Tuesday, March 5, 2013

More Favorites

Well for whatever reason, I'm on a blogging roll- we'll see how long this lasts! There were a couple recipes that I meant to post links for yesterday but forgot, so here I am today to share them with you!

As you can tell, I'm really into soups. I just love that you can have lots of leftovers after making a big hearty soup, and as I said before, I freaking love leftovers. So, I wanted to share with you another Mama Pea recipe, Lemon Lentil Soup, that I've made a few times now, and intend to make again next week. It is delish! I love that there is very little salt in it, but tons of flavor, and that both munchkie and Dada love it too! It's a great way to get some leafy greens into that munchkie, especially if they're cut up small and hard to avoid once shrunken down in the soup :) I usually make this soup with low-sodium veggie broth- I have yet to try it with carrot juice but will soon! I also make it with spinach instead of the bok choy she has listed. Hope you like it if you try it!


Another recipe worth mentioning, not a soup, but a dip, is Chocolate Covered Katie's cookie dough dip. Oh my heavens. A-mazing! And I've only made the no-sugar version! Yes it has beans in it, but you barely taste them at all. I have added a couple extra dates and a little extra almond butter and that takes away the bean-y flavor. I usually just eat this plain because it is that good, but I have also dipped apples into it and that was very delicious also. Surprise surprise, Claire just eats this with a spoon as well :) I'm trying to limit my chocolate intake these days, so I've thought about modifying this recipe and making it more like an oatmeal raisin cookie dip- sub raisins for the chocolate chips and add a few oats and there you go! Done and done.


So in the ten minutes I have left before my reality tv (aka The Taste!) and ironing starts, I will share my tentative dinner plan for the next few days. We are out of cauliflower soup, so tomorrow I think I'll make the cheezy kale soup that I posted the link for yesterday, and hope that lasts us through Thursday's dinner. Friday could be something very simple like beans, greens, and rice or possibly this asparagus and chickpea casserole (http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/09/asparagus-and-chickpea-casserole.html) from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen if I have the energy, as Brant was requesting to use the asparagus in the fridge soon. I have made that casserole a couple times before and it was pretty good!

What meals do you have planned for the rest of the week? Or are you just a cook-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal/guy?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dinner tonight plus some

Hi all!

I'm back writing again- I am truly amazed by myself right now. It's crazy how much more time I have when I'm not checking facebook every 5 minutes (sad but true) ;)

 Anyway, I know you are all wondering what we are having for dinner tonight, so I thought I'd share with you especially since the recipe is already typed up on the internet for me, how convenient! We are having a favorite of Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live followers- Golden Australian Cauliflower Cream Soup. Again, I will be making a double recipe, so we can hopefully have this for lunches and dinners the next couple days. Before I had munchkie #2, there were few recipes I made more than once unless they were truly outstanding (I will post some favorites by the way). I used to try a new recipe almost every night and unfortunately, we had a lot of bad or mediocre meals! Now, I don't care to experiment as often and just want to eat something yummy and healthy. While this soup may not be my favorite of Dr. Fuhrman's, it is yummy enough, extremely healthy, salt-free for hubby, and a one bowl meal! So without further ado, here is the link to the recipe


If you have any questions about the recipe, please ask! I will add that if you do not have a Vitamix or really good blender, I would probably soak the cashews for a couple hours or overnight so they are easier to blend, or just use cashew butter and stir it in at the end. The recipe calls for 1 cup of cashews, so I would use 1/2 cup cashew butter if you choose to make that substitution.

 Now that I've shared our dinner (which I really need to start soon!), I know you're just dying to know what I had for lunch. After the girls and I took an afternoon nap, I had an extremely late lunch,  which consisted of carrots and broccoli with hummus to dip in, and apples and peanut butter. Claire (aka munchkie #1) wanted her own bowl of hummus to eat- no veggies, just hummus and a spoon. When I moved on to the peanut butter and apples, she ate just the peanut butter. Here was a picture I was able to snap of Claire on the left. Picture #2 on the right is Leah- about time I posted one of her! By the way, a year ago today I found out I was pregnant with little Leah- hard to believe how quickly time has gone...Oh and just a little tidbit about me, I am really good with dates- birthdays and anniversaries especially- tell me your birthday and I will remember it forever! Seriously.

Like I mentioned above, I will now post two of the recipes I've made several times, because they were that good. Keep in mind, we generally eat a pretty low-salt diet, so I can't promise you'll love these recipes as much as we do, but hopefully you do! Enjoy!

   -In this recipe, I sub tahini for the cashew butter and it is goooood!

  - In this recipe, I sub carrot juice for the veggie broth for a salt-free version- also delicious!

