My cats are here to show me the way to inner bliss

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Let’s talk about cats.

Mark Twain once said, “Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat” (Notebook, 1894)… and how true this is. Cats are such enlightened little furry beings—we discussed this in my last post because Nosh definitely stares at me with his third eye. Definitely. What cat likes banana bread, lentil-apple sandwiches, and butternut squash pancakes unless he’s a guru?! Right. See?

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My cats share tidbits of enlightened wisdom with me every day. For instance… Obviously, inner peace can be achieved easily by a five hour nap on the heater vent, followed by a massive stretch and a round of kibble hockey… and then the search for a warm human to nap on for the next hour. And… repeat. Ohmmm. Inner peace.

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They also are excellent reminders to live in the moment. Mine always do. Picture this: I am cooking. In the kitchen. There are two pairs of eyes staring at me incessantly. Those eyes are very clearly saying: “In this moment, I want snacks. My kibble is in the laundry room. Why aren’t you walking over there? Snacks are for this moment. And then for the moment a moment from now. And then you will let me outside, and I will eat some bugs in a very enlightened manner to illustrate the interconnectedness of the universe”. You see how wise they are? It’s mind boggling.

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In the next life I’m coming back as a cat. A real cat, not just as a really bendy human with cat friends. Because that way I can achieve inner peace by napping for the majority of the day, eating a few bugs, and then finding a human to sleep on. That sounds like a pretty fabulous proposition, doesn’t it?!

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My cats do yoga and have kitty chakras. It’s okay, you’re allowed to be jealous.

In the short term, feel free to make this pizza and achieve a small measure of enlightened gastronomical wisdom. In a pinch (and in your lack of wise cat friends), it’ll do.

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Vegan Pizza on a Pumpkin Crust

This pizza surprised me! It came together quite fast, with things I had lurking around in the pantry. It was perfect for lunch and leftovers. The crust is gluten free (and can be nut free), made with pumpkin puree. The sauce is veggietastic and delicious—and vibrantly green! Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free (could be nut free with all cornmeal and no almond flour). Both crust and sauce loosely adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+4 tbsp water
  • 3 c pumpkin puree (2 cans worth)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/8 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1.25 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 c raw spinach, packed
  • 1.5 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt

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Preheat oven to 425, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In  a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 4 tbsp water. Set aside for the time being. In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, almond flour, cornmeal, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp flaxseed, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir in soaked flax. Spread the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making a roughly oblong-type shape (or not, whatever floats your boat) with edges a bit thicker than the middle. Bake for just about 30 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are just beginning to brown (you should be able to peel it off the parchment paper).

While the crust is baking, make the sauce! In a food processor, whirl together soaked cashews , spinach, peas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, basil, and salt. I highly suggest tasting and adjusting as you go, it’s much more fun that way. Puree until the sauce is chunk-free and smooth.

When the crust is done, spread sauce around evenly, and top with veggies of choice. I used sautéed arugula, bell peppers, and zucchini, but use whatever you have on hand. Bake for another 5 minutes, then let cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving. I found that a sprinkle of salted, roasted cashews added just the right crunch and made a nice garnish.

Leftovers store well and taste equally delicious the next day! I stored mine in a glass continuer in the fridge.

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The perks of being a bulk squirrel

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Hiya!

It’s Sunday. I just came from a fab yoga class and now my joints feel all nice and stretchy and I also feel like there is a hole in my stomach. Mid-morning yoga always makes me SO FREAKING HUNGRY! Oi. But I’m currently placating it with a large bowl of sweet potato-egg-kale-avocado-salsa-ketchup (don’t judge) goodness sooo… things are headed in the right direction.

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And last night I made this!

YAY! for amaranth and lentils.

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If I had an alter ego it would probably be a legume….

This is an easy one pot dish that is ready in under an hour, so it makes for delicious weeknight (or busy night) meals. Additionally, if you’re like me, it’s composed mostly of bulk staples so if you’re a bulk squirrel like me, you likely already have everything. It’s also really adaptable. Don’t have spinach? Use some other leafy green thing. Hate peas? No probs, leave them out or put something else in instead.

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Besides being fast and easy, legumes + amaranth are super protein! Sort of like Super Legume Girl, or whatever my alter ego would be. Pair some super-protein with some free-radical bashing antioxidants from the veggies and all kinds of good minerals and amino acids from the amaranth, and you’ve got one nutritional powerhouse disguised as a delicious dinner.

Serve it for your next weeknight dinner and… BOOM SHAKA LAKA! Tell those free radicals they are NOT invited to your parties!

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Lentil and Amaranth Stew

Recipe adapted from Food Recipes HQ, here! I got a yield of dinner for three, plus leftovers for two.

  • 1 c amaranth
  • 1/2 c green lentils
  • 3 massive carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 garlic clove (1 clove if you like more garlic)
  • 1 carton of veggie broth (1 quart, about 4 cups), divided
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 c raw spinach
  • 2 c green peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • small splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or soy sauce (low sodium)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped cashews, pepitas, and sliced avocado for serving

Heat a large pot over medium high heat (I used a large soup pot for this so I had lots of room for the raw spinach to wilt down). Add amaranth and toast for about 4 minutes, or until you can smell it toasting (it will have a slightly nutty smell to it). Add in lentils, carrots, two cups of broth, garlic, and olive oil. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, adding more broth as needed (the amaranth will start to thicken and absorb the liquid as it cooks). Once you hit the 35-40 minute mark, stir in bell pepper, spinach, peas, nutritional yeast, bragg’s, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes more, until the spinach is completely wilted and the stew is heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve hot! The amaranth will thicken considerably as it cools—I like it thick, but feel free to thin it out with more broth when reheating for leftovers. Top with cashews and avo!

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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!