A Lovely Fall Lentil Salad

DSC_8823

My friends, welcome to fall! This may be my favorite season – that crispness in the air, a slight bite to the wind, but the most dreamy color schemes a lady could ask for all around. It’s also time for a welcome return to roasted veggies and heartier meals. Huzzah!

This particular dish was photographed my Mr. Adam Reitano. He’s wonderful and incredibly talented, and you should definitely check out his website to see some of his other work.

Now, onto the food. There are two things that I love about lentils: 1) they’re tasty; and 2) they’re cheap. I’ll add a number 3: 3) they’re easy to make. If you haven’t spent time with my dear friends the de Puys or the browns, then please, please, go to your local market and meet them. You’ll like them.

This particular lentil salad is really a mish-mosh of whatever veggies you have on hand. The combination of some cooked veggies with some raw gives the dish some nice variety and texture. That said, you have sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes? Awesome! You have parsnips? Cool! You really don’t like radishes? Fine! Well, promise me you’ll at least try them sauteed before you axe them completely – they’re realllllly nice that way. You want to add green beans or broccoli? Do it! A handful of greens would also be sooooo good here. Same goes for spices, folks. Mix it up, be creative. This is a hard thing to totally mess up because there’s really no “right” way to do it.

What you need:

DSC_81812 cups rinsed and drained lentils (I like de Puys, but any type could be good here)

1 small onion, chopped and sauteed

6 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed

2 russet potatoes, diced and roasted

1-2 cups white mushroomes, sliced and sauteed

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and either roasted or left raw (if I roast cauliflower, I eat it all in about 5 minutes, so it’s left raw in this recipe)

I bunch radishes, cleaned, sliced, and sauteed

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 yellow pepper, chopped

Handful cilantro, chopped

2 heaping Tbsp whole grain mustard

Olive oil, enough for lots of sauteeing and roasting and about an 2-3 Tbs for dressing

Champagne vinegar, about 1/8 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

Whew, that’s a lot of ingredients. Stay with me, this is easier than it seems.

What to do:

First, preheateth thine oven. To 375.

Second, begin boiling 5 cups of water on the stove. Once the boiling has occurred, put your rinsed and drained lentils into the pot, keep at a rollingboil for about 30 seconds, then reduce to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes-ish. Keep checking back on these guys. If there seems to be too much water, take the lid off and let some evaporate off. The real thing to avoid here is mushy lentils.

This is how many people like a mushy lentil salad: 0. Ew. So, watch your lentils like little lentil-loving hawks!

DSC_8319

While your lentils cook, dice your potatoes, coat in about 1-2Tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread out on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven when ready and roast for about 15-20 minutes, flip them, and roast another 5-10 minutes.

While these guys are roasting, begin the sautee.DSC_8265

Chop your onion, garlic, and sautee in olive oil (or veggie broth if you’d rather) until tender and golden brown, then add your mushrooms and radishes.DSC_8661

Once everything is tender and luscious looking in your sautee pan, remove from heat. Check your potatoes and your lentils. Once ready, remove both from heat as well. Chop the rest of your raw ingredients.DSC_8783

Mix it all in a bowl!DSC_8790

Add olive oil, vinegar, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and eat! Serves about 4 as a main meal, or 6 as side dishes. Enjoy and happy fall, bloggernet!DSC_8809

Advertisements

Cherry, Cacao, and Basil (and greens!) Smoothie Goodness

IMG_9372Cherry Basil? Yes, Cherries+Basil+Cacao=delicious and I too was surprised that combination worked, but it certainly did. This smoothie is light, refreshing, and kind of complex (in a good way). That said, it’s still dang tasty if you omit the basil and just go with tried and true cherries and chocolate.

