Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

Planning Fail.

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It was cold.

I sat on my exercise ball and studied bio until my eyes crossed.

I wanted soup.

And cornbread. We’ve been over this…. soup is just an excuse for carby sides. With BUTTER. Because, I ask you… what is better than butter?!

Anyway. I digress.

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Soup. There’s a quick potato soup that I’m fond of. It happens to be vegan, comes together faster than you can say boomshakalaka! and is obviously also delicious. This is rather the route I was attempting to go tonight, except I kind of got maybe not even a third into the recipe before I realized I actually didn’t have half the ingredients I was supposed to. Whooops. Planning fail.

So I made soup anyway. Kind of jankily. With the butt ends of things found in the fridge, and minimal ingredients. And it was (emphasis on the past tense here) delicious. And… it’s GREEN! Obviously I love it. Green things rock.

I also decided to put sprouted quinoa flour in my cornbread. A wise decision and one I’m sure I’ll be repeating… and homg BUTTER! ON my cornbread. Obviously a decision that I a) never regret and b) why would you ever regret butter?!

So here you go! A nice, fridge-scrounging Thursday night recipe when your brain is fogged and you think you have more groceries than you apparently actually do.

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Boomshakalaka Potato Soup!

Recipe from… the depths of my grey matter. And my fridge. Serves  3 for dinner, with leftovers for one. Beyond excellent with cornbread, hellooooooo obviously you need an excuse for butter. I like this recipe best! But this time I replaced 1/2 c whole wheat flour with 1/2 c sprouted quinoa flour. Delicious.

  • 6-7 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 a clove garlic
  • 2 c low-sodium veggie stock
  • 4 c raw spinach
  • heaping 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: chopped cashews for a classy garnish

In a pot, bring some water to a boil, chuck in your chopped potatoes, and boil until they’re fork tender.

In a larger soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in garlic clove and celery, and sauté until the celery is soft. Add spinach, and cover the pot until everything gets wiltified. Once the potatoes are done, drain them, then add them to the pot with all the other veggie biz. Add stock, then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you might like, this isn’t a recipe so much as a template..). Season to taste! Serve hot. Also delicious with some chopped cashews for a classy garnish.

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I made Lentil Loaf! Shocked? No, I thought not.

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Sometimes I can’t even believe some of the things that come out of my mouth.

Like, “Oh yeah, I don’t use refined sugar when I bake, but I use it for fermenting my kefir water starter, the kefir grains seem like they prefer refined sugars”.

Um, okay… I have fermenting kefir grains on my counter for my probiotic kefir water. No big deal, doesn’t everyone??

Also. My breakfast is most often green. But… maybe you already knew that?

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Sometimes I amaze even myself with my crunchiness. Or alternativeness. Or organicness. Or awesomeness. Pick word, any word!

Tonight, I’m real granola. I made… lentil loaf.

Yep. Shocker, I know.

What else could you possibly be expecting?! My work nickname is Lentil, after all ;)

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And I know it’s like THE number one vegan stereotype food, but sorry I’m not sorry it’s a) delicious, b) not made with any of that freaky fake meat/soy product business, c) whole foods are the way to go, d) I’m already pretty much a stereotype (reference leg warmers, fermenting kefir grains, nutritional yeast, and the fact that I bring my composting home), so that boils down to e) I happily embrace this most stereotypical of foods. I knew *I* would love it (says the girl who puts spinach and carrots in her oatmeal)… but would OTHER people (those notsogranola types) like it??

Tonight, I fed one of my best friends lentil loaf.

And…

She’s still my friend! Ha. Success. In fact, she *LIKED* it! I sweetened the deal with some mashed potatoes (because obviously what ELSE would you eat with lentil loaf?! Helloooo, mashed potatoes go with all things loaflike). But both she and the rest of the fambam luuuurved the lentil loaf!! So much so that they nicknamed it LeLo (pronounced ley-low). I personally like LENTIL LOAF since it sort of typifies the stereotype and makes me laugh, but there you have it.