These soups go fast in our house...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spicy African Peanut Slow Cooker Soup

Because my dear friend Ag requested it, I am posting the recipe for the slow cooker soup I mentioned yesterday in my post. This is the second time I made this recipe from the cookbook, Peas and Thank You and it was definitely even more delicious this time around! Claire ate quite a bit of the soup, but definitely seemed to enjoy the chickpeas the most! Brant said he liked it and had a second serving- I responded by saying- "Glad you liked it, because it's going to be your lunch tomorrow!"

I made a couple modifications which I will share with you below. Hope you enjoy it, Ag and anyone else who tries it!

Spicy African Peanut Slow Cooker Soup  (Original recipe from Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny, modifications added below)

1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, cubed (approximately 1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 to 3/4 tsp garam masala (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
sweetner to taste (I used a few tsp of maple syrup)
dash of cinnamon
1 14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, in juice*
1 14 oz can light coconut milk**
2 cups vegetable broth***
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 cup red lentils
*I also added chopped and steamed spinach and kale to the soup right before serving.

Garnishes: cilantro, peants, dairy free or regular sour cream or plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a Crockpot and set on high for about a half an hour, and then switch to low for an additional 3-4 hours. (I'm sure every crockpot is a little different, but I had mine on the high setting for 4-5 hours before it was ready, stirring occasionally)

*I actually doubled the recipe, and used 1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes and 1 can of no-salt added diced tomatoes because we generally try to minimize excess salt in our diets
**Again, I doubled the recipe and intended to use 1 can of coconut milk and then 14 oz of almond milk to reduce the overall fat content, but ran out of room in my crock pot. I ended up using just the one can of coconut milk for the double recipe and it worked out fine!
*** I replaced the vegetable broth with carrot juice also to reduce the salt in the soup. I often use my juicer to make carrot juice, but today I just used some bottled carrot juice- I've used both Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms brands of carrot juice. I think the carrot juice adds a nice sweetness to soups and added nutrition.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Random Thoughts

Hi all!

Just as I suspected, a good six months or so have passed since I last blogged! My future as a regular blogger is not bright. For whatever reason, I had the urge to blog today. You'd think the birth of my second beautiful daughter would maybe inspire me, but I guess it didn't! I was pretty busy though and adjusting to a second child, so I'm sure you won't judge :) I think in part, I had the urge to blog because I've been very inspired by my dear friend Ag's dedication to blogging almost every day on her magnificent blog, Wool and Flax. If you're interested in decorating your home, do-it-yourself projects, and funny baby stories, it is the blog to visit! http://www.woolandflaxblog.com/deals/whats-the-dealio/

Anywho, my first thing I wanted to blog about was how wonderful diaper wipes are (out of all things to blog about, how trivial, I know)! I realized today what a hidden treasure diaper wipes are! I used the diaper wipes to clean my entire kitchen today, to clean dried food off our furniture, clean sticky handprints off my laptop, dust my cheaper than aaa side tables (sorry, that's Brant's language with his brother rubbing off on me!), wipe my children's sticky hands, clean food off the floor....and that's just off the top of my  head! Yes I know, I probably was being very wasteful, so I will definitely not use them all the time, but in a pinch, diaper wipes work wonderfully!

Second, sadly, I have not had near as much time to cook or bake as I used to for obvious reasons. Long gone are the days of trying a new recipe 5 days a week and rarely having leftovers, and baking a healthy treat/dessert a few times a week in the evening after the munchkie was in bed. These days, I love and live on leftovers now- I cannot tell you how much I stinkin LOVE leftovers! My oldest munchkie has her witching hour right around the time I need to cook dinner, so nights I have leftovers makes dealing with that time much easier!

 I usually have to double a recipe or possibly triple it to have leftovers for 2, maybe 3 nights if I'm lucky. A regular recipe of split pea soup that would last a week in my parents' house, would maybe last a day and a half in our house. My husband has a bottomless pit of a stomach. Last night, I shook my head in disbelief as I dumped 6 cups of split peas and 14 cups of water into a large stock pot- I could not believe that is the amount of food it takes to make leftovers in our house. It made a lot of soup for sure, but after eating it last night, sending some in Brant's lunch, eating a little for lunch today myself, and eating it tonight for dinner, I would not be surprised if there will not be enough left for dinner tomorrow night. Luckily, I have a crockpot soup planned for tomorrow that should last 2 nights. Courtesy of Mama Pea from her cookbook Peas and Thank You, we will be having african peanut soup tomorrow; this delicious recipe includes red lentils, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, ginger, peanut butter, and tomatoes. I'm going to add some chopped kale or spinach for some added nutrition and color and a one bowl meal. FYI- I also adore one bowl meals! Any meal that you don't need to make a side for gets an A+ in my book :)

Alright folks, that's all for now...the munchkies are wailing. Hopefully talk to you again before another six months have passed!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ice Ice Baby

Well I did a little better this time- only like a month in between posts! Woo-hoo! For some reason, I felt the urge to blog tonight, about nothing particularly exciting, but just about some things I have cooked and stuff I want to cook and pregnancy updates.