What you need:

IMG_9362

about 1 cup of cherries, pitted

2 cups vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk, unsweetened)

2 cups of spinach

1 banana, preferably frozen and chopped

2-3 basil leaves (or no basil leaves if you don’t sway that way)

1 Tbsp chia seeds (totally optional)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder – I use Sunwarrior Vegan protein powder (again, totally optional, but nice)

1 Tbsp cacao nibs (I use Theo)

3-4 ice cubes

IMG_9366Sweet, sweet cherries – I prefer bings, but you could use any cherry. My guess would be that the darker varieties would probably be better, but why not give glorious Rainiers a try in this smoothie? A note on cherry pitting: DO NOT WEAR WHITE CLOTHING, or brand new clothing, or anything that you care deeply about in the event of cherry spatter. No matter how accomplished you are at pitting cherries, it can and will happen. I even watched a video on smooth ways to pit the cherries, and despite my efforts, my friends, it was not smooth.

What to do: Put everything in a blender and blend the heck out of it!

IMG_9374Now drink the lusciousness knowing that you got your fruits, your greens, your chocolate, and some protein. HOORAY!

It Eats Like a Meal: Everyday Green Smoothie

IMG_9310

What do you get when you put all of these ingredients into a blender? Deliciousness, my friends. Pure deliciousness.  The fact that it’s an actual hearty green smoothie makes it even better, because unlike the situation I find myself in with many green smoothies, I don’t find myself ready to chew off my own arm an hour after drinking this one.

I apologize for being MIA for so long! Unfortunately work has been testing my stamina lately and I haven’t had much energy for a whole lot outside of work. I’ve missed my edible creative projects and interacting with you fine folks on the interwebs, so there will be very regular posts for the next few months.IMG_9312Let’s talk about the magic that is avocado. You’re reading a gluten-free and vegan blog, so I’m preaching to choir here, but bestill my heart when I open a perfectly ripe avocado. Does the fact that nature just makes these flabbergast anybody else? I recently visited my first avocado orchard and was speechless. IMG_5410Because why? Because, dudes, nature provides (and so does irrigation technology – California has had a real mess of a growing season).

Anyway, here’s what you need:IMG_93131 frozen banana

2 cups of spinach

1/3 of a cucumber, chopped

1/3 of a zucchini, chopped

1/4-1/2 avocado, depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be and how many you’re serving (I usually do 1/4 if it’s just for me)

1 scoop protein powder (totally option, but I use Sun Warrior Vegan Protein)

2 cups apple juice (more or less depending both on how thick and how sweet you like things)

A couple of ice cubes if you’re banana’s not frozen

Ready, set, BLEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_9320Sure, it looks a little like the slime from “You Can’t Do That on Television!” Ignore that.

Now drink up that sweet, sweet chlorophyll. 🙂 Enjoy, friends!IMG_9318

Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Zucchini Soup. Easy, Filling, and Delicious! (And GF and Vegan!)

IMG_9220

Friends, today I’d like to share a tasty, easy, and hearty soup that’s been a a hit in my house. It’s easily made with whatever veggies you have a round the house and the quinoa makes it a great source of protein. Also, sweet potatoes are magical. Let’s just acknowledge that now.IMG_9223IMG_9229

What you need:

1 large onion, chopped

1-2 large carrots, chopped

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 inch piece of beautiful, gorgeous fresh ginger chopped

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1.5 cups quinoa

3 cups spinach, kale, chard, or whatever green you have on hand, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes (I used a 15 oz can)

8 cups of water or low-sodium veggie broth

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp thyme

A dash of paprika to taste is also luscious in here

salt and pepper to taste.IMG_9222What to do:

Put the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and sweet potato in a large soup pot on medium heat and sautee until soft and slightly brown. Once browned, add cumin and tomatoes. Stir for 1-2 minutes, then add water and bring to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa, cover and let cook for about 30 minutes until the quinoa is ready. Reduce heat and add the zucchini and let the pot simmer for a few minutes. Add greens and your salt and pepper just prior to serving. IMG_9219

This soup keeps very well in the fridge, but just remember that the quinoa will soak up some of the water during storage. I just add a little water right before reheating to keep it good and brothy. Eat up and enjoy! 🙂

Buckwheat Chocolate Gingerbread. Festive, Gluten-free, and Vegan!

P1040410It’s holiday time again, my friends. How that happened, I know not. There’s something about the passage of time that shocks me literally every second. For instance, it’s now 10:21am. WHERE DID THE REST OF THE MORNING GO? I went for a long, long walk, made pancakes, and did some work and *poof*, the time is gone. Sigh.