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Exhibit A. Lentil Loaf.

Delicious, quick, and fabulous. A nice riff on your “traditional American meal” except that it so totally isn’t. And of course it’s served on my fab elephant plate from when I was teeny.

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Vegan Lentil Loaf

Recipe adapted slightly from 86 Lemons, here! Makes one 9 by 5 pan, serves 4 easily for dinner with leftovers. Gluten free and vegan. It comes together in a snap—probably the longest part is cooking the lentils, which is easily done in advance.

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds+6 tbsp water [2 flax eggs]
  • 2 c cooked green lentils (1 c dry yields a bit more than 2 c cooked), split into 1.5 and 1/2 c
  • 1 c rolled oats, divided
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 c mushrooms, diced (I used white button mushrooms)
  • 2 c fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 3/4 organic ketchup, divided
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1/2 c almond flour

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Preheat oven to 375, and line a 9 by 5 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing enough to hang over the sides like handles.

Combine flaxseed and water, and set aside until it gels into an ‘eggy’ consistency.

In a food processor, combine 1.5 c cooked lentils and 1/2 c of oats. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth, adding in the almond milk in between pulses. Toss all this into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c ketchup, 1/8 c nutritional yeast, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.  Add olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Toss in onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add in mushrooms, oregano, and spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in the ketchup/nutritional yeast/vinegar combo, and set aside.

Going back to the large bowl with the lentil-oat biz, stir in the other 1/2 c of rolled oats, almond flour, flax egg, 1/4 c nutritional yeast, and the onion-mushroom mixture. Stir it all together (and use your hands, it’s really fun), making sure everything is nicely combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothysmooth the top of it, and the have fun painting the top with the last 1/4 c of ketchup. Bake for 35-40 minutes, let cool for a few in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack (using the nifty parchment paper handles) to sit before slicing. Mine was perfect at 35 minutes.

Makes excellent leftovers—just store in the fridge!

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I ALWAYS play with my food…

Soup is just an excuse for bread, don’t try to deny it!

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Soooooop.

And bread.

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Because obviously you can’t have soup without some bready, carby side dish. We all know that soup is really an excuse for bread, let’s be real here.

But mmmmm, soup. I do love it (but I DO NOT love photographing it. Ugh). ESPECIALLY now that I have this fabby immersion blender!! Which means that I can dispense with all that silliness of attempting to blend soup in a food processor (no, I don’t own a normal blender), which is a dumb idea as a) soup is hot. Hot things expand and b) food processors aren’t watertight (rude). So instead of soup going slightly all over the counter, now I can just bust out the trusty immersion blender, stick it in the pot of soup buzz buzz buzz and low and behold!! Creamy soup, no mess required. Genius.

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Also. I bought a spiralizer. Possibly the BEST decision I have ever made. And also possibly the most fun kitchen utensil ever created.

See?

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Reeeeealllyyyy looooooong zucchini noodles! So much fun to play with. Obviously avoided if you do the smart thing and cut the zucchini in half first, but why spoil your fun? Incredibly long noodles are so much more entertaining. And delicious, especially when you top them with bison pasta sauce and other delicious things. Unfortunately, it was slightly too delicious and there went that before I managed to take a picture of anything besides the noodles. Whoops! Next time.

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Anyway. Let’s get seasonal! Hellooooo autumn, you’re my favorite. The day I made this, I ate three sources of beta carotene in one day. No eye problems for me!
This soup is very easy, comes together in a snap, and is (naturally) delicious. The muffins are awesome too, likewise easy and delicious. In fact, if you time it right, you can bake them while the squash is simmering, then blend your soup and have everything hot at the same time. Wheee!

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Ginger-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4, with leftovers. Recipe inspired by Whole Foods, here! Gluten free, can be vegan with veggie broth.

  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (yield: 4 c diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or diced
  • 3.5 c veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk (out of the can)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pepitas, for garnish!