Last time I wrote, I said I was drinking a lot of green smoothies and eating a lot of chocolate chip pancakes- not so much anymore on either! Heck, I don't even know what I've been eating these days, except that no one particular food has been on my mind and in my stomach daily. I did go through a phase where I was getting iced green teas without sweetener from Starbucks daily, sometimes twice a day! Around the same time, I went through a banana or pumpkin chocolate chip bread phase. I probably made 3-4 loafs of these breads within a week or two. The only thing I can tell you about my cravings and eating over the past week is that for once in my life, I am preferring savory to sweet. For instance at work the other day, I ate a bag of chips after lunch instead of going for the chocolate chip cookie that was sitting on the table- that never happens! Both were unhealthy choices, but I can't be perfect all the time, right?

In my last post, I also wrote about recipes I wanted to try. The almond flour brownies were not good- I think I took a couple bites of the brownies, left them on the counter for a day or two, and then threw them away. I'm not sure what it was, but they didn't taste good enough to be worth the calories. I have yet to find a homemade brownie recipe that rivals the boxed Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines brownies, but if you think you have one, please share!! I also did try those beet burgers- we thought they were pretty good, but I left out most of the salt so they lacked flavor. If I made them again, I'd definitely add the salt and then I think they'd be much better! I have not tried the mac and cheese recipe, but I will keep it on my list of meals I want to try. I've also had two failed attempts at making a healthier fruit crisp/crumble. I made a peach crumble a couple weeks ago, and the crumble was a little soggy. I made a pear crisp last night that just wasn't quite sweet enough despite the almost cup of brown sugar in the topping! To be fair, the filling called for a full cup of sugar, but I couldn't bear to make a dessert that contained 2 full cups of sugar, so it is my own fault. I'll just have to keep working away to make the perfect, healthy fruit crisp!

As far as recipes I want to try now, I really only have a couple recipes that have popped out at me recently, but will probably not make either! Here they are anyway though...

1) Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole- so I totally want to try this, but probably never will because Brant wouldn't eat it :( It's not vegan, but I've been a little lax in my vegan ways during my pregnancy.

2) Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls- these look amazing, but I'm totally intimidated by cinnamon rolls and really any recipe that you have to roll out dough and then shape it! Maybe one of these days I'll take on the challenge!

Pregnancy wise, I am 32 weeks and feeling pretty well overall. I'm tired every day, but honestly, I feel like I've been tired since college, so it's really nothing new. I was having a horrible time sleeping due to restless legs, but that finally seems to be getting better after increasing my iron intake (apparently anemia can cause restless leg syndrome!) Here is a recent pic from about a week ago.

 Munchkie update: she just recovered from a week of fevers and tonsillitis and is now back to her normal self. Thank goodness! I appreciate having her healthy sooooo much more after spending time with her sick- it's exhausting and stressful!

Ho hum, well I guess that's about it! OH! I should explain the title of this post though. I've been chewing on ice like crazy the past week or two! My mom says that's another sign of anemia- interesting huh? I've never chewed or crunched on ice in my entire life, but now I cannot get enough of it! We'll see how long this lasts...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Long Time, No Write, So Sorry!

Well, again, it's been an embarrassingly long time since I posted on this blog. Clearly, I'm not wired to be a full-time blogger anytime in the near future. So much has happened in the last 6 months that has partly kept me from blogging that I have not shared with you all.  For starters, I found out in early March that I was pregnant again with another baby girl- yay! Just like with Claire, the first trimester I had horrible morning sickness so my eating and cooking were all over the map (aka I ate way unhealthier than usual and was too embarrassed to post about it!)

Second, I have a milder case of ulcerative colitis and started to flare again about 8 weeks into my pregnancy. I'm always hopeful that I can get the flare under control with some extreme diet, but it always ends up being too hard. It's one thing to give up sweets and fast foods, and an entirely different thing to give up healthy items like grains, nuts, beans, and raw vegetables because it might be easier on the bowels. So anyway, a couple months ago, I decided to try the specific carbohydrate diet which is the complete opposite of my plant-based, mostly vegetarian ways! You start off the SCD diet eating chicken soup, homemade yogurt, eggs, beef patties (I didn't eat any beef), and that's pretty much it! Then you slowly add back in cooked veggies and fruits. You do not eat any grains, period! Like I said, I was only able to last a couple weeks on this diet before it became too difficult. And now I have this yogurt maker that I may never use again- whoops. I'm happy to say that after finally seeing my GI doctor again and adjusting/doubling my medications, I'm very close to being symptom-free! Thank goodness! I finally feel like I can eat how I normally would without worrying about how each and every food will affect my poop. I've got about 15 weeks left in my pregnancy (I'm due November 13th!), so I'm hoping everything will stay the way it is now.

