Life is good when your taco runneth over

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FAJITASSSSS!!!!

I know, I know. They’re buried under a mountain of guac. Sorry not sorry, you gotta do what you gotta do…

Please excuse the excessive letters and capitals. I’m not shouting, promise. I’m just reeeeeally excited that I made something resembling a fajita in my own oven. Because I a) love fajitas, if you couldn’t tell and b) thought they might be too difficult or some other lazy excuse. But, I proved myself wrong.

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And in return, I got tacos. Mmmmm. With homemade guac falling out all over the place because I always break rule number one and overstuff my fajita or taco tortillas. Whatever, when your taco runneth over, life is good. I seem to have this problem with quesadillas too, their innards are always falling all over the place because I insist on shoving half the vegetable drawer into them, along with obligatory beans. You think I’m exaggerating… but actually not. I have witnesses, they can vouch for me.

Also yes. I do put chia seeds on my fajita-tacos. Because, crunchy.

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Yesterday was another day of food prep, though I definitely didn’t cook as much as last week. Split pea soup (with bacon. natch) is chillin in the fridge for dinner tonight (side note, the slow cooker is fab for these kinds of recipes), and I also did some chickpea-cashew butter- oat bars for dessert, which are pretty fab, and coming to the blog soonish, whenever I can find time and can write some chuckle-inducing thing to accompany them…

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More of this trashed-up dessert coming soon {watch this space for further developments…}.. I was channeling some Jackson Pollack ice cream styling in the above photo. Try it sometime, playing with your food is fab.

This is about as easy as it gets. Chop chop chop toss toss pour spread clank (that was putting them in the oven, ha) tick tick tick ding! boom done. Just like that, though you’ll have to provide your own sound effects…
Though I made these for a food prep day, they would actually be easy for a weeknight meal. The prep work doesn’t take long at all, especially if the chicken is already defrosted, and they finish cooking in about a half an hour, giving you plenty of time to mash up homemade guac.

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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Gluten free with corn tortillas (which is what I use). Serve with homemade guac (so-called ‘recipe’ below) for a good dose of healthy fats! Recipe serves 3 generously, with leftovers for one. Only slightly adapted from Whole Foods, here.

  • 1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ strips
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced into strips (I used red/orange/yellow)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • corn tortillas, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a large rimmed sheet pan.

In a large bowl, toss together chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, avocado oil, chili powder, and sea salt, making sure the oil and spices are decently distributed. Spread all this out onto the sheet pan, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. I like to toast my tortillas over the gas burners on the stove, but you can also wrap them in foil, and heat them in the oven during the last five minutes of cooking.

Serve with tortillas, guac, and anything else your taco-loving heart desires.

Homemade Guacamole

I mildly feel like I’m insulting your intelligence by calling this a recipe, so let’s just lay out the basics:

  • 3 large avocados
  • juice of two limes
  • garlic powder to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped

No one in my fam is a big fan of raw onions, but I do like them occasionally in guac — let red onions marinate in the lime juice prior to making the guac, which takes away a bit of their bite. I didn’t use them here, but go ahead if that’s your thing!

In a bowl, mash together avocados and lime juice. I like to leave my guac chunky, but you do you. Stir in garlic powder and sea salt to taste, followed by the tomatoes. Store in a covered container in the fridge to prevent browning, and eat on EVERYTHING. This amount serves 3, plus leftovers for one (or at least that’s what happened in my family…).

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Because sardines and brownies totally go together?! Uh. No. Just go with it.

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Food prep Sunday has returned in all it’s fridge-filling glory. And actually this week I literally went from empty empty fridge to stuffed fridge. Which is exactly how a Sunday night fridge should look, because Mondays are bad enough as it is without being irked by a lack of edible things.