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in onion, carrot, and cucumbers, and let cook until the onion is translucent (about 5ish minutes). Add ginger, let cook a few minutes more. Finally, add stock, squash, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the squash is fork-tender (about 30 minutes). Once squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. An upright blender is fine too, just make sure the soup is cool enough.
Garnish with pepitas just before serving!

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

My yield was 10, in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins. I never fill them all the way, but these muffins came out a totally normal size. High in vitamin A, low fat, refined sugar free, and whole grain! Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 1 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil).

Whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, almond milk, yogurt, melted butter and pumpkin puree. Combine wet into dry, mixing just to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 15 minutes (a tester should come out clean, and the tops should be slightly browned). Let cool for a few before turning out onto a cooling rack.
I’m sure these keep well, but ours didn’t last that long!

A lentil and squashlet autumnal party

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You can never have too many lentils.

Ever.

My nickname at work is lentil. That explains a lot.

Besides, lentils are bomb since they give you a protein source to pair with all of the autumnal squashlets (no, auto correct, squashlet IS in fact a word, so there). Wheeeee SQUASH! Not only did I use pumpkin yesterday, but I also got to bust out a (homegrown!) butternut squash! Get ready, there’s going to be an abundance of orange coming in the next few months…

I love that squash coincides with my birthday. It feels like nature’s birthday present!! Large, orangey deliciousness.

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Butternut squash always reminds me of a particularly memorable game of Cranium that took place ohhh, probably sometime in high school… my pair was supposed to be acting out butternut squash, and it was maybe one of the more hilarious things I’ve watched: First word: sounds like…*points at butt*… second bit: *mimes being a squirrel burying something*… lastly and rather violently smooshes hands together—-I had been guessing as she was miming and somehow I guessed it!! Excellent mime skills right there. But anyway… I can’t really cook a squash without thinking about that, hehe.

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Skillet Popped Balsamic Lentils

Recipe adapted from Happy Healthy Life, here! I made one cup of lentils, which, supplemented with all the veggies, fed my fambam of 3 with enough leftovers for at about one meal. My butternut squash was small, so it only made enough puree for 3. Feel free to play with the seasoning—mine was an eclectic bunch of flavors that somehow came out tasting good. Funny how that works, isn’t it?!

  • 1 c green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 c water
  • 3-4 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar, divided
  • a few grinds of cracked pepper
  • judicious sprinkles of salt
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • a tbsp or two of milk beverage
  • 1 tsp butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 massive handfuls of spinach, rinsed
  • a bit of chicken (or veggie) broth
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • seasoning to taste*

*I used fresh marjoram, basil, and oregano to sauté the onion, then added cinnamon, cardamom, nutritional yeast and coconut aminos (and more balsamic) to the veggies after I added them in to sauté.

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For the lentils:
Add 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are done (about 30 minutes). They should be soft but still have some bite to them. Rinse and drain.

Heat a skillet over medium, and add a small bit of olive oil. Once the skillet is hot, add about a cup of lentils, shaking the pan to ensure that they’re evenly spaced. They should sizzle and pop and make all kinds of fun noise. Let them sit for a few minutes, then toss in a tsp of balsamic and a bit of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. You’ll know they’re done when they get a bit toasty and crispy around the edges. Remove the first batch, add more oil, and repeat until all the lentils are used.

For the butternut puree: Peel and dice squash, discarding stringy and seedy inner bits. Using a steamer basket or your preferred method of steaming, cook squash until very fork tender. Remove from the steamer and mash with a potato masher or a fork (or a food processor, but I didn’t want to do extra dishes). Add a bit of milk beverage (I used unsweetened almond) to smooth it out, and (obviously) a bit of butter and salt.

For the veggies, I did a simple sauté with a bit of chicken stock added. Chop and dice all yo’ veggies, add olive oil to a deep skillet, and let it heat over medium. Once hot, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add cinnamon and cardamom and a bit more olive oil, then the rest of the veggies (zucchini, pepper, mushrooms, and spinach. I added a bit of broth after about 4 minutes of sautéing, then chucked in all the spinach and covered the skillet to let it reduce. Add coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s, or whatever other seasonings you like here, add lentils, and let it cook on low for a few. Serve warm, over butternut squash puree!