Anyway, the festive spirit often eludes me because of this whole vortex of time issue. So, gingerbread.  🙂P1040395This gingerbread is spicy, chocolatey, and because of the buckwheat, it’s makes you a veritable tower of jollyness.P1040407What you need:

1.5 cups finely ground buckwheat flur

0.5 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (such as Bob’s or Arrowhead Mills)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp chia seeds (mixed with 6 Tbsp warm H20 to form a gel. You could also use two eggs instead if you’re not going vegan)

1.5 cups almond milk or other non-dairy milk, unsweetened

0.5 cups grade B maple syrup

0.5 cups organic, unsweetened applesauce

3 Tbsp ground ginger

dash of nutmeg and cinnamon

1 85% dark chocolate bar, smashed to bits

2 Tbsp raw cacao, 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (all reserved for sprinkling on top)P1040398You guys all know my thoughts on buckwheat. To briefly reiterate: I love it.

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Whisk together chia gel.P1040399

Add all dry ingredients to a bowl. Add all wet ingredients to a bowl. Combine wet into dry, mix, and add chocolate chunks.P1040400When well combined, pour into a pan of your choosing, just remember, the thicker the layer of batter, the longer it takes to bake. I use a 9×13 pyrex dish lined with parchment and it made some nice-sized little slices. Also, parchment paper is so nice because there’s very little pan washing to do. For those of you who don’t know me, I really, really don’t like washing pots and pans. I don’t mind other dishes, but there’s something about a pot or pan that just puts me off yet I like making the messes. I know, I’m a weirdo.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a fork comes out cleanP1040403Put together your magic cacao, ginger, cinnamon dustP1040405Sprinkle that delicious fairy dust and eat, eat, eat! 🙂P1040417P1040408P1040416

Romesco Sauce, White Beans, Roasted Veggies for the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

vvpLOGO

Hooray for another Virtual Vegan Potluck! It was such a blast participating in potluck last spring that I couldn’t pass up a chance to do it all again. So many incredible vegan recipes out there brought to you by some equally awesome bloggers and I’m proud to be a part of it!IMG_9171

For my entry, I present to you delicious, spicy Romesco sauce. It’s good with roasted veg, pasta, rice, crepes, pretty much most things. It’s also relatively easy to whip up is great at a party, not only for its mad skillz as a dip, but it’s a pretty great dancer too.

IMG_9191What you need for Romesco:

2 slices of gluten-free bread, pan-toasted in a little olive oil

2 large slicing tomatoes, cut in half and roasted

2 red bell peppers, cut in half and roasted

5-6 cloves of garlic, cut in half and roasted

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pecans

1 handful italian parsely, chopped

3 Tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp (or more, in my case more like 1 full tsp) red pepper flakes

Pinch of chili pepper

salt and pepper to tasteIMG_9154IMG_9158Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While heating, slice your tomatoes, peppers, and peel garlic cloves. Lay all on large baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until soft, but not mushy.IMG_9156While roasting, toast thy bread to a lovely golden brown! Just make sure it’s in a non-stick skillet and with about 2 Tbsp olive oil. I used Essential Baking whole seed bread, but any non-glutinous (and non-sweet) bread will work. Focaccia would be primo!IMG_9157Gather the rest of your beautiful ingredients, such as lovely pecans. You could also use almonds or cashews here, but there’s something about the earthiness of pecans that I think really works.IMG_9168Put everything in a high speed blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. If you need more moisture, add 1 tbsp of water as needed, but it should be good, thick sauce. It’ll keep about a week in the fridge if you decide to make it beforehand.

Now, for the veg part! I apologize, because these photos were taken at night, which is always kind of a shame. What can you do? Seasons will be seasons after all.IMG_9152IMG_9160What you need:

1-2 shallots

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 handful white mushrooms, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1/2 cauliflower head, chopped

1-2 potatoes, chopped

2 beets, chopped

1 head romanesco broccoli

2-3 tsp olive oil

3 cups cooked white beans (I used some baby lima lovelies) or 2 cans, drained and rinsed

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.32.08 PMWhat to do:

First, soak your beans for at least 6 hours, then cook until tender. The water in the pot with the beans should be about 3 inches above the beans, and cooking will take about 45 minutes. If using cans, just drain and rinse.

