quinoa chili

The first time I made this I was completely shocked by how delicious it was, because let's be honest; it's vegan and it has quinoa in it. While I'm not an avid meat eater, there are a few things that I think just need meat, but I'm happy to tell you that chili is no longer one of them. I've made it twice since then, and I'm completely ok with only eating this chili for the rest of time. It's that good! Also, this yields quite a bit, and I'd be doing you a huge disservice by not mentioning that it's really good as left overs on top of a baked potato! Enjoy!





ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 anaheim (or poblano) pepper, chopped
1 belle pepper, chopped
1 serrano (or jalapeno) pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
2 tbsp masa

directions:
Rinse quinoa in a mesh or small metal strainer under cold water for about 30-60 seconds. In a small covered saucepan, add quinoa and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and leave covered. Set aside.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and saute onions, and all of the peppers until soft. Add garlic and spices, and stir. Add the can of tomato sauce, an equal amount (16 oz.) of water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans, and stir. Pour the masa flour into a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of hot water. Using a fork stir until you have little pea sized pieces of the flour. Add 1 more tbsp of hot water and stir until you have a paste. Finally, and more tbsp of hot water, and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into the chili, and stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Add the cooked quinoa. Stir, and season with salt to taste. (I usually start with 1 tsp., but always end up using 2.) Allow to cool lightly before serving. Top with whatever you'd like!

spanish salad





I know what you're thinking. "A recipe for a salad? Really?" I know salads are relatively easy to make, but if you're like me, it's not the making them that's the hard part, it's finding a good combination of things to throw together. I used to hate making salads at home, and I would only eat them when I would go out, but these days I'm making at least one (and sometimes two! gasp!) a day at home.

This salad right here has been on repeat in my house over the last couple of weeks. I can't get enough of it. It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory, which is pretty important.

As with most salads, this is versatile, and just a model, so improvise if you'd like. I even made it once with black grapes when I didn't have any figs on hand, and it was just as good!


ingredients:
mixed greens (I used a hearts of romaine and spinach)
3 figs, quartered
olive oil
sea salt
4-5 olives, halved
red onion, thinly sliced
2 slices of serrano ham, torn into pieces
manchego cheese, shaved
handful of roasted marcona almonds, sliced or roughly chopped
red wine vinaigrette*

directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place quartered figs in a baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes, and allow to cool.

Top the greens with remaining ingredients and cooled figs, and enjoy!

*I make my own vinaigrette using a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, because I like mine tangy. Toss in some cracked black pepper and sea salt, give it a little stir, and you're golden.

zucchini lasagna






I feel like I should start this post with a couple of disclaimers. First: This recipe is adapted from this one, which I made and liked, although I found it to be too juicy. Second: it is a lot of work, but I promise it's worth it.

The zucchini produces a lot of liquid, and to avoid that it is necessary to pre-cook it. Don't skip that step! It will still produce some liquid, so I like to make it a couple of hours before I plan on serving it, so the liquid has time to thicken. And like most things, it's better the next day. Enjoy! :]


ingredients:
2-3 large zucchini, sliced
olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 lb. ground italian sausage
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 jar marinara sauce
16 oz. container cottage cheese
1 egg
2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Slice your zucchini using a mandolin. Mine has three thickness settings, and I slice them on the middle one. You don't want them really thick, but you also don't want them paper thin. Set aside.

In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the shallot in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, turkey, & sausage and cook for a few minutes, until the meat is mostly cooked through. Season with salt/pepper. Add sauce and spinach, and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Set aside.

Brush zucchini slices with a small amount of olive oil, and saute in a large skillet for a minute or two on each side, until they're soft. Salt them lightly while they're cooking. As you're done with them, pile them them on a plate, and set aside.

Mix the cottage cheese, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and egg in a bowl, and set aside.

Spread enough of the sauce mixture in a baking dish to cover the bottom. Add a layer of zucchini, being sure to overlap the edges. Gently spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, and then 1/3 of the sauce mixture. Repeat.Add the remaining cottage cheese and sauce to the top of the last zucchini layer. Top with mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven heat to 400ºF, remove foil and bake for 20-30 more minutes, or until cheese is browned. Allow to cool before serving.

creamy corn/black bean salad



I made this for the first time a few weeks ago, and I've ended up making it once a week since. Using corn on the cob makes the process a little more detailed, but I love fresh corn, and it's so abundant right now in North Texas. It's such a simple dish, but it's packed full of flavor!

ingredients:

1 can black beans, rinsed
5-6 ears of corn, shucked
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder

directions:Boil the corn until it's soft, about 10 minutes. Drain, and allow to cool. Cut the corn from the cob. (tip: this doesn't make a huge mess if you place one end of the cob inside of a large bowl, so that it's upright, and cut, so that the corn coming off will just fall into the bowl.)