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This is how I roll: Like a BOSS!

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GUYS.

I MADE SUSHI!!!

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You have no idea how excited I am about this. Well, maybe you do, given the excessive use of capitals and exclamation points, but really. I feel like a proud parent of my little sushi children. What’s more, I didn’t use a tutorial (ain’t nobody got time for that) but just used the instructions on the back of t the nori wrapper. Like. A. Boss.

I know you’re not supposed to say your own food is amazing but I’m going to flagrantly break this rule as a) they were freaking delicious and b) I wasn’t the only one eating them and thinking they were delicious and c) my birthday is tomorrow so I can do what I want! Ha.

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I’ve always loved sushi anyway—my parents started me early, and I was always asking to go to this sushi bar that had revolving boats in front of you with fresh sushi. Totally dangerous, because you end up going from ‘dang I’m hungry’ to ‘does a wheelbarrow come with this??’ in about thirty seconds. At least my dad introduced me early to raw fish and these little crabby things that he told me were like potato chips. So I ate them. Such trickery. And I always thought the orange fish roe was interesting looking, so I probably ate that too just because I liked the glowing orange globs. Such a visual child…

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I do love raw fish but I wasn’t about to expend that much energy or resources to source some (especially on a Friday, noooo thank you I’m tired and lazy) so these are chicken rolls! Not terribly traditional, but I really don’t care–they were awesome and they look like authentic sushi rolls so who’s judging? Besides, the chicken is marinated in rice wine vinegar and coconut aminos, so really—what more could you ask for?! But seriously. These are startlingly easy, they just require some prep time. Make them!! Be a proud parent of your sushi roll-lets. They’re adorable, and delicious. And your cats might be interested in them too…

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Um, Nosh?? You’re casting a shadow..
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hahahhaha. These are sanitary, I promise!

Forbidden Rice Sushi

Makes approximately 6 rolls—I had a nori packet with 7 sheets but I was only feeding three, so I made 6 and we ate the leftover nori sheet plain. I had a bit of leftover quinoa and made a roll that was combined rice/quinoa—also delicious!

  • 1 c Forbidden (black) rice
  • 2 c water
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced very thinly
  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 chicken breasts, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar+3 tsp (approx)
  • 2 tsp refined coconut oil
  • toasted nori sheets
  • sushi mat for rolling
  • extra sharp serrated knife
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce for dipping

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Sometime earlier in the day (so that your rice has time to cool), make yo’ rice! Bring 2 c of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add rice and stir once or twice before covering and reducing to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rice is still a little chewy and the water has been absorbed. Once rice is done, season it with a bit of salt and about 3ish tsp of rice wine vinegar. Let sit until fully cooled.

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Combine coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, and a bit of water in a bowl (I approximate the measurements, so taste before you toss in the chicken). Prep chicken by cutting it into thin strips, and let marinate while the pan is heating. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat—when hot, toss in chicken and cook until chicken is fully cooked, with none of that pink business going on. Let it cool a bit while you prep the other roll ingredients.

Slice avocado and cucumber into thin strips. Place a piece of nori (rough side up) on your sushi mat. Spread rice evenly across the lower 3/4 of the nori, leaving the edge farthest from you rice-free. Lay strips of cucumber, avocado, and chicken across the middle of the rice, and begin rolling from the side closest to you. I found it easiest to guide the roll by rolling the mat back on itself as I began to compress the roll. Wet the far end of the nori with a bit of water so that the roll will stick together once it’s completed. Use the mat to tighten the roll, then let it rest on it’s seam for a minute before cutting. Use a very sharp, serrated knife to cut the rolls, wetting it each time you cut a new roll.

Roll, repeat, roll, repeat!