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I do kind of love having an emptyish fridge — it forces me to get creative and use what I have. And it is definitely not a bad thing to cook down your fridge / freezer / pantry periodically. I had some epic meals at the end of last week, all full of new veggie combinations, as I was working with what I had. There was a deplorable lack of produce after Friday night though, so today I had a glorious Sunday of yoga, grocery shopping, and several hours of food prep. Ahhh. And then dinner and movie and dessert with the purring snugglepuss. Me-time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Also, yesterday was date day in Santa Cruz with E! AND OMG I DISCOVERED CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

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I mean, I’d had a bacon chocolate bar and have made bacon brownies… but a piece of bacon!!!! Covered in chocolate!!!! Amazing. And simple to make for myself… but let’s not. I would eat.it.all. But anyway, chocolate covered bacon. I highly recommend it.

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Back to what I was sort of talking about in a rambly fashion — food prep Sunday! Today I did a crockpot red lentil dal with ginger and curry, which will probably last me a week (I made a literal VAT), roasted radishes for later in the week, made a new batch of nut butter and cashew meal, baked a batch of vegan spelt brownies with a tahini-maple swirl (omg.save me from myself and the whole pan), and a sardine ragu over zucchini noodles and greens. Which, depending on your point of view, could be the best thing ever or the most disgusting. Obviously, I fall into the former camp, but hey. We can’t all be the same, or this would be one boring universe.

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But even if sardines straight out the can with a little mustard (and avo) isn’t your thing (ahem. not like I do that or anything), I’m advocating for you to give this ragu a shot.

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The sardines are simmered in red wine and tomato sauce, which tames their sardine-yness. I do love them, but I’ll admit they can be a little much sometimes (I really have to be in the mood for them). But in the sauce, they’re much milder. I served the sauce over some sautéed mushrooms and zucchini noodles with greens, and shredded a little goat cheddar over the top (Redwood Hill Farms is my favorite!! Their cheese is spectacular). Highly recommended, and in my lunch for work tomorrow (because this just gets better and better as the flavors do the leftover tango). This is reason number five billion why food prep days are so spectac: Lunches for at least the first half of the week, so I can be not hangry and cranky for the start of the week.

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Enough babble. It’s Sunday night and time for bed so I can be something less than a zombie come five am tomorrow. And this post is enough of a novel already, so on that note… recipeeeez!

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Vegan Spelt Brownies with Tahini Swirl

These brownies are much cakier than my usual brownies, so if cakey brownies are your jam, you’re in the right spot. I usually like mine fudgier, but these are great for a change. The maple tahini swirl is freaking fantastic as well, so if you like halva or just sesame in general, these are right up your alley. Vegan, refined sugar free, and delicious. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan, anywhere from 6 to 12 brownies, depending on what kind of day you’ve just had. Adapted from Love Me, Feed Me, here!

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  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • a very full 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease (or use parchment) an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, applesauce, maple, and avo oil. Stir to roughly combine. Add in hemp milk and chocolate chips, and mix until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together tahini and maple syrup. Practice your drizzle skills and make it look pretty as your pour it over the top of the batter… take a knife (or the spoon you’re currently using, if you’re lazy like me) and swirl it into the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely, and store covered in the fridge.

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And now for something completely different….

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Sardine Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savory, perfectly textured, and full of healthy fats and lycopene. All good things! Gluten free, low lactose (with goat cheese), and high in antioxidants. If you can, try to eat this on subsequent days — I find that the flavor just gets better and better. Yield: 3-4 servings. Ish. Recipe inspired by Spoonshine blog, here!

  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, frozen or smooshed
  • 3 rainbow carrots, diced
  • 2 cans of sardines, packed in oil (I like Wild Planet brand)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese of choice, optional
  • spiralized zucchini + sautéed mushrooms and greens for serving, or your fave pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add in onions, and garlic with a few twists of sea salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add in diced carrots, sardines (Including their oil), tomato sauce and paste, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and add the freshly boiled water.

Keeping the sauce at a high simmer, let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. It should be reduced and thicker, like the consistency of a meat ragu. Once the sauce has reduced, taste and season accordingly — add the tbsp of balsamic, plus more oregano or thyme, or salt and pepper (or all four).

Serve over zucchini noodles or your noodle of choice, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or goat cheese over the top.