While the oven is still nice and hot, toss your chopped potato, cauli, beets, and romanesco with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly on a large cookie sheet.

Place the shallots, zucchini, and mushrooms in a non-stick skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute until brown and tender, then add kale with a handful of water. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove lid of skillet and cook to desired level of tenderness.IMG_9196Once roasted veggies are done, toss with sauteed goodies then pour on your lovely romesco sauce. If you made it ahead of time just be sure to reheat it before putting it all together.IMG_9185 IMG_9172

Enjoy the rest of the potluck and happy cooking!!!!!

go_bck            go_forward

Easy White Bean Soup. It’s everything bean soup should be: Warm, delicious, and full of beans.

IMG_9146Today I bring you another soup, my interweb friends. Our fall here in Seattle has been insanely good until literally November 1st, when one wicked wind storm blew all the leaves off the trees and brought back our rain. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s kind of nice to be all cozy like in the house, wearing the crap out of some sweaters, and simmering a little something on the stove. In fact I’ve got a big pot of chai base bubbling away right now and it smells epic. That, however, is not the recipe I want to share with you today.

Last night was a rainy, bone-chilling kind of night, and heading to the store sounded like pretty much the worst idea ever.  As such, this here soup was born. I don’t have more photos of prep because I honestly didn’t think it would be so good. IMG_9152Sweet baby lima beans are highly underrated (or lowly underrated). They’ve replaced great northern beans as my favorite white beans. WHAT?! YOU’RE SHOCKED! Just imagine how shocked I was when I realized that I actually spend enough time thinking about white beans to EVEN HAVE a displaced favorite. Yeah.

What you need:

2 cups white beans, soaked for at least 6 hours and cooked. (cans also fit in just dandy here)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 potato, chopped

1 can of whole, peeled tomoatoes (the big can, that is)

4 cloves garlic

1.5 inches of fresh chopped ginger

6 cups of water

3 bay leaves

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 – 1 cup chopped kale per bowl

IMG_9150IMG_9149To make:

If soaking and cooking beans, soak your beans in water, making sure they’re covered by at least 1 inch. Drain and rinse, then place in a pot with enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until tender, making sure not to cook to mush. Ain’t nobody got time for mush.

Place olive oil, onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger in a soup pot and saute until tender and slightly brown. Add potato and saute for another 5 minutes, adding some water to deglaze the pot as necessary.

Once soft, add your can of tomatoes and water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add beans, herbs, and bay leaves. Simmer for about 10 minutes (or longer if needed). The longer it simmers, the more the flavors will integrate. Add salt and pepper to taste.IMG_9153When ready to serve, place chopped kale in the bottom of a bowl and ladle on over some of your hot, beany soup. Enjoy and stay warm!IMG_9143

 

 

 

Pom-Berry-a-Gogo Smoothie (gf, raw, vegan, and crazy tasty!)

IMG_9040Spring has finally sprung here in Seattle, and while smoothie season never really ends at my house, it’s definitely back in it’s fully glory. This is a little bit of a smoothie departure for me because it occurs to me that I tend to get an upset stomach and headaches after I eat more than 1 or 2 bananas per week. Does this make me sound a little kooky? Possibly. Does slowing down on the bananas make my head feel better? Absofruitly.

So anyway, this is a mango based smoothie made with the sweet, tart, magical elixir that is pomegranate juice. I’ve also been adding hemp hearts to everything lately, and between a little almond milk for added creaminess and the hemp hearts, there’s a delicious nutty flavor that pops up.IMG_9038What you need: (Makes two little smoothies or 1 Mandy-sized smoothie)

3/4 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

a few frozen dark sweet cherries

1/2 cup of spinach

1-3 Tbsp hemp hearts depending on how hempy your dream smoothie is

1/2 cup of cold Pom juice (more if you like a thinner smoothie consistency)

about 1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milkIMG_9037Now what?! Don’t worry, just put your goodies in your blender (or magic bullet, which I have linked to because I love this crazy little gadget and it’s an excellent choice when the infamous Vitamix is just a little out of reach price wise).IMG_9039Add the liquids and ready….set……….go! Er, blend!IMG_9042Partake of the sweet, sweet goodness that is your smoothie!IMG_9043IMG_9040