Obviously there are lots of ways to customize this—I made some veggie rolls and some with chicken, but the chicken ended up being my fave! Roll to your heart’s content, then slice and serve. I ate mine with a bit of Bragg’s liquid aminos for dipping. These best the day they’re made, but would probably keep fairly well in the fridge for a day or so.

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Like a boss. And some quinoa.

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You know it’s Labor Day when there’s tartan! Gotta be reppin’ at the Scottish Gatherings and Games in all my Clan Scott-ness, ancient green tartan and all. Like a boss. Or a Scot. Which is pretty much the same thing!

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Also… I made english muffins again! But… they were kind of flat. Delicious, but flat. So no recipe yet but a picture nonetheless because the little rising muffinlets were cute.

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So. Quinoa.

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with it… I either really do it right and really love it, or I’m rather meh about it. Like for instance if I just cook it with water and then expect myself to eat chicken and veggie on top of it, I’ll do it but I inevitably end up thinking less than flattering thoughts about it in my brain. However! When I do it right, like in these little guys, all is right in the quinoa universe.

Sorry that the carrots are rather aggressively orange in these photos…

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They’re like little hockey pucks of deliciousness! Besides, who doesn’t like an excuse to make things in muffin tins?

Easy to throw together, delicious, and good for me. Of course I want a dinner like that! And versatile enough to be lunch (and breakfast if you’re me, odd child).

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Quinoa Cakes with Peas and Zucchini

I made these in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins, but I didn’t fill them all the way and I don’t find them to be particularly jumbo anyway sooo… use what you have! I got 12, which was dinner for 3 with enough leftovers for my lunch. The recipe is slightly adapted from The Fitchen, here!

Vegan!

  • 1/2 c dry quinoa
  • 1 c water
  • 1.75 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c rye flour
  • 1 c peas
  • 1/2 c grated zucchini
  • 1 flax egg [1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water]
  • 1/4 c refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened rice milk (or other nondairy bev)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast*
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste

*Nutritional yeast is easy to find in the bulk section—I get mine at Whole Foods

Firstly, cook quinoa! Start water and rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and let it go, covered, until the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Don’t peek! It makes it take longer… Fluff it with a fork when done and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease muffin tins of choice (I use coconut oil or butter for this).

Grind your own oat flour in a food processor! 2 cups of oats=1.75 c oat flour, or thereabout. I swapped in a 1/4 c of rye flour, but feel free to use all oat. Toss flour into a largeish bowl, stir in cooled quinoa, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Make your flax egg now, and set that aside as well. Grate zucchini, defrost peas. In a smaller bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients: flax egg, coconut oil, and rice milk, as well as the nutritional yeast.  Stir liquid ingredients, zucchini, and peas into the dry bowl, until just mixed.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full, smooth the tops (or not), and pop them into the oven for 25 minutes. These keep well in the fridge to be reheated for lunch or breakfast later!

Apparently I love veggies. Who knew?!

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Stuffing things is fun!

It’s somehow very rewarding to encapsulate your dinner into a tidy little package. Or into a pepper, whatever. And it’s even better when there’s cornbread involved because seriously, when does cornbread NOT make things better?! Right, never, that’s what I thought.

But ick. Why do I always end up making things like this when it’s disgustingly hot outside? It’s like I’m hardwired to automatically want things that require baking as soon as it gets above 90. Because heating your oven to 425 on a day when it’s still over ninety after 5 pm is SUCH a great idea… not. I just love opening the oven door to be subjected to a massive blast of heat… not to mention sticking my face anywhere near it to check and see if things are done.

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Ughhhh. Is it fall yet? Because I have an abundance of winter squashes that snuck into our garden and I need to use them. And they usually rudely require ovens. Or at least sometimes. But it’s also too hot for soup and I sadly don’t have an immersion blender (anyone have an extra they want to chuck my way? Anyone? Anyone? … Bueller?) which makes soup making messy.