Here’s a little ommm to take into your Monday:

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:)

Brain mush.

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I think I’m just really obsessed with mushy food.

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What a nice way to start a blog post about FOOD, right?? Like, I’m trying to get peeps to keep reading the post, not click off immediately…

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But seriously. Mushy food is my jam. I like oatmeal SO MUCH that it gets me out of bed in the morning. For reals. I lay there going ‘ughghghh it’s dark and whyyyy and I know I have to but uhhhgggh’ and then it hits me… I get OATMEAL for breakfast. And I’m out of my bed like a shot. This is true life, I’m not kidding. It actually works. Every. Single. Morning. And I will be just as excited about it tomorrow as I was yesterday. Or the day before that. Or… well. You get the idea.

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And applesauce. And buckwheat. And any type of porridgy thing besides oatmeal. Is this weird??

I’m making the executive decision that it’s not. Because lentils can also be mushy but lentils are DELICIOUS. Stupidly so. And sooo easy. And cheap. And nutritious so what’s not to like?!

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Also. Too much studying of useless math and endless hours revising grad school app essays have turned my brain into mush so maybe that’s why I’m so fixated on mushy food today? Whatever. I made this for dinner yesterday and it was mushy and delicious and really, calling it mushy is really kind of mean because it is SO delicious. Let’s call it… creamy. And unctuous. And lentily. Spicy, comforting, soul food. There we go. That’s far better than mushy. It has character. I like my food to have character.

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Red Lentil Dal with Creamy Coconut Buckwheat

Gluten free, vegan, full of delicious grains and healthy carbs, and inflammation-fighting turmeric. Serve hot or cold—I like it as cold leftovers the next day. Recipe serves four easily, with leftovers. Buckwheat is my own method, dal adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the buckwheat:

  • 1 c buckwheat groats, rinsed
  • 2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • salt to taste

For the Dal:

  • heaping 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • heaping 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 3 c water
  • 2 carrots, chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • a few grates of pepper
  • chopped Persian cucumber, roasted cashews, pepitas, unsweetened coconut for garnish

Buckwheat is amazing: In a medium sized saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Once boiling, dump in buckwheat groats, cover, and turn down to a simmer. I usually add a few sprinkles of sea salt here (and more to taste after it’s finished cooking).  Let the groats simmer until they have absorbed most of the liquid, about 30 minutes (though I never set a timer; I just check it periodically. Groats should retain their chewy texture when fully cooked). Add salt if needed. Buckwheat tends to thicken up as it sits, so I usually turn it off when there is just a bit of liquid left.

What is a grain without a friendly topping?? For the dahl: heat avocado oil in a medium saucepan. Add in onion, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, and cumin and sauté until the onions are translucent. If the spices start sticking, add a splash of water—I find it helpful to stir the onions relatively frequently. Add in lentils, coconut milk, water, and diced carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (Stirring occasionally is probs good). Uncover, add salt (more to taste if that’s your jam) and let simmer for about 20 minutes more. Turn off the heat, let it sit and thicken for a few minutes more.

Serve over buckwheat, with veggie of choice and fave garnishes. I like chopped cashews and pepitas+cucumber and coconut. Leftovers are excellent cold or reheated the next day.

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So called weirdness is now accepted normalcy

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Shut the front door. A SAVORY thing?!

No.

Can’t be.

But wait… it is!!!

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ENCHILADAS!!!

Or more accurately…

Lentiladas!!

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So dubbed by my work besties when I trotted these babies into work the other day all ecstatic like “guys guys guys!! I have homemade enchiladas for lunch and guess what?! They’re vegan and made with lentils!!” and they all looked at me with ‘well duh!!’ expressions, closely followed by some comments to the effect of “since when would we expect YOU to bring normal enchiladas with you?! That would just be weird and we’d be concerned”. Typical. You know, I might even love my work peeps more than lentils. Which is unfortunate as my last day there is the 30th of this month [I am moving on to beekeeping (!!!), more on that later]… I will miss you, loyal work peeps who proudly nicknamed me Lentil! Good thing we can still hang out like real life friends…

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So anyway. I brought lentiladas to work and everyone expected it. Obviously my weirdness has just become normalcy.

