An absurd amounts of lentils (is maybe the best thing ever!)

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Shut the front door.

LENTILS.

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There are no words.

Except…

I’m obsessed?! Forget the question mark after obsessed. No question. Ob. Sessed. As in…I eat them for three meals a day (not in the same day, obviously, but I do kind of have to stop myself from doing that): breakfast, lunch, dinner. I put them in oatmeal. With coconut milk and a date (seriously. You don’t know what you’re missing until you try it). Over sautéed mixed greens for lunch. With bread and mo’ veggies for dinner. Or a snack. Or whatever. OBSESSED. Lentils, where have you been all my life?!

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I’m not entirely sure what I was eating up until now in order to fill this gigantic hole that is now filled with lentils… thankfully I can make huge vats at one time so that I have lentils for days (literally). Which means I kind of go through them a little, ahem, rapidly. Kind of like vegetables. But lucky for me, last week Whole Foods had a one day bulk sale!!! (danger, danger, this is my kryptonite) So now my cupboards are exploding with all kinds of fun bulk-type things like pepitas, mung beans, brown rice, dates, and.. oh yeah. LENTILS. Three. Different. Kinds. I literally have enough lentils to feed a small army. Or me. For about a week.

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This is my favorite way to make them: they can be sweetish (in oatmeal with coconut milk and a date), or savory, over sauteed greens with avocado and a little splash of coconut aminos (or soy, if that’s your thing). I love that they can go either way, depending on what meal I’m eating or whatever.

You don’t even have to be alternative like me to enjoy them… if lentils in oatmeal scares you (we might not be able to be friends anymore but I’ll try really hard…) just make the lentils! They’re fast and delicious and… healthy! Naturally. Would I share anything less than that with my invisible internet friends? Answer: no!!

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Lentils are also awesomely little super nutritious powerhouses: full of fiber and complex carbs, folate, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Which all means that they help lower cholesterol, are good for your heart and digestive health, provide an excellent source of energy and iron, and help stabilize blood sugar. Therefore… in a nutshell: eat lentils!! Your body will thank you :)

And look!! Sorry for the radio silence, my former roomie Kira visited me!! We went and had some fun in Mountain View Cemetery, so I was a little too busy going face-first into a plate at Rick and Ann’s to eat lentils. But. I’m back, in full lentil eating mode, here to cheer your inbox!

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Marjoram, Cinnamon and Cardamom Spiced Lentils

Recipe by… me! Mutti gets credit too, especially when I have absolutely NO time, and she nicely makes may weekly vat of lentils for me. The measurements here make enough for dinner three, with leftovers. Or for one: Dinner, followed by three days of breakfasts….

  • 1 c lentils (I like green lentils for this)
  • 3 c water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, finely diced (or roughly chopped, whatever floats your boat)
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1/4 c low-sodium chicken broth (to make vegan/vegetarian, sub veggie broth)
  • 1 tsp marjoram, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp cardamom*
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg*
  • salt and pepper to taste

*the measurements are approximate: I season to taste as I go with all the spices, and salt and pepper. I tend to go light on the pepper in this.

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No need to soak the lentils, which is awesome. Toss lentils and water into a medium pot, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Let cook until the lentils have absorbed *most* (not all) of the water, about 15-20 minutes. They should have a bit of chew to them, but be on the softer side. Taste them, and you should be able to tell. Drain and rinse them, and set them aside.

Finely dice the onion and carrots. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan. When hot, toss in onions, and sauté until they become translucent. Add salt and pepper and marjoram, and let cook for a minute more. Add carrots, lentils, and chicken broth. Cover and let cook until the carrots are soft (this is why I like to dice them really finely, or microwave the carrots first, as it shortens cooking time and I’m usually hungry). Stir in cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg to taste, while the carrots are cooking. I usually let it go for about 10-15 minutes, unless I’ve precooked the carrots.

Leftovers keep well in the fridge for at least a week, not that I’ve ever really had them around that long… Serve warm! Excellent over greens with some bread on the side :)

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Free radicals are NOT invited to any of my parties

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Mmmm, sweet pohhhtayyytooeeeessssss! (You like that phonetic spelling there? Yeah, I thought so too). Hello, beta-carotene, I love you!

And then combine that deliciousness with powerful greens for a free-radical fighting snacklunchdinner (or maybe breakfast, who knows, maybe some of you are even weirder than me?!). I love love love making stuffed sweet potatoes for lunch! I started doing it sometime during my senior year of college when I discovered that sweet potato+egg+spinach makes a really cheap and wonderful combination… even more wonderful if there’s some avo lurking around as well (Who doesn’t love lurking avo?!).