Okay. Enough whining because I can’t do anything about the weather and these stuffed peppers were delicious!! Easy and healthy too, so obviously they should go at the top of your to-make list immediately. Maybe just wait until it’s not ninety in the shade…

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Apparently I love veggies. Who knew?! I “discovered” this after I chopped up a metric ton very meticulously… there was a massive pile of greens in there too (natch) that didn’t make it into the picture (sneaky little suckers).

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Bean and Green Stuffed Peppers with Cornbread

Serves 3, with leftover bean/green mixture and cornbread (mostly because I looooove leftovers). Recipe from… the inside of my slightly disorderly brain! The cornbread is my favorite recipe—SO FREAKING GOOD. A little crumbly but properly hydrated (we know how I hate the ‘m’ word), and slightly sweet. So delicious combined with the beans and greens, and crammed inside a pepper. Vegan, full o’ veggies, refined sugar free, and whole grain. Wheeee!

For beans+greens:

  • 3 largeish bell peppers, de-seeded
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 c mixed greens (I used spinach, chard, kale)
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • bell pepper remnants from around the stems (waste not, want not!)
  • a handful of mushrooms, finely diced
  • a pinch of nutritional yeast
  • ~1 tbsp tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

For cornbread [lightly adapted from this bomb recipe, at Eat Well, Party Hard, here!] [refined sugar free, vegan]

  • 1 c cornmeal*
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax+6 tbsp water)*
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted*
  • 1/6 c maple syrup (1/4 if you like a sweeter bread)*
  • 1 c non-dairy milk (I use rice milk usually)*

*Always organic!

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For the peppers, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, drop in peppers and cook until they’re soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from water and place in a casserole dish, and set aside.

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For the cornbread: Make flax eggs and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and rice milk. Add wet into dry, stir in flax eggs, and mix until just combined. Set batter aside temporarily.

Preheat oven to 425.

In a largeish sauté pan, heat a glug of olive oil over medium, and add diced zucchini, bell pepper remnants, and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes, then add greens and continue to let them cook (you may need to cover the pan to let the greens reduce in size a bit). Add more olive oil if needed. Stir in both types of beans, then nutritional yeast, tahini, and salt and pepper to taste. Let cook over low for 5-10 minutes, enough to let the oven finish preheating.

Fill the cooked peppers about 3/4 of the way with the bean mixture, then top with a layer of cornbread batter.  I had leftover cornbread batter, so I baked it separately into my two 6″ cake pans. Use whatever pan you have on hand, or else bake it on top of the remaining beans (sans peppers). I let my peppers go for 17 minutes, until a tester came out clean from the cornbread layer. The cornbread usually bakes for 15 minutes in a dark pan, but these went a bit shorter as they were smaller volume. Test as you go! Mine took about 10-15 minutes total, as I put them in with the peppers at first.

Serve hot!

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Soup is like my problem child

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Hello invisible internet friends!

I made soup for you, and I apologize in advance because I HATE photographing soup. It can look all cute and aesthetic, and then I stare at it through a camera lens and my first response is always…

Ew.

I LOVE soup. Why is it so annoying to photograph?! You would think that a bowl of chunky veggies and lumpy lentils… oh. Wait. That’s right. Lumpy is not generally considered aesthetic. Problem child.

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Well, whatever. Pictures may be lacking but soup and flatbread are incredibly aesthetic to my stomach, so there. We already know I love lentils an any form, so obviously it’s a give that I love lentil soup. And really we all know that soup is just an excuse for a carby side (ie, BREAD, wheee!!).. and thusly that bread is a convenient conveyance for butter, what a glory. Bread+butter= doesn’t get much better. Oh, right, and add in the side of soup to nicely round things out for a balanced type meal.

In other news, I have eaten some delicious croissants and trout and avo lately… (it was too pretty not to share!)

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Annnnddd  I made what appears to be the world’s tiniest buckwheat cookie. Sorry it kind of looks like… a turd?! It was delicious, promise.

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This soup is also delicious, have I neglected to mention that?! It also comes together in about 20 minutes, or less depending on if you puree (which I did not… lack of immersion blender, blender of any sort, and a leaky food processor notwithstanding). If you like cumin-type flavors, put this on your dinner list… now!