Stir in the black beans, onion, jalapeno, & cilantro. 


In a separate bowl whisk together the greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice & seasonings. Pour over the salad, and stir.

Serve immediately, or chilled.



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macaron ice cream sandwiches

This isn't a typical post for me, because I don't do a lot of cooking that requires the use of so much sugar, but we celebrated a birthday (Bryan's) last week, and what's a birthday without something sweet?

The idea of macaron ice cream sandwiches seemed perfect to me, because we love macarons and we love ice cream.. but it also seemed a little daunting, as I've made macarons several times without a perfect batch. In fact, I usually have more cracked shells than perfect ones. So I did my research, and crossed my fingers, and ended up with three perfect macaron ice cream sandwiches.

I think I might have started a birthday tradition!




ingredients:
2 pints of ice cream
3/4 cup of almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
10 drops of food coloring

directions:
Empty your ice cream into a long rectangle shaped container (plastic container, baking dish, loaf pan, etc. anything will do, as long as it is long enough lengthwise to cut out three slices for the filling.) flattening and smoothing it so that it's an even surface. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and place back into the freezer.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (Be sure to use parchment paper, and not a rubber/silicone mat. I've tried this both ways, and I had better luck with parchment.)

Place a round tip on a pastry bag. (Mine don't have sizes, but I use the larger one that came in my assortment.) Set aside.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a bowl. Set aside. 

In a separate, large bowl beat egg whites until frothy. Slowly add the granulated sugar, and then beat until you have stiff peaks. This should take about 5 minutes.

Sift the almond/powdered sugar mixture on top of the egg whites, add the food coloring, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold until everything is combined. Using the spatula place the mixture into the pastry bag.

Pipe onto the parchment paper, making six circles, making sure they're all the same size. Leave space between each one, because the batter will spread just a little bit. Dip your finger in water and fix any imperfections to their shape. (Re-dip your finger as often as needed, if it's not wet it won't smooth them out.)

Let the shells dry before baking them. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the humidity. They should be dry enough so that when you run your finger across the top of one, it feels smooth. (You can wet your finger and smooth back out the shell if you mess it up testing for dryness.)

Heat oven to 325ºF. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow the shells to cool completely, on the pan. Once they've cooled, remove from the parchment paper by lifting one corner of the paper, and then separate it from the shell, gently cupping the shell in your hand. Place the shell flat side down until you've removed them all from the parchment paper. 

Remove ice cream from the freezer. Turn a glass cup upside down, and cut out a piece of the ice cream. Place it on one of the shells and top it with another shell. Repeat to make the other two sandwiches. Eat immediately, or freeze.

Makes 3 sandwiches.

baked oatmeal



I will be the first to admit that baked anything in May, in Texas is absurd.. but we're having a weird spring this year, and right now (as it has been a couple of days a week, for the last few weeks) it's cold and rainy outside. This is the perfect breakfast for days like today.

Otherwise, I'll bake it at nite, and eat it cold throughout the rest of the week. Alternatively, you could heat it up in the microwave, but I don't own a microwave. It's actually pretty good cold! (And convenient if you're like me in the mornings, and can't be bothered to do much of anything because food < extra sleep.)

It's a pretty versatile recipe. You can substitute any kind of nut for the almonds, use whatever milk you'd like (coconut, almond, soy, etc.) and while I've only made it with blueberries and bananas, the fruit combinations are endless.

ingredients
1 tsp coconut oil
2 cups toasted oats
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup golden flax seed
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup chopped almonds
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup honey or agave*
1 large banana, sliced
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine)



directions
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease a baking dish with the coconut oil and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. (everything from the oats to the salt) Set aside. In another bowl beat the two eggs, and then stir in the milk, vanilla, and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the banana and blueberries and stir to combine everything. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the oats are golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

*I don't care for overly sweet breakfasts, so 1/4 of a cup of honey is perfect for me. I use ripe banana so the sweetness from that combined with the berries is just right. However, if you like your oatmeal a little on the sweeter side I would go for the 1/2 cup. 

mango lime chia smoothie




I have another delicious accident to share with you. Today I was making chia pudding when something went wrong. I'm not sure where I messed up, because I've made it before, but I ended up throwing everything in the blender and the end result was a refreshing smoothie.

I used yellow mangoes, because that's what I had on hand, but red mangoes would obviously be fine. And if you like spice, a dash of cayenne takes this to a whole new level.

Enjoy!

ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz.)
1 cup soy milk (any kind of milk will work)
1 lime, zest & juice
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 tbsp. honey or agave
2 mangoes, peeled & chopped
handful of ice


directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serves 3-4. Refrigerate any excess in a covered jar for 2-3 days.