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More recently I’ve been sticking with the greens+beans variety of sweet potato, probably because I like that it rhymes and who knows why I end up with random food combination obsessions; I’d be the last to know why I’m obsessed with something. Like… millet. It’s for the birds! Or is it?! Apparently it’s for me, too, and you can add that to your “Things that make Hayley even more of an-“alternative-awesome-hippie-who-eats-bird-food” list…I know you have one, don’t try to deny it…

Besides all of the inherent hippiness you get whenever you visually dine with me, this combination also happens to be an antioxidant powerhouse. Like, it deserves a cape it’s so good at saving the world (ie, your body) from the evil menace of those nasty free radicals. No one wants them invited to the party… thankfully, with this kind of dish, those free radicals get kicked to the curb by  antioxidants AND excellent dietary sources of vitamins A, C, and K, to name a few. Free radicals are NOT invited to my birthday parties…

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Side note, I made coconut quinoa porridge-pudding today! What is with this new strange pudding obsession? Is it because it’s hot? I mean, I’ve always loved rice pudding but seriously, this is getting out of hand. Three puddings in basically four days? Yep, that happened. At least I’m changing it up, this time it’s quinoa+coconut milk+cardamom+cinnamon+almond, yum yum yum. Breakfast? With almond butter? I think yes.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

Recipe by… me! Serves 1, double or triple as needed. Simple, delicious, and comes together quickly. Perfect for a light dinner when it’s hot out, or pretty much whenever… I love it for lunch!

Scrounge and find:

  • 1 (decent sized) sweet potato
  • 1/2-1 tbsp tahini
  • olive oil
  • a good double handful of power greens (kale+chard+spinach!)
  • 1/3 c white beans, drained and rinsed
  • a squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce (whatever your preference)
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado, cubed

Wash and dry the sweet potato, and poke some holes in it so it doesn’t explode in the microwave (no one wants that…). Toss it in on the baked potato setting, until done. Once finished, slice it lengthwise down the center, and smash a bit of tahini on the inside while it’s still hot.

While the sweet potato is doin’ its thang, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add rinsed greens and white beans, and sauté until greens are wilted.

Aesthetically layer your greens and beans into the prepared sweet potato, and top with a bit of Bragg’s. Garnish (or cover liberally, your choice… we know which one I chose) with avo!

Eat hot, and revel in your simple meal that is so delicious and so good for you! Free radicals, you have no choice but to capitulate! Muahahaha.

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Life is too short for undelicious food

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Lazy girl’s idea of a meal, right here. In a HUGE bowl. I like to eat out of massive bowls sometimes, just for fun…. and then besides, when I make something in a huge bowl and then eat out of it, there’s less washing! See? Lazy.

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But also delicious. Because even when I’m being lazy I still want delicious (and obviously good for me) food. Duhhh. You invisible internet friends have known me long enough by now to know that life is too short for blah and undelicious food. Right? Right.

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Anyway. This is  a textbook example of my random thought process when cooking: “hmm.. I’m closing tonight. Need dinner. Have chunk of time in the middle of the day after lifting… hmmm… I’ll make cookies! Raw date newton bites, those are happening… need more dates… oh wait. Cookies aren’t dinner. Almond butter is dinner! Noodles. Soba. Veggies! Lots of veggies. Random tupperware in the fridge has beans.. corn.. chicken… sweet potatoes. Oooooh. They are ALL going in the bowl… oh wait. I’m HUNGRY! It’s lunch. These noodles are delicious, maybe I should just eat them… Waaaiiittt… this was supposed to be dinner!” *in the middle of a bite out of bowl* *slowly puts fork back down* … “fine. eggs. eggs are lunch. noodles are dinner…… is it dinner yet??” Oi. Sometimes I think my brain has a life of its own. Wait. I KNOW it does, otherwise how would it come up with some of this stuff?! Like putting spinach in way more places than it rightfully should go.

