Monday Munchies – Potato Lentil Soup

Potato Lentil Soup

potatosoup 2260 thumb   Not Your Average Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cups diced Yukon Gold potato (about 1.4 pounds)
  • 1 cup uncooked green split peas, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8-1/4 cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Add oil to a large pot and sauté the garlic and mustard seeds for a few minutes over medium-high heat, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Be careful not to burn them. Add in the onion and sauté for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the celery, potato, split peas, broth, and spices. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer on low-medium heat uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until the split peas are cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

3. With a ladle, carefully transfer about 3 cups of the soup into a blender (leave some of the pouring hole ajar so stream can escape). Starting at a low speed, puree the soup until smooth and pour it back into the pot and stir. (Note: You can also use an immersion blender if desired.) Cook for 5 minutes and then serve immediately with fresh parsley and a pinch of smoked paprika, if desired.

 

From Oh She Glows

Monday Munchies – Garden Quinoa Salad

Another new favorite from The Simple Veganista, this quick and easy quinoa salad is filling and refreshing–perfect as a dinner side dish or a light lunch!  I didn’t have any edemame (soy beans) when I made mine, but since they are packed full of protein I definitely recommend adding them if you can.

If you’re not familiar with quinoa, it’s an amazing whole grain that doesn’t take long to prepare (I find it faster than rice) and gives you complete proteins–the only whole grain to do that by the way.  Just be sure to rinse yours first if you don’t purchase the pre-rinsed kind.  The outer layer can be bitter tasting, which can ruin the whole dish.

The zesty dressing can be made and used on regular salads as well.  I made a second batch for my spinach lunch salads all week. Yum!

Garden Quinoa Salad w/Zesty Garlic Dressing
 
Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup edemame (optional)
  • 1 cup english cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2  cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Dressing
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of two medium lemons
  • 3 rounded tablespoons stoneground or dijon mustard (I used stoneground)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • himalayan salt, to taste
  • cracked pepper, to taste

In a medium size pot, add quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Once done, remove cover and let stand 5-15 minutes, until all water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork.

While quinoa is cooking, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, taste for seasoning and let set.

Chop and dice your remaining vegetables, except the edemame. Place chopped vegetables and edemame in a large bowl, add the dressing tossing gently to coat.

Once ready, add quinoa to the vegetables and toss together. Serve with a little more sea salt & cracked pepper and squeeze of lemon on top.

Monday Munchies – Whole Wheat Pancakes That Actually Taste Good

I love pancakes.  Fluffy and warm and dripping with deliciously sweet syrup.  Even better if they have fresh fruit on top, or chocolate chips on the inside.  Pumpkin pancakes, banana pecan pancakes, blueberry pancakes, peanut butter and jelly pancakes–the options are endless but they are all fantastic!

And this healthy twist on pancakes is just as versatile for you to add any of your favorite mix-ins or toppings.  A lot of other whole wheat pancakes I’ve tried have always turned out too dense and heavy and thick.  This one (I’m quite happy to report) is light and fluffy, and although they are a little flatter than big buttermilk pancakes, I’m pretty sure you’ll still love them.  Health bonus: not only does this recipe use whole wheat flour, but there’s no oil or butter!

Want to make it even healthier?  Substitute the egg for a mixture of 1 Tbsp ground flax meal with 3 Tbsps water.  Flax meal gives you more protein and fiber for a nutrition boost, and it’s lower in fat and calories than a whole egg.  While you’re at it, go ahead and use unsweetened almond or soy milk milk (usually only 30-60 calories a cup depending on the brand you use).

Tasty Whole Wheat Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup white all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (this will make them nice and fluffy)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons oil or non stick spray, optional (to grease the pan, but I found I didn’t need to use it)

Directions

  1. If using griddle preheat to manufactures instructions.
  2. Combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a bowl or wide-mouthed pitcher. Add egg, milk and vanilla, mixing until combined.
  3. If using skillet, heat on medium heat and add oil if using oil. Place batter on griddle/skillet, cook until bubbles form on edges or top and flip. About 3 minutes per side, more or less.
  4. Serve with syrup, fresh fruit or any dessert sauce of choice.

