own slight variation)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, steam the spinach a few minutes until just wilted (only a few minutes). Drain and roughly chop the spinach. In a small saucepan, add the oil and saute the scallions for about 5 minutes, until just starting to brown.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except sesame seeds. Use spray oil and coat a large baking sheet. But the sesame seeds in a bowl. Use your hands to make small snowball-sized balls with the mixture, then roll the spinach balls in the sesame seeds to coat. Arrange on the baking sheet without touching. This will make approx. 10 spinach balls. Bake for about 30 minutes.
MINTED DILL YOGURT DRESSING:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used plain Silk soy yogurt – one small container will do)
  • 2 tsp minced scallions (or red onion)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 tsp minced fresh mint (or 1 Tbsp dried mint)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt to taste (I didn’t use any)
Mix everything. Done!

NEW VIDEO: Indian Spiced Stew

Dried lentils, potatoes, onions… some of the most affordable ingredients you can buy, right? You’ll be happy to know the base of this stew relies on these cheapies, a few other veggies you’re so inclined, and some spices. That’s all you need to make a tasty and healthy meal to warm you up!

Watch the video:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cooked rice or grain of choice
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 brown potatoes, chopped and cubed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt and a few shakes of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • OPTIONAL VEGGIES: 1/2 green bell pepper, 1/2 red pepper, 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds
  • cilantro for garnish
Start cooking your rice/grains so they will be ready when the stew is done.
In a large soup pot add the lentils, potatoes, diced tomatoes and onion. Add water, cumin and garam masala. Mix everything together, then put in a stove at high heat until simmering. Then cover and reduce to low to continue to simmer for 35 minutes.
If adding fresh veggies, put them into the soup pot when you have only five minutes of cook time left so they can maintain some freshness.
In a small skillet, add the sliced almonds and turn up the heat to high. Let the almonds start to toast – they will get brown and fragrant. Toss them to toast evenly. DO NOT let them burn.
Time to plate! Put your rice or grains on the bottom of your dish, ladle stew on top, garnish with toasted almonds and cilantro.

Thank you once again to Matt and Sarah of Lehigh Valley Mirror for the great video!