Monday, March 25, 2013

_______ in a ________

If celery with peanut butter and raisins = ants on a log, then dates with peanut butter and chocolate chips must be….turds in a boat?

This is my new addiction go-to dessert. For a pre-workout variation, skip the chocolate chips.

1. Cut the dates in half, pulling out the pit.

2. Spread a dollop of peanut butter (homemade peanut butter or other nut butter is best) on each half date – enough to fill the boat.

3. Place a few chocolate chips on each section, and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad

I usually think of quinoa salad as more of a summer dish, but this is perfect for that oh-my-God-I want-spring-NOW season that people in other parts of the country call “March.” Perhaps it’s because the fresh fruitiness of the grapes is tamed by the deep nuttiness of the walnuts and wild rice. Or not. Whatever. It’s delicious.

(Inspired by Eating Well)

¾ cup wild rice
½ cup quinoa
¼ cup EVOO
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
black pepper (2 cranks of the pepper mill)
seedless red grapes, halved (a whole bunch of them, maybe 3 cups)
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
heaping ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Combine wild rice and 1 ½ cups water in a medium saucepan. Cook until the rice is tender and the water is gone, about 45 minutes.

2. In small saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup of water. Cook until it’s done, about 15 minutes.

3. Whisk oil, vinegar and black pepper together in a small bowl.

4. In a large bowl, combine wild rice, quinoa, grapes, celery, black beans and toasted walnuts. Toss with the dressing. Serve slightly warm.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Raise the Roof Lasagna

It's really not the most photogenic dish. You'll understand once you make it.

This is absolutely delicious because it’s filled with delicious things. It is jam-packed with yumminess. It’s roof-raisingly delectable. In other words, in addition to being totally tasty, it’s also huge. Please, please, please make sure you engage your core before lifting it. I’m not kidding.

Inspired by Rip Esseltyn’s recipe in “Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health.”

1 onion, diced
1 head (yes, head) of garlic, all cloves minced
1 portabella cap, sliced fairly thinly
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
2 10 oz. packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (we cook them in the microwave for about 8 min)
6 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ½ - 2 jars Marinara sauce (We use Newman’s Organic)
9 gluten-free lasagna noodles (obviously, whole grain noodles would be totally acceptable for those who eat gluten)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried rosemary)
1 cup raw cashews, ground

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and continue to cook until the mushrooms ooze.

4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms, onions and garlic to a large bowl.

5. Add the broccoli and carrots to the skillet. Sauté for 5 minutes and then dump them into the bowl with the mushrooms and onions.

6. Add the peppers to the skillet and cook until just tender. Toss them into the big bowl with the other cooked veggies.

7. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.

8. Roll the chickpeas into the bowl with everything else, add the rosemary and oregano and stir until you’ve got one big bowl of well-mixed vegetable deliciousness.

8a. At this point, you will likely look into the bowl and think, “I’ve been chopping and cooking forever and this bowl of veggies looks delicious…why not stop now?” We’ve been there and we’ve pushed on. The final product is worth it!

9. Cover the bottom of your lasagna pan with a generous amount of marinara sauce. Top with a layer of noodles and a little more sauce.

10. Spread the vegetable mixture out on top of the sauced noodles.

11. Top with another layer of noodles and sauce. Top the noodles with the spinach. Top the spinach with the sweet potatoes. Top the sweet potatoes with another layer of noodles. Top the noodles with another generous helping of marinara sauce and cover the whole thing with a layer of sliced Roma tomatoes.

12. Cover the lasagna with foil and heave the beast into the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes.

13. Remove the foil, top with ground cashews and return to the oven for about 15 minutes (don’t let the cashews burn!).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Bites and Balls

These are so incredibly simple and delicious and perfect. I strongly recommend that you stop whatever you’re doing and make them. Right. Now.

(Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen)

1 cup (actually, a little less than 1 cup) cashews
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pitted dates
½ tsp. cinnamon
heaping ½ cup natural peanut butter (and by “heaping” I mean that you over-fill the ½ cup by so much that it might be closer to ¾ cup)
semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

1. Grind the cashews in a food processor.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well-combined and fairly smooth.

3. Scoop spoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Place on a plate and smoosh with a fork to create the internationally-recognized peanut butter cookie hash marks. OR refrigerate in ball-form while you melt a couple ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate.

4. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. They’ll probably keep for up to 5 days, but I wouldn’t know. They haven’t lasted longer than two days in this house.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Broccoli Potato Soup with Roasted Tomatoes

You may notice that the soup in this photo is also topped with sauteed onions. It's yummy, but not essential. If you want to try this variation, sauté (or caramelize) some onions and plop them on top of each serving.  

A few years ago (when I posted the recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Sage Crostini, a recipe that I now know by heart), I wrote that “we’re not really soup people.” Well, that’s changed. I attribute that change to a few things: 1.) Our house is really cold on non-sunny days, 2.) We have an awesome immersion blender and 3.) There are a plethora of fantastic soup recipes in the blogosphere.

Here’s one of our new favorites, adapted from Healthy. Happy. Life.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 large russet potatoes or 4-6 small potatoes (we use the potatoes we get from our CSA), peeled and chopped
4-5 cups of broccoli (mostly florets), chopped
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Toss the tomatoes and garlic together with enough EVOO to coat (not smother). Spread the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring enough water to boil in a Dutch oven (or your preferred soup pot) to cover the potatoes (and eventually the broccoli).

4. Add the potatoes, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Remove the lid, add the broccoli and continue to cook, uncovered, until the potatoes and broccoli are tender.

6. Turn off the heat and dump the contents of the pot into a colander.

7. Toss the potatoes and broccoli back in the Dutch oven along with the almond milk and vegetable broth. Place the pot over very low heat—just enough to warm up the broth and milk.  

8. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and continue blending until smooth.

9. Ladle soup into bowls and top each individual serving with roasted tomatoes.