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Mmm. I just ate the leftovers for lunch. Out of a MASSIVE bowl. What an inspired idea…

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Lazy Girl Almond Butter Noodles

This is a riff on an earlier recipe I had on here—the peanut noodles, remember? Anyway, I’ve been off all things peanut for a while now, so almond butter has become my nut butter of choice (again). I love these because they’re a) delicious, b) come together in a SNAP (probably takes 15 minutes, start to finish), and c) suuuuper adaptable. Have leftover chicken or black beans in the fridge? Use them. Weird bits of veggies? Yup, those too. Anything and everything. Out of soba? Use whole wheat spaghetti. It’s delicious however you do it… but I’ll provide the framework for last night’s particularly delicious version. Recipe from… me! Serves 3… ish. With leftovers.

Gluten Free with gf soba noodles, vegetarian or vegan without chicken. Ginger: anti inflammatory and warming, among other amazing things. Soba: buckwheat, a whole grain. Almonds: healthy fats! Veggies: umm.. need I explain this?!

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  • Two heaping spoonfuls of almond butter (as in, your spoon runneth over)
  • about 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (my version of low sodium soy sauce), with some extra to drizzle to taste
  • 2 bundles of organic soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 bag of TJ’s power to the greens (spinach, kale, chard, lots of delicious things)
  • 1/2 box of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, sliced and microwaved until soft
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c corn, defrosted
  • leftover chicken, sliced

Firstly, raid fridge. Find all the odds and ends you want to use and assemble them on the counter.

I always slice the veggies first, since it takes the longest. This time, I steamed sliced zucchini, greens, and mushrooms. While the veggies are steaming, start yo’ noodles! Soba noodles cook quickly—after the water comes to a boil, time them for exactly 4 minutes. Once they’re done, drain and rinse them immediately to remove the starch (otherwise they get ruuuul clumpy). In a small separate bowl, stir almond butter, ginger, and bragg’s together. Add a bit of warm water to thin it out—it’ll look weird at first but keep stirring until smooth!

Grab a mega mixing bowl. When noodles and veggies are done, toss them in, followed by an odds and ends from the fridge (corn, beans, chicken, whatever). I like to try to time it so that the sauce goes over warm veggies or noodles, since it helps melt it a bit and distribute evenly. Toss sauce with the contents of the bowl until evenly coated. I usually end up adding a bit more bragg’s to taste towards the end.

Eat. Love your food that loves your body back!

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A little cheese with your vegan risotto?

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Stop the presses!

Something savory?! What the what?

But this was amazing, so I had to share. I totally made risotto in less than an hour (And then I made cookies. All within that same hour) And the risotto was vegan. And then I put cheese on it. Don’t judge me, I love me some cheese (Life would be soooo boring without cheese, no?).  All an excellent use of my Monday, I might add.

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I’m not feeling particularly wordy today, so a short post it is. But the recipe is fantastic and was very well received… sooooo since it’s dinner time in my part of the world, this is directed at those of you over here on the west coast with me: y’all should head to the kitchen with your laptop. Right…about…now! You know you want to…

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Vegan Cashew ‘Risotto’

This recipe is slightly adapted from the Whole Foods site, which is awesome as they have some bomb stuff! Served 4, with leftovers for 2-3. This came together really quickly, and is totally nutritious and sooo delicious. It’s economical too, with most ingredients being something you’d have on hand, or that is inexpensive.

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 c unsweetened almond milk (soy, rice, or dairy okay too)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (I used 1.5 frozen cubes, each cube=1 clove)
  • 3/4 c low-sodium veggie broth
  • 20 oz frozen brown rice (which equated to one package. I used frozen as it’s precooked, lessening my cook time)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh marjoram
  • ground cracked pepper, to taste

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Soak cashews in just enough water to cover, for a few hours or overnight (I left mine overnight).

Peel, seed, and slice the squash. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, then add squash and boil until fork tender (4-5 minutes). Take out about a cup of squashlet cubes for later, and let the rest boil until very soft, about another five minutes. Remove squash from water and set aside.

Drain cashews, and add them to a blender (if you have a non-crap one, or a food processor like me if your blender is worthless) with the very soft squash, cinnamon, sea salt, and milk bev. Blenderize or process until smooth.

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Heat a large saute pan with some olive oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and onions once hot, and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are just beginning to brown. Add in broth, frozen rice, and reserved cup of squash cubes, and cook for another few minutes, still stirring (it’s risotto, after all…). Stir in blenderized mix still sitting in your blender*, followed by the minced sage and marjoram. I added just a wee bit more salt here, as well as pepper. Cook for several more minutes, until the sauce reduces a bit and the risotto thickens slightly (6 to 8 minutes more). Remove from heat and stir in more pepper, if desired.