I also made naturally green cookies (to be posted shortlyish) and no one even batted an eye. My work here is done.

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Vegan Lentiladas with Salsa Verde

Vegan, gluten free (with gluten free tortillas, mine were corn+wheat). Fast, totally accessible for a weeknight dinner. I used store-bought salsa and enchilada sauce—next time I might try making my own sauce and not being such a bum. But whatever. The leftovers are excellent reheated– my yield was about 10 enchiladas, which made plenty of delicious leftovers. The recipe is slightly adapted from Hummusapien, here!

  • 1/2 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours(ish)
  • 3/4 c dry green lentils+2 c water for cooking
  • 1/2 c salsa verde + extra for serving
  • 1/2 a bell pepper, diced (mine was yellow)
  • 5-6 good sized white mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in a bit of olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 double handfuls of mixed greens (Mine was chard+kale+spinach)
  • 12 corn blue corn tortillas
  • 16 oz green enchilada sauce*
  • avo!! for serving. Obvi.

*this was the size of the jar I had—-it was delicious and was definitely not too much liquid. If you have an 8 oz can, that is also fine.

Cook yo’ lentils! I always use dried, as they’re super cheap in the bulk section and are very easy to cook—-bring water to a boil, dump in lentils, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until they’re soft. Aaaaaanndddd… done!

Drain soaking cashews. In a food processor, process soaked cashews and 1/2 c salsa verde until nearly smooth. Add in lentils, diced bell pepper, sautéed mushrooms, sea salt, cayenne, and cumin. Process until combined. Add in mixed greens and process a bit more till everything is incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350, and locate some kind of 9 by 13 pan. Pour about half of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan. Take each tortilla and fill it lengthwise down the center with filling. Roll it up, and place it seam side down in the pan. If it breaks, who cares? It’ll be covered in sauce anyway…
Once all the tortillas are filled and nestled in next to their friends, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, and let cool for a few before serving. Serve with extra salsa and avo! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Jessie thinks they're awesome too…

Jessie thinks they’re awesome too…

Vat o’soup Monday

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I just love vat o’soup Mondays.

Such a satisfying feeling to know that I have leftovers for DAYS. And besides, it was my favorite kind of day (overcast, rainy) so obviously soup was a must. Because everyone knows that soup+cornbread+rain are like the three musketeers.

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Don’t be fooled by what looks to be a large amount of space in that pot… it is a MASSIVE pot. I can practically fit in it.

Also…

Happy Fat Tuesday! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Not that anything I’m posting about has to do with Mardi Gras… perhaps I should have made pancakes. Oops. Whatever, at least this happened this weekend (in typical Mardi Gras indulgent fashion):

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Sorry I’m not even a little bit sorry! Ha.

And this food happened to be pretty. So here you go. I’m not even going to dignify that with a recipe though, it’s stupid simple. Beans+avo+cucumber+salasa=lunch. *Someone* was apparently feeling lazy…

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But anyway. SOUP!

Butternut Squash, Pinto Bean Soup with Ginger and Nutmeg

This is one of those “let’s see what’s in the fridge that needs to be used” type of soups, which incidentally are my favorite kind. This one is primarily butternut squash, pinto bean, and carrot—it has overtones of nutmeg and ginger. Mmm. I won’t lay this out as a “recipe” per say… but it’s a waitarethosecookies original, and it’s delicious. I never measure when I’m making soup, so bear with me. As always, adjust to taste as suits your tastebuds!

It’s kind of even ridiculous for me to even try to quantify this into a recipe, but whatever. You get the gist and improvising is fun! Have at it.

Things you sorta kinda should have, but can probably fake it without them anyway:

  • 1 large +1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • some carrots
  • olive oil
  • seasonings (Salt, pepper, fresh ginger, fresh+dried sage, nutritional yeast, nutmeg)
  • chicken stock (or veggie), about 4 cups worth
  • 3 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2-3 c greens, roughly chopped

Ooookay let’s do the soup thang!

