Tag Archives: quinoa

Pesto White Bean Bowl

I’ve only recently acquired Jae Steele’s two cookbooks, Get It Ripe and Ripe From Around Here. Really, I shouldn’t even call them cookbooks; they’re more like holistic vegan lifestyle books, replete with nutritional information, tips for digestion and detoxification, the ins and outs of the organic and local food movements, and even recipes for make-at-home natural cleaning products! Sometimes it bothers me when the first half of a cookbook is wasted on something other than recipes, but with Jae’s books, I don’t mind. Everything she has to say is genuinely interesting, and I’m better off having read it.

I’m a pretty big fan of bowl-type meals (Anyone remember the Love Bowl?!), consisting of grains, veggies, protein, and a tasty sauce; so I was immediately drawn to the Pesto White Bean Bowl in her first book, Get It Ripe.

Fresh baby bok choy is laid atop a bed of fluffy quinoa, then topped with white beans (I used a mixture of navy and cannellini beans) combined with delicious pesto. Finally, the whole bowl is drizzled with olive oil.  I used Jae’s Cilantro Pesto from the same book; but really, you could use whatever pesto’s sitting in your fridge. For the olive oil, I used some fancy Basil Olive Oil I just bought from Outrageous Olive Oils, here in Scottsdale, AZ. Since I made cilantro pesto, I had to find a way to get some basil in there somehow!

As I knew it would be, this bowl was a slam dunk. My dad and I both loved it. Fresh, simple, and wholesome food at its finest. Given that the one other recipe I’ve made from Get It RipePerfect Peanut Sauce – was, in fact, perfect, I’d say Jae Steele is two for two. I’ll be getting more ripe very soon. :)

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Blame Apple

Um, yeah, blame Apple that you’re about to see way more photos than you’ve ever wanted to see.

This picture sums up our vacation. EVERYONE in my family on their computer except for me. :( Good thing I had my trusty camera to occupy me.

Since the hard drive on my brand new MacBook Pro peaced out a couple weeks ago, I obviously haven’t been able to blog, and consequently, I have an insane buildup of photos. A rational person might just forget those photos, and start blogging from the current moment, but my holiday photos are so much fun, I can’t bear not to share them!So here it goes. Expect way more photos than text. :)

When my semester ended (well, my semester personally just ended this morning at 3 am when I emailed my English prof my Austen seminar paper that I had to take an incomplete on, but I’m talking about Pomona’s semester), my sister, mom, dad, and I headed off to Philly to visit my dad’s family for a belated Hanukkah.

Our first night there was the giant blizzard (second biggest in Philly history?)

I think we got 23 inches. My uncle even went out to measure it!

Some Hanukkah action:

My wittle cousins, Nir and Tal.

Gorgeous (and incredibly classy) sister!

My mom made Dreena Burton’s Chocolate Banana Pudding Cake because it was my grandma’s birthday too!

My cousin Matt and my dad played some pattycake…

Tal and my uncle Adam made a snow (wo)man complete with a nice rack:

And then, Tal and I took a wee nap.

My aunt Donna made some delicious vegan chipotle chili. It was so spicy, it took me like an hour to eat and my eyes were watering the whole time. ;)

Oh, and this is my dad. Embarrassing.

Fortunately, my family is very supportive of my veganism. Take the following photo as an example. There was a tomato mozzarella salad at our big Hanukkah party, and someone was kind enough to provide me with this alternative:

I’m sorry, I was very touched that they thought of me, but really? Is this a dish that’s really worth veganizing? That was maybe the funniest thing ever.

To be fair, that wasn’t the only vegan option. My grandma ordered a feast from Whole Foods, which included General Tso’s vegan chicken and tons of roasted vegetables.

My mom kept cozy in her socks.

After we were all Hanukkah-ed out, we headed to Long Island, NY to visit my mom’s family for Christmas (yes, my family’s a bit of a cultural hodgepodge).

