Tangy Shrooms & Greens

Buying fresh spinach is a big commitment for me. I take into consideration the expiration date, and make sure I have smoothies, wraps/sandwiches, salads, and/or dishes like these planned. Organic spinach is expensive, and while I want to get a good value on an economy bag of organic greens, I just hate to waste any food (yet alone costly organic produce)!

Actually, raw spinach and kale freezes well, in my experience. I leave it in the original bag and if I want small pieces of the green, I wait until the leaves are frozen, then squeeze the bag all over.

I’ve made other’s recipes similar to this dish that called for balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Today I decided to improvise without lemon juice, and give apple cider vinegar a try…and it was delicious!

Recipe:
Preheat nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add raw sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their juices. Then add apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, chipotle Tabasco, minced garlic, and spinach or kale. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Yum!

Catboy doesn’t like mushrooms and didn’t try it, but Hunny Bunny asked for seconds. They cook down and reduce in size, so don’t be afraid to throw plenty of shrooms and greens into the pan.

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Easy Mediterranean Garlic Marinara

I love Farmer’s Market! In my area I can get tomatoes, zucchini, and basil there (which I did, and used for this recipe). I’ve also seen garlic, bell peppers, and probably parsley, so you (or me, but probably you) could do some tweaking and use 100% locally grown super fresh Farmer’s Market finds.

Continue reading

Don’t Be Cruel Mini Muffins

Vegan, sugar-free, oil-free, dairy-free, egg-free!

Banana and peanut butter were Elvis’s favorite toasted sandwich fillings for a reason–they just go together! The recipe is without any animal products for a cruelty-free breakfast experience. These muffins are filled with whole foods instead of sugar or oil…but do NOT taste like it. The ripe bananas provide just the right amount of sweetness for breakfast (rather than tasting like a sugary dessert). They are made with whole grains and don’t have the gummy texture most oil-free baked goods take on, thanks to the peanut butter! Continue reading

Chick’n-y Green Beans and Carrots

I made this dish for my family, and it went over well with myself and my kids. So I made it for my omnivorous, Standard American Diet extended family, and they loved it! Even my 1-year-old nephew gobbled it up.

First I took the ends off of about 10 oz fresh green beans (local farmer’s market!) and broke into bite size pieces. Then I sliced about 6 oz organic carrots (I buy them from Walmart for less than $1 a pound and slice them into coins or sticks for dipping). I throw that into a frying pan over high heat with about and inch of water and mixed in about a tablespoon Better than Bouillon, imitation chicken style. Once the water boils down, I remove from heat and sprinkle on garlic powder and Chipotle Chili Power (more like hot Ground Red Pepper than Chili Powder; the right kind is important!). The Chipotle Chili Powder gives a very spicy, smoky flavor and is pretty hot, so go easy on it.

Veggie Chili

This tasted a little more like a soup than a chili, so call it Black Bean Veggie soup if you want :-D. I didn’t measure the spices, so just taste as you go (without burning yourself!). It makes 6 generous servings.

Spices:
Smoked paprika
Chipotle sea salt
Ground cumin
Cilantro

Ingredients:
400 grams (measured dry) black beans
1 15-oz can corn
4 mini sweet peppers, sliced/chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
255 grams chopped onions (frozen)
1 cup TVP
3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable bullion (better than broth–beef would have been best but I only have veggie)
2 tablespoons coconut oil

For serving:
Caulirice
Daiya pepper jack shreds
Salsa

Instructions:
Soak, drain, and rinse beans. Cook, then drain the liquid and reserve for another use.

While beans are cooking, cut stems off tomatoes, chop (if your blender or food processor requires it), and puree. Simmer over medium heat with bullion and a little water.

Meanwhile, preheat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic. Continue stirring often until they start to brown. Add spices, carrots, and peppers. Stir and cook a few minutes, then add corn (drained). Once oil is absorbed and veggie are browning, add to tomatoes. Add beans to tomato puree when they are cooked and drained. Once everything but TVP is in one pot, the chili should be more watery than desired. Rehydrate TVP with only .5 cups hot water (season with the spices) or broth, then add to chili and simmer longer.

To make caulirice, place cauliflower pieces in a food processor and process until each piece is about the size of rice, or use a shredder.