*the original recipe called for 2.5 c of squash cubes. I definitely had waaaay more than that since I went ahead and used the whole (rather large) squash, so when I added the cashew mixture to the risotto, I didn’t use it all (probably about 3/4 of it). Any more and the risotto would have been too soupy—use your judgement based on how large your squash is, and how much liquid your rice absorbs. I love the sauce anyway, as it makes great dip for veggies or over a salad, so I was happy to have 1+ cups left over!

Garnish. Serve. Eat. Love!

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007 and a blue plate special

A few weekendy things:

Sorry I’m not sorry… I love my Ducks!

And really… shaken, not stirred. I wonder if James Bond ever does normalish things like go out and buy bread? What if he really wanted ice cream or something? Wouldn’t there be some creep trying to pick him off on the way to the ice cream store? Does he ever go anywhere without a gun? The latest movie was freaking fantastic!! Such a lovely way to spend my Sunday—a date with Daniel Craig and some veggie burgers. Okay, sadly not really but I can pretend, right?! At least these veggie burgers were real:

It’s like a blue plate special.

And cookies! They were real too.

AND paleo. I’m rather proud of myself that I baked something with coconut flour that wasn’t totally nasty. I’m all for non-grain flours, but my first encounter with coconut flour ended up in the garbage. Literally. I NEVER throw away food unless it’s gone bad… BUT. These. Ugh. They defied description. Thankfully, I got things under control with a different recipe, and am now a convinced fan of coconut flour. (They can be found in the following post)

So. A wildly successful weekend on all fronts: James Bond, veggie burgers, and cookies. AND the Ducks won. #lovemyducks!

Sweet Potato-Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

I got 7 burgers out of this, and they made awesome leftovers. Recipe slightly modified from here! Especially tasty with a side salad and extra mustard… these have sweet potato, black beans, and quinoa, as well as lots of other delicious things. They’re also soy-free, which is a nice change from a lot of other veggie burgers.

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (no really, mine were TINY)
  • 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • 15 oz (1 can) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 leek, lightly sautéed
  • 6 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp raw pepitas
  • pepper to taste
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Wash the sweet potatoes, pierce them a few times with a fork, and pop into the microwave on the baked potato setting (or whatever yours has). When finished, let them cool until you can cube them (skin and all), and then rustically mash them (leave some lumps). Clean the leek thoroughly, and dice up the white bit. Lightly sauté in a bit of olive oil; let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a separate bowl, mash the black beans (almost completely, again—leave some lumps). Stir in mashed sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa, corn, sautéed leek, rolled oats, pepitas, salt/pepper, cumin, oregano and olive oil. Stir to combine. Form into patties/sliders/whatever, and plop onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes total, flipping at the 7 minute mark. Top with mustard or whatever floats your boat! They’re delicious any way you slice it.

Ice cream the size of my face and other musings…

Today, I ate an ice cream the size of my FACE. No. Really. It was. Don’t believe me?

you’re welcome.

Yep, now you do.

In all fairness, I did share with Vaccuum Vati. Thank heavens. It was enormous.

And then I took a nap. Seriously. I have never in all my life gone into that serious of a food coma… but I actually napped when I got home! With my kitty, love love love! And then… I did kitty yoga and went to the gym. A lovely day all around, I must say.

You see, I’ve been going to Fenton’s ever since I was a child, with my gram. So it brings back all kinds of nice memories, besides giving me the ability to stuff  my face with deliciousness. As a kid, I used to search the menu for the least painful, smallest lunch option possible, so I could go speedily onto dessert… and I realized today that I apparently still do that. Ice cream is infinitely superior to lunch. Duh. Everyone knows that.

phew. Healthy eye-relief.

Anyway. Getting back to the point of this blog, which is, after all, recipezzz… I made chickpea cakes! I’ve made them before and they’re fab… but was too lazy at the time to blog about them. Sooo you get them now! Do a happy dance, they’re amazing. They sort of taste like hummus in cake form. Winner winner, hummus dinner…

mmm, chickpeas!

Chickpea Cakes with Yogurt Drizzle

The recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Naturally Ella, here. These are delicious. Hummusyyy and with a nice texture. The yogurt drizzle gives them just the right amount of sauciness… and they’re particularly good with cucumber. I doubled the recipe to serve 3.

yum.

Chickpea Cakes

  • 2 c cooked chickpeas (I used canned)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • sprinkle of garlic powder (I was out of for reals garlic, if you have it, use about one clove)
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce, whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 c parmesan
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • glug of olive oil

Yogurt Sauce

  • a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt of choice (mine was lowfat, not greek)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
perfect antidote to ridiculous amounts of ice cream.