Halve butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut side down on a cutting board and bake for 30 minutes at 375. Take squash out, flip over and let cool until you can scoop out the puree without burning yourself.

In a large soup pot, saute an onion in a good glug of olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper, minced fresh sage (3 leaves), a sprinkle of dried sage, and about a tsp of diced fresh ginger. Toss in 3 or 4 good sized carrots, diced. Let all that cook until the onions are translucent, then add butternut squash puree and about 4 c of chicken stock. Puree the whole thing with an immersion blender.

Slice up a few potatoes reeeeally thinly, and add them in. Let the soup simmer until the potatoes are soft, then add two cans of pinto beans (well rinsed), 1/4 c nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, salt to taste, 1 c cooked green peas, and 2-3 c roughly chopped greens. Simmer until the greens are wilted, then serve hot. I like mine with chopped up cashews and walnuts+pepitas, because you know it’s all about texture!

Makes excellent leftovers, clearly…

Also.. cookies and a good book are always a good choice.

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Polarizing little green nuggets

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BRUSSELS!

Yeah, I know. This is exactly what you want to see on a Sunday afternoon. But too bad.

These might be one of the most polarizing foods ever. Love them? Hate them? You probably fall into one of these camps—I doubt there are many who are ambivalent towards the little green nuggets…

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I love them. Obviously. It’s my blog… why would I post about something I hated? Weird. Anyway.. I digress. I *used* to hate brussel sprouts… probably because the first time I ate them I believe they were boiled, and I STILL think that’s a nasty way of preparing them. Ewww. Soggy brussels. Ain’t nobody go time for that.

So I don’t do that. I roast them! And then toss them in things that make them even more delicious. I’m not really sure when I discovered I liked them though, which is odd. I have a wildly specific food memory (like, maybe too specific. Surely that brain space could be used for something slightly more productive than remembering exactly what I ate at any given time/place/vacation/noteworthy event?! Whatever. At least the grey matter is occupied and amusing itself, right?). So anyway. My Saturday morning was spent roasting brussels and doing yoga (what a shocking combination if you know me, NOT), and then this morning after doing (you’ll never guess) MORE YOGA (!!) I ate more of them. And it’s raining!! Win, win, win.

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And also this morning I made some grain free banana bread, which is incidentally delicious but also half of it stuck to the pan so oops I had to eat a bunch of it because now it’s crumbs and hello, crumbs are designed to be eaten. Maybe I’ll make a habit of not fully greasing my pans from now on just to create crumbs, muahhaa. No not really. But kind of amusing to contemplate…

Anyway. Happy Sunday! Here are some brussels to distract you from whatever you need to be distracted from.

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Stoneground Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This might seem like kind of a weird combo to start off with, but stick with me, I promise they’re delicious. I used two bags of Trader Joe’s organic brussels, each about 14 oz I think. Recipe serves 3, with a bit left over. Gluten free, vegan.

  • 2 bags of brussel sprouts, halved/quartered and with yuck ends trimmed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grade B organic maple syrup
  • 2 tsp stoneground mustard

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Preheat oven to 400.
Prep brussel sprouts by trimming off the yuck end, and halving or quartering them depending on how big they are. Some of the outer leaves can be a little tough and usually come off as you trim them, which is fine. Toss sprouts with avocado oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until all are evenly coated. Distribute the sprouts onto a rimmed cookie sheet, flipping them so that they are cut-side down. Roast for 15 minutes, then take the tray out and flip them over to the other side. They should be nicely browned and starting to caramelize! Roast them for another 13-15 minutes, then take them out to cool slightly.

While the sprouts are roasting, whisk together olive oil, maple, and mustard in a smallish bowl. Transfer the sprouts to a larger bowl, and drizzle the dressing over all of them, tossing to combine and evenly coat them. Serve hot! Yum yum yum.

These are good. Promise. Even if you hate brussel sprouts, you should at least give them a try… they’re good for you! And delicious (I know I know, to each his or her own..)

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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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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 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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