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Simple Lentil Soup

I ate this with the Sri Lankan roti flatbread I’ve made before, here. The soup recipe is lightly adapted, courtesy of Sukarah, here! We got three dinner servings out of it, plus a small bit of leftovers.

  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 carrots, chunked/diced
  • 4 c water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 c fresh spinach, rinsed

Combine lentils, carrots, water, and cinnamon stick in a large-ish soup pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, covered, and let simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes (they will have absorbed most of the water, but there should be some liquid still left).

In a sauté pan, toss in olive oil and heat over medium. When heated, add in onions and sauté until translucent. While onions are going, chuck in spinach to sauté/wilt. Add cumin and salt, and continue sautéing until onions begin to brown slightly.  Remove from heat. Once finished, add onions/spinach to the lentils, and let simmer for a few minutes more. Remove from heat when ready to serve.

At this point, you can puree it for a creamy texture, or leave it chunky as I did. I like chunks… and, as I said, I have some slight gadgety issues at the moment that prevent mess-less pureeing… soooo… good think I like chunks.

Serve hot, preferably with some sort of bread!

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Yes, I’ve been known to eat this for breakfast too…

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MUNG BEANS!

No, they’re not lentils.

Yes, I eat them for breakfast! In oatmeal. Or not, and just by themselves.

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Whatever, I told you I got more alternative/awesome every day! It’s why you hang out with me, isn’t it? Right. That’s what I thought!

I find this kind of hilarious, but one of my bestie friends (who happens to be Thai) told me the other day that apparently I’m a closet-Asian. Like, I eat more traditional Asian foods with ridiculous gusto than she does! Probably not true, but I’ll take the compliment ;) And then she pointed out my obsession with aduki beans… and now mung beans… and woonsen noodles… and the amount of tea I drink… and so on.

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Another work friend of mine and I mess with each other daily about what we’ve brought to eat that day: I’ve been accused before of bringing rabbit food… so every time I have some new kind of bean or legume or whathaveyou, I make sure to point it out (alternatively, if I bring beef, obviously we make a huge deal out of that too since that’s generally her province). This kind of thing really only encourages me… I continually try to one up myself and bring the most alternative beans I can find. Muahaha. Rabbit food for the win! Mung beans were the last iteration… let’s see what I can come up with next, heeheehee!

This soup is delicious either by itself or (as I ate it) over brown rice. Mung beans are one of the most easily digestible beans, are low-glycemic, and full of fiber and protein. They’re also a really good source of iron, potassium and zinc, AND provide vitamins A, K, B6, and folate. Eat them! Beans, beans they’re good for your heart (among other things)…

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Mung Bean Stew

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum, recipe here! I only used about half the mung beans in the stew, and then used the leftovers the rest of the week. You can also use all of them, up to you and how many you’re feeding! Delicious warm or cool, and supremely simple to make. I soaked my mung beans for about 4 hours before cooking, but the online searching I’ve done has given me mixed results on whether or not this is necessary. I usually soak things, so I split the difference and only soaked them for a short time.

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  • 2 c mung beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 6 c veggie (or chicken) broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c canned coconut milk (I used light)
  • one massive double handful (or half a bag) of mixed greens or spinach
  • salt to taste
  • brown rice to serve, optional

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add drained and rinsed beans and cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. They will eventually absorb most of the liquid, but I found that around the 30 minute mark I added a bit of water each time I checked it. The beans should be soft but not smooshy, with a really thick consistency when you stir them.

Heat the oil in a pan, and, when hot, add onion and ginger. Sauté for 3-5 minutes over medium-low heat, until the onion is translucent. Add greens and cook until they’re slightly wilted. Add the contents of this pan into the bean pot, and let simmer for just a few minutes. Stir in cardamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and coconut milk. Salt to taste.

I served mine warm, but I ate it later at room temp and it’s delicious both ways. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a few days no problem! I ate mine over brown rice, which was an excellent decision.

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