Muscle your food processor out of it’s hiding place/lair in the cupboard. Set up the whole shebang. Toss in chickpeas, tahini, Braggs, garlic powder (or normal garlic), and parmesan, and pulse until the mixture comes together and is a bit crumbly. Add in flour and eggs, and salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Add a teeny bit more flour if it seems a little too thin—it should be like sticky batter consistency.

Heat olive oil in a nonstickish pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot, drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. Let cook until you can easily flip them and the bottoms are done, then flip and cook until both sides are nicely browned, about 5ish minutes.

To make yogurt sauce, vigorously stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Seriously. It’s that easy.

Stack prettily… drizzle… eat… repeat.

drizzle!!

Two for the price of one: Squashlets AND cookies!

coooookies!

There is an influx of baby squashlets in the garden! And not just zucchini, ohhh no.

So somehow we ended up growing acorn squash in our back garden…. which is odd considering we never planted anything of the sort. I’m guessing some little entrepreneurial seed got excited when we put it out in the compost and decided to become …a plant? Which is awesome, considering I just ate squash for dinner last night and lunch five seconds ago. TWO kinds of squash: acorn aaand zucchini, yesss. And if you’ve been following me for awhile (or at least since last fall), you’ll know that I am madly, head over heels in love with squash. You name it, I’ll eat it. Fact. I am still the Queen of Orange!

Which means that I got creative last night and invented another stuffed squash recipe (and actually did the same for lunch today, such an inspired idea). Both variations are easily adaptable to whatever you have, and are delicious.

squash-lunchlet

Anyway. So besides the squashy excitement, I also made cookies! Um. Why do you look so surprised?!

more adorable mushroom pottery

Because I love graham crackers. And vegan things. And cookies. And as I was searching for recipes, up popped one for vegan graham cracker cookies!! Whaaaat. This is what went through my brain: “cookies!! cookies cookies cookies hmm we haven’t had any cookies around here for the last day or so, clearly time to make more… these have graham crackers and cinnamon oooh”, at which point I was already preheating the oven and squashing the graham crackers into a pulp. Or rather crumbs, I suppose. Anyway. These cookies are fantastic: chewy (although be sure to store them in plastic if you want them to stay that way, not glass), graham-y, and full of cinnamon.

textural appreciation

 

And this way my dad and I don’t have to fight each other for the last few graham crackers, as SOMEONE likes to eat an entire sleeve with milk and call it lunch. Harumph. Vaccuum Vati strikes again. I, on the other hand, like to spread mine with peanut butter (oh really?! Surprise surprise) or mash it into ice cream. This way we can share the crackers aaand the cookies, like normal people. A perfect compromise, if you ask me.

balancing acts are fun with cookies

Vegan Graham Cracker Cookies

Very slightly adapted from Quiche-A-Week, here! This recipe is fab. Just do yourself a favor and make it, nowwww. I got about 20 cookies.

  • 9 sheets of graham crackers (I use Erewhorn Organics), divided
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 c organic peanut butter (mine was creamy this time)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • chocolate chippies, optional

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

In  small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit. In a plastic baggie, mash 7 graham crackers into a fine powder (or use a food processor, but seriously–smashing them with a rolling pin is wwaaaay more fun). In a largeish bowl, sift together graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugars. I opted to skip the electric mixer and get a bicep workout, but that part’s up to you. Add in flax ‘egg’ and mix. Toss in applesauce and vanilla. Mix again. Toss wet into dry, and mix again, until just incorporated. Break up the last two graham cracker sheets into smallish pieces, and stir into the batter. Add chocolate chippies if you want—I added them to about half the batch, by sticking them into the tops of the cookies.

While the oven is heating, stick the cookie sheet into the freezer—the dough is sticky, so this makes it easier to deal with. Drop cookies onto the cookie sheet by spoonful, flattening slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch. Cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.

Eat with a milk-type bev and pretend you’re a child. Works like a charm, every time.

mmm

Southwestern-ish Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe by… me! Serves 4. This makes enough filling for 3 squashes (squashi?), so I used the leftover half for lunch today, and stuffed it with zucchini, corn, and egg, topped with a teeny bit of parmesan. Also delicious, do what suits you!

lunch, when it ended up being almost better than dinner!
  • 2 acorn squashlets
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 zucchinis, ideally warm from the sun in your garden
  • a handful or two of frozen corn, defrosted
  • a bit of fresh spinach (this is terribly specific, I know…)
  • cinnamon and curry powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wrestle the squashes to the ground and somehow attempt to cut them in half. I always seem to struggle with this… Once the squashlets are halved, brush the cut side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place cut side down onto a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender.