But first, we stopped in NYC for the day to see a musical–In the Heights–and do some fine (vegan) dining. My mom had made lunch reservations at Candle 79 weeks ago at my request. :)

We shared two appetizers. Polenta Fries

And the Guacamole Timbale: Chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber-jicama salsa, tortilla chips, ranchero sauce.

I made my dad get the Seitan Piccata because I’d heard so much praise for it, and it seemed like something he’d love (no, I don’t always order for my dad…)

Creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce.

My mom got the Live Celeriac Ravioli: Spinach-cashew ricotta, pine nut pesto, sundried tomato sauce, citrus marinated broccoli raab, olives & capers, which was super annoying because I had originally wanted to get lunch at One Lucky Duck, a raw restaurant, but my mom had said that she didn’t want raw food in the winter. Then, she orders this–the one raw entrée–at Candle 79. What gives, mom?!

Liv got the Burrito 79: Chili-herb grilled seitan, caramelized onions, sautéed greens, chipotle black beans, brown rice, cheddar cheese, guacamole, sour cream.

My entrée was obviously the best though. ;) The Wild Mushroom Stuffed Tempeh.

Wild mushrooms, sautéed spinach, brussels sprouts, sweet potato sauce, apple-pomegranate salad. They had me at sweet potato sauce.

Finally, we shared a dessert–Chocolate-Peanut Butter BlissChocolate mousse, peanut butter mousse, chocolate shell, berry coulis.

It was good, but 12 dollars for a dessert the size of a pill canister? Really?

While in the city, my dad and uncles and I also visited High Line Park, a mile-and-a-half long elevated park on the West side that’s built on former freight train tracks. It was pretty deserted given that not many people are crazy enough to take a stroll on an elevated, exposed platform on a blustery NY winter day, but I’m glad that we did.

And no holiday trip to NYC is complete without a stop at the Rockefeller Tree!

After a great day, we left the big city (calling it the big apple would be overkill in this post, wouldn’t it?), and headed to Long Island for a quiet(ish) Christmas.

Our first night in Huntington, we were greeted with hugs and heaping plates of pesto pasta made by our uncle Mickey! Walnut pesto, broccoli, and peas on TJ’s brown rice spaghetti. Heavenly!

It was sad not to be with Rupert for Christmas, but luckily, my two aunts had their dogs there to soften the blow. Tucker:

And Chickie:

Despite some minor–but expected–family altercations, Christmas went smoothly.

Can you see me? ;)

We had our traditional Christmas Eve Chinese take-out, but, not so traditionally, my aunt, uncle, and I got ours from a different place: the all-vegan Green Melody! I’m always a little skeptical of the veganness of food at non-vegan ethnic places, even when assured of it, so getting our own separate feast was a huge relief.

My favorite thing was the Rainbow Bowl! Roasted root vegetables in a beautifully carved and steamed kabocha squash! :)

I left PB cookies and soy milk out for Santa, like a good vegan.

And even roasted some chestnuts–though in a closed oven, and not over an open fire…

I got some great gifts this year. Tons of kitchen things–a spoon rest, a spiralizer, a cutting board (my sister got me a personalized one with a picture of us on it!), vintage salt & pepper shakers–and some new cookbooks–The Candle Café Cookbook, Raw Food Real World, and Sweet Freedom (by our own Ricki Heller!). Plus, the cutest Anthropologie dress in the world. Thanks, mommmmm.

My grandma got a Celtics Snuggie to match her pillow. Don’t let her sweet looks fool you–this woman is an avid and competitive sports fan. :)

And a trickster. Every year, she gives my mom the same gift as a gag. A 30+ year old box of petit fours. It’s disgusting and very Miss Havisham-ish, but hilarious.

Chickie got bored watching everyone else opening their gifts…

And then I had wayyy too much fun with my camera, shutter speed, and Christmas lights…

I call this one, “Donnie Darko’s Christmas Tree.”

And then we time warped to next year’s Christmas. ;)

Last, but not least, our decadent Christmas Dinner!

I made Swell Vegan’s Vegan Haggis, and it was a huge hit. Seriously, I knew it would be good, but I had no idea that my family would finish off this baby as fast as they did. :)

Since it was akin to a nut loaf (it also had oats, mushrooms, and root veggies), my mom started calling it a hagloaf. Hahahahaha.

I whipped up some extra-peppery PPK Mushroom Gravy to go with it (though I think a sweet, fruity sauce–like the one A-K made in her post–would be even better).

My sister made some sweet potatoes from Vegan Comfort Food, my mom made some green beans with almonds, and I made Ricki’s Quinoa, Roasted Beet, and Walnut Salad as well (seems random, but with the beets and cilantro, it’s Christmas colors, y’all!)

Mine turned out a lot redder than Ricki’s, but everyone thought it was beautiful and it got gobbled up. My uncle Adam even requested the recipe so he could make it for his New Years party a few days later.

Whew. I’m done. I hope this is the longest post I ever have, and regularly scheduled blogging shall recommence shortly. Book review coming up, too! :)

Thanks for all your kind words on my last post, and for your patience as I got my life back on track! I’m so glad to be back.

Gluten-Free Sunrise

Two gluten-free sunrises, actually! I’m sure most of you are familiar with Nature’s Path. Not only are they an exclusively organic company, but, as far as I’m concerned, they have yet to make a bad cereal – well, I’ve only tried the vegan ones, but I’d guess that 90% of their cereals are vegan anyways, the main non-vegan offender being the occasional inclusion of honey. I lurrrve their Peanut Butter Granola and my family adores their Flax Plus, especially my dad. He has a bowl of Flax Plus with raisins and bananas every single morning of his life unless I happen to be whipping up some pancakes or muffins, in which case he can usually be prevailed on to leave the Flax Plus in the pantry. He even uses 1/2 soy milk in it! Someday I’ll get him to 100% soy milk – funny story: when I was little, my dad had read that soy is especially beneficial for young girls in early stages of development, so he started diluting my cow’s milk with soy milk, gradually upping the concentration until my little five-year-old self eventually caught on and called him out on it!

Anyways, Nature’s Path makes an insane amount of gluten-free cereals. I tried my first one – Mesa Sunrise – this summer when, with my stomach problems, I was afraid I might have a gluten-sensitivity. It turned out not to be a gluten-allergy (I still don’t know what it was!), but the “scare” got me more interested in gluten-free, or at least wheat-free, alternatives because I, like most of you, eat a lot of wheat, and too much of anything isn’t a good thing. A large percentage of wheat is genetically-modified too. Finally, even if wheat isn’t unhealthy per se, it’s not as nutrient-packed as other grains like quinoa.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when, at work at the Weil Lifestyle office this summer, one of my coworkers announced a shipment of Nature’s Path cereal samples had arrived. The chance to sample unreleased cereal from one of my favorite health food companies in the world? And gluten-free cereal? And one of them is MAPLE flavored? Um, hello!

I present to you Crunchy Maple Sunrise and Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, Nature’s Path’s two new gluten-free options. Maple Sunrise:

As you can see, it has a great texture. Although I enjoyed the Mesa Sunrise I tried over the summer, the flakes were a little monotonous. These new cereals have flakes and various sizes of puffs. Yummy, and keeps you on your toes!

Here’s the Vanilla Sunrise, served with Trader Joe’s new Whole Grain Milk (which is also really good – have any of you guys tried it?):

I really liked both cereals, but as I’m a bit of a maple fanatic, it was obviously my favorite of the two. And yes, they are sweeter than something like Flax Plus, but sometimes that’s okay! I’d say they’re on the sweeter side of healthy. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

According to this article, they should be on sale next week (September 13th!), so go get ’em!

More Simple Food, "Crummy" Muffins, and Magic Cookies

Today’s post is almost exactly the same as yesterdays: simple (yet delicious) flavors for me, and some decadence for my lucky family. :)

I had the same mango-banana-papaya-coconut smoothie as yesterday (also with flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice), but I took a picture today so you can see its lovely shade (and my adorable baby bowl that I recently purchased from Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe).

A great smoothie strategy I’ve discovered lately is using extracts to pack flavor without extra calories. For example, in the above smoothie, I used a 1/4 tsp of coconut extract, which imparted a rich, yet calorieless coconut flavor to my smoothie (instead of coconut milk, which, though healthy, is pretty fatty, and in a smoothie with so many other flavors, I can do without i). I’ve also used almond extract – my favorite smoothie with it being cherry-almond. Obviously, vanilla goes with everything (especially PB smoothies!). I can’t wait to experiment with maple/coffee extract when I eventually get my hands on them.

My family requested muffins for brekkie, so I made the Apple Crumb Muffins from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! I’m actually not a HUGE fan of crumb toppings on muffins–they just annoy me when they get everywhere), so I didn’t mind making these when I couldn’t have them. Plus, I love the act of baking in itself so much, who cares?!

This recipe is loaded with a delicious apple-maple-cinnamon-“buttery”-flavor, or so I heard, haha. I made 10 muffs instead of 12 to get the tops, but, as you’re about to see, that didn’t work out too well…The tops just broke right off (I think the crumb topping weighed them down too much, so they couldn’t really achieve their full potential and sturdiness). Behold the saddest muffin of the batch:

OMG, I know. You don’t even need to say anything. But, they weren’t all like that, I swear. See?

For lunch I had the exact same chickpea-brown rice-kale bowl as yesterday, but for dinner I switched things up a little and had red quinoa with cumin, lime, cinnamon, raisins, and hemp seeds with green beans, peas, and leftover white sweet potatoes. I decided to go sauceless because I think that cuke-yogurt sauce goes better with the rice and chickpeas.

Extra cinnamon on top!

My mom requested cookies after dinner (they request a lot, don’t they?), so I whipped up Magic Cookies from the same cookbook as the muffins (You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!). Now, these. THESE, I was jealous of not being able to eat. As in, the monster of jealousy inside me was greener than the peas in my detox bowl.

These are everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of cookies, loaded with carrots, pecans (and walnuts because I ran out), oats, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes. You’re supposed to make them really large (the recipe says 9 cookies per batch, and it’s NOT an unusually small amount of batter), but even making them as big as the book says, I got almost double the amount of cookies out of this recipe–and had to almost double the baking time, weird. Can’t complain, I guess. Their size allows them to have a crispy exterior while being delightfully chewy in the middle (or so I imagine, again…). My fam raved about these and said I could become FAMOUS for them!

I think that when I’m finally able to make these for myself, I’ll use: carob chips, oats, pecans, carrots, sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, and PEANUT BUTTER. Doesn’t that sound like an even lovelier combo. Get better, tummy, please!

The Love Bowl Is a Little Old Place Where…

…We can eat together!

For dinner two nights ago, I constructed the Love Bowl from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! I say constructed because there were so many flippin’ elements to this dish! It was layer upon layer upon layer…of delicious whole food goodness that was totally and completely worth it.

Baked tofu, black beans, and garlic sauteed kale, served over a fluffy bed of yellow and red quinoa, drenched in a gingery peanut sauce, and topped with chopped scallions and toasted black sesame seeds. Does life get any better?

The recipe called for brown rice, but I was feeling quinoa that day. You can also opt to use marinated tempeh or mushroom gravy in place of the baked tofu or peanut sauce, but I’m glad I went the way I did. This love bowl was so easy, healthy, and fun to eat–I, well, loved it. Another thing I like about this kind of dish is that it’s super versatile. You could make it any time without a recipe at all. Just choose your grain, vegetable, legume, prepped tofu/tempeh (or even sweet potatoes or squash!), and your special sauce, and your good to go. makes convenient leftovers too. Here’s a post from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs that I found that speaks to this concept, along with some great recipes!