Serve with pepper jack and salsa mixed in. Pour the hot chili over raw caulirice and let the heat cook the rice slightly and the dish to cool just a bit. Yum! I made this for all 4 kids, me, and one more adult. I was the only one that added salsa, and the kids did dairy cheese instead of Daiya. Everyone said it was good, and the little ones requested seconds.

I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I did eat it for lunch the next day. Chili/soup generally tends to freeze well, so this is a great recipe to make ahead of time in a huge batch.

Chocolate Sweet Potato dip

I’ve always thought sweet potatoes were a little too sweet for a savory lunch or dinner dish, but I don’t hear about many sweet potato-based desserts. So I decided to experiment and lean on this potato’s natural sweetness–and I came up with chocolate (of course) dip! Good as a snack or dessert, or might as well eat it for breakfast!

Rinse sweet potatoes (you can roast more than one at a time, then keep in the fridge for a few days), pierce a few times, and wrap in foil (otherwise it’ll start leaking syrupy goodness onto the bottom of your oven!). Place in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes (maybe a little longer if you don’t preheat first), until very soft. Eat the skin (it’ll be syrupy from the potato), then mash with about a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder per medium sized potato (I like Hershey’s Special Dark).

Sometimes I add a pinch of salt or some pure vanilla extract. I bet you could add chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder for more of a dessert experience–it really doesn’t need added sweetner, though. Alternatively, just do coconut oil with the cocoa powder (I haven’t tried this yet), for a smoother, richer texture. I have enjoyed dipping raw carrots, raw zucchini, apple slices (granny smith is good). I’d like to try pretzels, bread, chips (I might need to add milk to the dip to thin it out).

Cinnamon Banana FroYo (no machine needed)

I did use a single serve blender, but you could easily just mash the banana. Combine plain (not fat free or greek) yogurt*, ripe banana (brown and yellow on the outside and soft), and cinnamon. I made popsicles and poured the rest into ice cube trays. Then about 5 hours before serving, I placed ice cubes in a bowl (I didn’t cover) and placed in the fridge, then just mashed with a spoon before eating.

*This was conventional dairy yogurt because I get it for free on WIC. I don’t like bananas, yogurt, or the idea of eating animal products, so I didn’t even taste this. But all 4 kids loved it!

I am happy to get measurements next time I make this–I believe it was 1:1 banana:yogurt, plus about 2 teaspoons of cinnamon per cup.

Linguini Marinara with Cauliflower

To prep ahead of time, you can chop cauliflower into small pieces and cook noodles (I used whole wheat linguine). On the day you’ll be serving it, heat a small amount of oil in a pan on high heat. Put in the cauliflower, stir, and saute until cauliflower is starting to brown, adding a generous amount of Mrs. Dash Chicken (according the the container, it includes no sugar or chicken) about halfway through. Add enough marinara sauce for both the cauliflower and noodles, stir, and turn down the heat. Add the noodles and stir until everything is heated.

The little ones all kept telling me how good it was! This dish required no prompting to eat. I probably should have removed their white shirts, though. Catboy put sriracha in his, with yummy results. The leftovers went in the fridge for a different day and was good the second time!

Let me know if you make this–I’d love to see how others like it!

Garlic Butter Artichokes and Brussels Sprouts

I’m new to brussels sprouts. I have vague memories of my mom serving mushy green balls as a side dish with dinner, unfairly getting a yucky reputation. Since they are so healthy, packed with vitamin K, C, B6, folate, etc., I wanted to give them another try. Their composition reminded me of artichoke hearts, so I decided to try them together.

I melted 1/4 cup margarine (vegan butter-style Earth Balance) in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Then I added about a tablespoon or so of minced garlic and let it simmer while I cut the sprouts in half. I used a whole package from Aldi–I think 12 oz. I drained 2 cans of quartered, canned artichoke hearts and added the sprouts and artichokes to the pan at the same time.

I turned up the heat and cooked until they were browned. I added some chipotle red pepper to mine. I thought it was excellent, but we all agreed the sprouts could be softer (next time I’ll probably cook them for a bit first, then add artichokes). I bet it would be good (and higher in calories) with some nutritional yeast or Parmesan-style topping. Catboy is not a fan of artichokes, and did not care for this dish. Hunny Bunny ate it, but wasn’t crazy about it.

How do you like your brussels sprouts? Have you always liked them, or did your tastes/priorities change after childhood, like mine?