Unfortunately, I do not have any recipes to share, but I can tell you some foods and meals that we've been enjoying and also some recipes I want to make. I've been making a lot of green smoothies for myself and Claire- it's the easiest and most delicious way to get Claire to eat her greens. I usually blend a couple handfuls of baby spinach, a banana, walnuts or other nut butter, a little almond milk, maybe a medjool date or two, and some ice all together, and we both love it! Sometimes I'll add in berries or mangoes, but the above is my basic green smoothie recipe. Today, I added in some cocoa powder and it tasted like a chocolate milkshake- you really can't taste the spinach at all! I also made some amazing chocolate chip cookies today with almond flour and replaced the oil in the recipe with a mixture of peanut butter and applesauce and they were amazing! Here is the link to the recipe I used: http://www.elanaspantry.com/dairy-free-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/. Let's see... I've also been making A LOT of chocolate chip pancakes... I know, I know, not the healthiest meal ever, but I did try to health-ify my recipe a little since I eat so many of them!

Ok, and recipes I want to try...

1) Almond flour brownies- these look amazing, but I'd probably substitute flax eggs for the real eggs in the recipe and also replace the oil with either applesauce or a combo of applesauce and nut butter like I did with the cookies I made today.

2)  Beet burger- I love trying different veggie burgers and I've had a beet burger at a vegan restaurant in Portland that was amazing! We'll see if this recipe is just as good....

3) Vegan Mac n' Cheeze- I've tried multiple vegan macaroni and cheese recipes, and while they've been good, I haven't found a recipe that I've absolutely adored. I recently found this recipe that doesn't look super healthy, but I want to try it anyway to see if it'll fill my mac n' cheese craving that I've been having lately.

Well folks again, I apologize for my nearly 4-month blog silence, and I hope I can post a little more frequently than that from now on, but I'm certainly not going to make any promises! ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Meals

Hi all!

I've been a bad girl and have gone WAY too long without writing. I apologize! Over the past couple weeks, I have actually created several new recipes, but I think I'd only make one or two of them again- one of which was a creamy pasta vegetable bake that Claire loved! I'll try to post that recipe soon.

I recently discovered a new blog called Straight Up Food and I've been totally inspired to simplify my meals. I've always known I don't need to make a big fancy main course every night, but I've just gotten in the habit of it and forgotten that simpler is usually healthier and quicker. My new plan is for most of our dinners to be a salad, steamed vegetables, and either a grain or starchy vegetable. And of course, I would add beans, nut sauces, and/or avocado for the protein and fat factors. Generally, Brant and I avoid using salt and oil in our cooking, and I have found that these simple meals are more enjoyable than for instance, a pad thai dish without salt and oil.

Here is what I made for dinner tonight:

The picture is a little blurry, but you get the point! So, I made a green salad with romaine lettuce, baby bok choy, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, tomato, red pepper, avocado, and fresh basil and cilantro, seasoned with no-salt seasoning from Costco and garlic powder, and dressed with a couple tbsp of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. This salad was light, fresh, and very flavorful with the fresh herbs and lemon juice- I didn't miss the salt or oil at all! I also steamed asparagus and zucchini and tossed it with a cashew cream sauce that was made from cashews, almond milk, onion powder, and no-salt seasoning all blended together (I used about 1 1/4 cups cashews, 1 cup almond milk, and onion powder and seasoning to taste). I put the asparagus and zucchini on top of some steamed and mashed red potatoes that were also mixed with a little cashew cream sauce and garlic powder. This portion of the meal was also delicious, filling, and seemingly sinful :)

 I don't think Claire was very hungry as she had a late lunch, but she did eat some of the zucchini, asparagus, potatoes, and a few chopped veggies from my salad. She also ate some banana. Nut-cream sauces are a great way to make steamed veggies more filling and tasty for little ones. The other night, Claire ate some of the peas I gave her in a pecan cream sauce, and then literally was scooping the sauce from the bowl with her hands into her mouth and tipping the bowl like a cup to drink the sauce. She LOVES nut-cream sauces!

Anyway, you'll be seeing more of these types of meals in the future, but I'll also try to post some of the more creative meals I make as well. Have a great week!