Back in Action With Spicy Slaw and Baked Plantain Chips. Woot! (Gf and Vegan)

IMG_8997Well, my friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I apologize. I’ve been thinking about recipes, but the last couple of weeks have been, um, let’s say dynamic and challenging. That sounds diplomatic, right? Job changes (my new gig starts tomorrow!), forced entry into the constant pain-in-the-ass realm of real estate, and midterms. Whew. So, I won’t lie, I’ve been putting my energy into other things. 

The bug to cook and post came back today though. Hooray! So, I present you with this little dish. It’s light and spicy, but hearty enough to be lunch. It’s also fantastic on tacos and aside from a lot of chopping, it doesn’t take much. IMG_8994What you need:

For the plantains:

well, you need plantains. 🙂 2 medium very, very ripe (and pretty much black)

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil

For the slaw:

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped roughly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 zucchini, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, chopped

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1 mango, chopped

1.5 cups cooked pinto beans (or 1 can)

1/2 cup salsa verde, as spicy as you like

2 Tbsp white whine vinegar

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

salt and pepper to tasteP1030173_2First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the plantains…remember, the thinner you slice them, the crispier they’ll be. I like mine slightly chewy, so they weren’t super thinly sliced. Pour melted coconut oil over slices and spread onto large baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 min, flip plantains, and bake another 10 minutes. They should be golden brown or slightly darker. Soooooo delicious. IMG_8993P1030169To make the slaw, chop the veggies! I’ve started growing cilantro in my apartment, and it’s been so nice just  to walk over and grab what I need. Who knew indoor spices could grow so well? IMG_8996Once all the slaw fixings are chopped, add beans, salsa, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper and toss. Serve with plantains and enjoy! 🙂IMG_8997

Buckwheat Chia Cacao Cookies. Gluten-free, vegan, and taaaaassstyyyy!

P1030124_2It seems like I’m always writing about how I really needed a cookie today, and what’s funny is that I don’t really eat very many cookies. But today, to sound like a broken record, I really needed a cookie. Actually, the craving started yesterday, so these little cookie friends were extra necessary and satisfying.  Buckwheat is the wizard of grains, and I find I  literally never get tired of it. Or of saying the word groat. It’s funny and to sound a little (or actually, maybe a lot) d-baggish, it’s got a great mouthfeel. Anyway, these cookies combine the magic of buckwheat, coconut, cacao nibs, and chia and flax seeds into delicious little nuggets of joy. It’s very, very tricky not to just tilt the plate and pour them all into my mouth, but that wouldn’t be very class of me, now would it? 🙂P1030123_2What you need:

*addendum* I think these are delicious as is, my boyfriend says they taste good, but “healthy.” 🙂 You might add some regular sweetened chocolate or a bit more maple syrup if you’re looking for a more traditional cookie. As you’ve probably noticed, I don’t care for super-sweet sweets. 🙂

1 cup buckwheat flour (grind it from your groats!)

1 cup superfine rice flour (I used brown)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp chia seeds + 1 tbsp flax seeds whisked together with 6 Tbsp water to form a gel

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used a homemade combo of hazelnut, cashew, and almond milk)

1/2 cup of maple syurp

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup cacao nibsP1030120_2P1030121_2First, preheat that oven to 350 degrees, then whisk together your flax and chia gel (it will set up in about 5-10 minutes). In the meantime, sift together all dry ingredients in one bowl, and in another combine all wet ingredients and your gel when ready. Mix those two together and add chia seeds, coconut, and nibs then stir all ingredients together until well mixed.P1030122_2Drop dough onto a shaking sheet lined with parchment (I used a heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie). Bake for 10-15 minutes.P1030127_2When a knife comes out clean, your cookies are done. Feel free to admire your cookies.P1030128_2After admiring them briefly, eat one (or several) and enjoy!P1030124_2