If you choose to use the flax+water egg substitute, it is always best to prepare that first so it has time to set, usually about 10 min . Make your flax egg by combining flax meal & water in a small bowl and set aside.

You can add your mix-ins (like blueberries or chocolate chips) right before adding the batter to the pan.

*A Note on Maple Syrup*

Like syrup on your pancakes like I do? Be sure to spring for the good stuff–100% pure maple syrup–not the fake sugary table or breakfast syrups that contain a crazy amount of processed preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.

All natural maple syrup actually has some surprising health benefits, like containing compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation.  It also contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals (like zinc and manganese).

Of course, maple syrup is still a sugar, so use in moderation, but savor every drop!

Monday Munchies – Homemade Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

This past week was full of some serious changes, most of them regarding Nate and I’s health and diet.  We’ve both been trying to eat healthier this year, and finally got up off our butts and got serious about it.  Nate is working out almost every day now, and loading up on protein and small meals every few hours.  I’m taking a more whole foods, plant-based approach to my diet by cutting out animal products and minimizing sugar.  I actually think I had a mild addiction to sugar, which is crazy because I never really thought about being addicted to a food before.

I’m cutting out all refined sugars cold turkey, and using natural sweeteners like pure maple syrup only sparingly.  One thing I’ve found to satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard is eating fresh fruit.  Fruit has a lot of naturally-occurring sugars, but I feel that the fiber and nutrients from the fruit are worth it.  A new favorite after-dinner treat is this Almond Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, which I found on The Simple Veganista (this site is now bookmarked and I visit daily for new recipe ideas).

It’s not exactly like ice cream since it’s pretty soft, but it’s delicious and creamy and nutty and has chocolate–perfect for a night time snack.  Give it a try!

Almond Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter, or any nut butter of choice
  • almonds, cut in half
  • dark chocolate, either in chips or bars broken into pieces
Directions
In a food processor, place frozen banana pieces and almond butter, blend until a fairly smooth consistency stopping every now and then to scrap down the sides and push the mixture to the bottom of the processor. It took mine about five minutes max, but this depend on your food processor. Serve in bowls and top with, or incorporate, the chocolate pieces and almonds, use as much as you like. Should be eaten right away. Makes one generous serving or two small ones.

Monday Munchies – Date Nut Fruit Pie

Recently I had the opportunity to watch the film, Forks Over Knives.  If you haven’t seen it and are interested in a healthier lifestyle and diet, I highly recommend it.  One of the doctors featured in the film, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing speak in person, and his son Rip Esselstyn is also interviewed.  Rip has his own book called the Engine 2 Diet, which today’s recipe is from.  It’s a whole foods, plant-based diet so you can be sure this rich and tasty dessert is better for your health than most pies would be 🙂 And it’s delicious!  Enjoy!

Date-Nut Fruit Pie

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for filling:

  • 2 to 3 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 ounces strawberries, blended into puree
  • 4 ounces strawberries, sliced
  • 4 ounces raspberries
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Directions:

Blend crust ingredients together in a food processor to achieve a sticky consistency.

Press blended crust ingredients into a pie pan.

Lay the bananas on top of the crust and press along the sides.

Place strawberry slices on top of the bananas.

Pour strawberry puree over the strawberries and bananas, and press into the gaps.

Place berries and mandarin oranges on top of the pie.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour or longer before serving.

Monday Munchies – Quinoa Porridge

This unique recipe originated on one of my new-found favorite blogs, A Cozy Kitchen.  The recipes there are very intriguing to me, using ingredients I’ve never heard of or considered before (like roasted bone marrow).  It’ll be fun to explore more of this recipes in the future, but the first one I tried was this quinoa porridge.

You wouldn’t usually think about quinoa as a breakfast food, but the spiced milk makes it sweet and delicious.  I didn’t have any pears or fig jam around (as the recipe calls for), but I did toast some almonds and add dried cranberries and a little warm strawberry jam.  Yum!