Also, I don’t know if any of you remember this post, but, post-birthday, I own a lot of those things thanks to my generous parentals! E.g. the peanut butter stirrer, which I used to make the peanut sauce for the love bowl.

It’s a great tool! Just screw it on, and you’re good to crank. And, as if it could get any better, When you’re done and you pull the metal crank out of the lid, a little suction cup where the hole is sucks off all the PB so you don’t have to clean the crank!

And here’s a cool new ingredient (for me, at least) that I used in the sauce: pickled ginger with shiso leaves. ¡Qué Exótico!

I’m gonna give you guys the recipe for this sauce because I think I changed it enough (by lessening the PB and adding soy yogurt) that I can justify it. Here’s a slightly less fattening, less overly salty version (not that you need to worry about that with a dish this healthy…):

Gingery Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt (I used Silk)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tamari
1 (2.1-ounce) package Eden Pickled Ginger with Shiso, with liquid, leaves removed

Combine all ingredients in food processor, and drench your bowl of love with said mixture until fully saturated. :)

Makes about 3 cups.

Finally, a bonus pic of one of a simple, but favorite, dish at Pita Jungle (our family’s collective favorite restaurant in Tempe): the Macro Platter: Mixed beans, brown rice, fresh steamed vegetables, (spicy) tofu and a whole-wheat pita.

Never gets old.

Nut Butters, Moroccan Tagine, and Oat Bars!

Hello joyful vegans! (and curious omnivores, vegetarians, flexitarians, etc.)

I got an exciting delivery a few days ago! Three Naturally Nutty Nut Butters! I’ve been super excited to try these ever since Shelby at La Belle Vegan has raved about their Vanilla Almond Butter, so I finally ordered their 3 jar sampler pack:

Gosh, I’m so glad I did! First of all, I really appreciate that each flavor contains flax and hemp seeds–it’s a great way to sneak in some healthy omega-3 fats and extra fiber into whatever nut buttery meal or snack you have! I thought the Cinnamon Cherry would be my favorite, but the cinnamon and cherry flavors aren’t quite as pronounced as I would have liked! Still it’s delicious, and I like how it only has 6g of sugar/serving. It reminds me of a less sweet version of PB & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, though if I have to be honest, not quite as delicious. The Mocha Peanut Butter is good, but similarly not sweet at all, and the coffee flavor is VERY strong–it’s almost like fine coffee grinds mixed into peanut butter–so it’s not the best on its own, but I think it’d be delicious stirred into something, or spread on toast, waffles, muffins, or bagels. And yeah, the Vanilla Almond Butter is the star. Just the right amount of sweetness and kinda tastes like cake batter!

Overall, I really like these nut butters, but they’re just not quite as addictive as PB & Co’s Mighty Maple, Dark Chocolate Dreams, and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. However, the fact that they have a lot less sugar is worth it if you’re in the mood for something slightly less decadent.

A couple days ago, I made the Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables from Vegan with a Vengeance. What attracted me to this dish–and the reason I loved it–was that it contained so many flipping vegetables! (Isa does say in the intro that it’s a “veritable powerhouse of nutrition”) Seriously, onions, carrots, zucchini, grape tomatoes, green beans, and spinach, and herbs like cilantro and mint! Plus, who doesn’t love lentils. And raisins. Okay, I’ll stop.

Served over fluffy quinoa with a lemon wedge for squeezin’ of course.

Finally, Apple Rosemary Oat Bars from the May/June issue of the Vegetarian Times! I love exotic ingredient combinations, so I knew I’d be making these from the moment I saw them. They lived up to their name, and I loved the kick they received from the lemon zest and juice.

My only complaint was that there is NOT enough oat mixture to form two layers in an 8 1/2 X 11 pan, as the recipe claims. I used a smaller pan, and it was still a reach. Also, I added an extra half of apple grated because I thought the filling was too sweet. So do that, or just cut down on the agave! But seriously, a big winner!

Till next time…