In a saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil and pepper. When hot, add zucchini and saute until tender. Add in black beans, corn, and spinach, and continue to saute. Toss in desired amount of cinnamon and curry powder, and stir to combine. When veggies are done, stir in monterey jack cheese before turning off the heat. Spoon the filling into the cut halves of the squash, and top with cheddar cheese. Eat whilst hot :)

Like I said above, this recipe is infinitely adaptable. Use whatever you have on hand—beans, eggs, any veggies, whatever cheese. Decidedly satisfying in any form!

this was dinner, hurriedly photographed when I decided it actually looked tasty

Close encounters of the Leek-kind

I think Salem might finally be getting out of its RIDICULOUSLY cold weather funk, hooray! I’ve scraped ice off my car before class for the last three days, but it’s lookin’ like a squeegee (that is such a great word) might suffice today. Thankfully. I mean, as much as I like treating ice scraping as a bonus early-morning workout, I’d really rather pass, thanks. Because ice in the uggs is no fun. And because when I’m trying to listen to the radio on  my way to class and the antenna is trapped in its little frozen antenna house, due to sub-artic conditions of 29 degrees, I am not a very happy camper. Although it did make me giggle, I have to say, when I heard this weird noise and turned around to see the antenna trying to fight its way up to the light and majorly struggling. We got there in the end, thankfully… Toots and I ventured out into the freezing fog, and my heater kicked in just as I was pulling into the parking lot at school. Psh. Fail.

Whatever. All this cold weather makes me want to stay inside and cook tasty things (not like I really need an excuse for this, do I?! I think I cook more than I do homework) (But a girl has to eat, RIGHT?! At least I’m doing something productive). When Kira and I were at Trader Joe’s on Sunday, we encountered LEEKS! Which is awesome. Leek is such a funny name for a veggie. I just like the way the word looks, leek leek leek leeeeeek! It’s just fun. Call me crazy, but whatever. Besides, they’re really a hilariously awkward looking veggie. I’ve never dealt with a leek up close and personal, but I’ve eaten them in soup. Which is delicious. But since we had soup at the end of last week, I wasn’t feeling super soupy… AND there was an abundance of quinoa lurking in the cabinet, clamoring to be eaten.

Close encounters of the leek-kind

So now, I can cross dealing with leeks off my to-do list (because you know it was on there, right?!)… thanks to these quinoa-leek cakes! Kira and I had them with salad for din din last night, and they were leekily delicious.

Quinoa Cakes with Leeks and Corn

Loosely adapted from Annie’s Eats, kind of. Makes 13 small cakes, about 3″ in diameter. Or you could make enormous patties…

Procure:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
  • 1 leek! Cleaned, with the green bit removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, made into crumbs
  • Frozen corn (or fresh, if you’re lucky)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic hunk (equal to one clove, I use the frozen ones from TJ’s, because they’re mess free and awesome)
  • pepper to taste

To start… Cook the quinoa! Combine 1 cup of quinoa and and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, clean the leeks! Cut off the root end and the really green bits (those are bitter and woody, you don’t want them), and then slice and dice the leeks into little bitty pieces. Put them in a bowl full of water and swish them around, to get all the grime out (this is also why you buy organic!), then drain them through a collander. Kira and I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, and the garlic clove. Set aside until cool.

When quinoa and leeks are cool: In a large bowl, combine quinoa, leeks, eggs (lightly beaten), parmesan, corn, salt, pepper, and the crumbled slice of whole wheat bread. Form into patties, and cook until they are browned and hold together, about 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan, and with a side salad :)

***Note: We both found these to be a bit on the bland side. Next time I make them (and believe me, there WILL be a next time, they were super tasty), I think I might experiment with adding some spice of some sort, like cumin (pairs well with parmesan), or something of that sort. At least more salt needs to happen, but I also think they could use a bit more flavor. We also did half our batch with corn, and loved it—next time corn is going in the whole shebang. Kira and I were also postulating that the addition of chicken sausage would be good—it would provide the saltiness/flavor that these lacked.

Quinoa up close and personal
this is what happens when you're hungry and your food is hot. steamy lens!