Quinoa Porridge

Ingredients

1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk, plus 4 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pear, sliced
2 teaspoons fig jam, warmed

Directions

1. In a medium pot, add the slivered almonds and toast for 1 minute, until lightly golden brown. Remove and set aside.

2. Using a sieve, rinse quinoa until the water runs clear. To the medium pot (use the same one as you did for the almonds), add the quinoa, water, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook until all of the liquid has absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Turn the heat off and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

3. To two bowls, add a few hefty spoonfuls of the porridge. Mix in two additional tablespoons of milk. Top with a small handful of the toasted almonds, sliced pears and drizzle of jam.

Monday Munchies – Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Another fantastic in-season vegetable right now is cauliflower.  I know a lot of people don’t really like cauliflower, and to be honest, I didn’t really either until a few years ago.  I hated it raw and always thought it was a very bland vegetable, but once I tried it roasted I was in love!  Roasting cauliflower really brings out a nutty, slightly sweet flavor, which mixes deliciously with the balsamic and Parmesan in this recipe.

The great thing about balsamic vinegar is that it adds tons of flavor without a lot of added calories.  You can even experiment with different flavors available through a great company called The Olive Tap.  I think the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic would be good in this recipe, and I personally like the Apple or Raspberry Balsamic Vinegars in homemade salad dressings.  It’s a little pricey to be sure, but well worth it!

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted CauliflowerBalsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.

 

Monday Munchies – Strawberry Orange Muffins

Oranges are coming into season, and these tasty muffins are a great way to use the fresh zest and juice of uplifting citrus.  The addition of strawberry and almonds adds even more of a nutritional punch, making these perfect for breakfast or a healthy snack.

Strawberry-Orange Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, divided (see Variation)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour , or whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries , (about 8 ounces)
Strawberry-Orange Muffins Recipe

Strawberry-Orange Muffins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Process almonds, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and stir to combine.
  3. Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons orange zest and 1/4 cup oil in a medium bowl with buttermilk, orange juice, egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Add strawberries; stir just to combine. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with the almond topping, gently pressing into the batter.
  4. Bake the muffins until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes more before serving. Variation: For Strawberry-Basil Muffins, omit orange zest and use 1/4 cup additional buttermilk in place of orange juice. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil with the berries in Step 3.

NOTE: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat. Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Find it in the baking section of the supermarket or online at bobsredmill.com and kingarthurflour.com. Store in the freezer.

Give ’em a try and enjoy the taste of the season!

 

Monday Munchies – Salmon & Roased Vegetable Salad

As you may recall from my New Year, New Diet post, I’m trying to eat more seasonally this year.  In January root vegetables like turnips and potatoes are in season, and soon salmon will be as well (the recipe calls for canned, but fresh salmon will work even better).  I thought this was a great recipe to combine several of those in-season foods into a deliciously healthy dinner fit for a side of French bread and glass of wine. Enjoy!

Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed (1/2-inch) peeled root vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, carrots and beets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained and flaked (Fresh wild salmon is best if you can get it, but canned is usually more easy to find for many people, so just know that you can use either in this recipe)
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss root vegetables in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir and continue roasting until soft and golden brown in spots, 13 to 15 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, anchovy and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and salt in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dressing in small bowl. Add the salad greens to the large bowl and toss to combine; divide among 4 dinner plates.
  4. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to the large bowl and gently combine with the reserved dressing, salmon and scallions. Top the greens with the salmon and vegetables.

Monday Munchies – Homemade Pizza Pockets

I know it’s a little late in the day, but I made these this evening and felt the need to share.  These homemade pizza pockets are easy to make and perfect for your New Years Eve celebration!  The best part: since you make them yourself, you can customize the filling to whatever you like.  (My boyfriend opted for chili mac & cheese in his.)

Homemade Pizza PocketsHomemade Pizza Pockets

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal
  • 3 1/4 cups flour {we used all-purpose}
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast {about 1 package}

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together
  2. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  4. Roll dough out and cut with a jar ring or cookie cutter
  5. Add about 1/2 teaspoon pizza sauce to one side of circle
  6. Add toppings
  7. Fold over and seal with a fork
  8. Brush with oil
  9. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes

Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauces!