Cam’s Vegan Quinoa Salad (DF, GF)

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Cameron is brilliant with a grain salad. He makes one almost every week for a quick plant based lunch. I’ve been craving quinoa and this salad is crazy good - so different than anything I’d make or think of. It’s gluten free, too. 

It’s good served warm or cold.  

Serves 4.  

Cam’s Quinoa Salad 

1 cup uncooked quinoa (red or white)  

juice of one lemon  

1 apple, cored, diced (try Fuji or Gala)

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon maple syrup  

3/4 cup pecans, raw and toasted or roasted 

1 14oz tin black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil

s + p, to taste  

In a medium sauce pan, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and cook about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, toss apples and shallot in lemon juice and pinch of salt. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add maple syrup. Add cooked quinoa, pecans, black beans and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil, sesame oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. 

Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Somehow, I became a breakfast person. It started off as a smoothie and piece of toast type thing but has turned into a full on demand for tasty, healthy breakfast food every morning. I have a couple go-tos in rotation that I'll be sharing soon. I'll start with this tropical pina colada inspired oatmeal. It's pretty quick but feels impressive for some reason. (I think it's the garnish.) 

I used coconut milk beverage (the boxed stuff) and it's good but a can of full fat or light coconut milk and a bit of water would be even better with more body and a stronger coconut flavor. I also used quick oats because it's what I had but the recipe can be made with old fashioned oats, they will just have to be cooked longer. See instructions on packaging for reference when cooking. 

serves 2.

Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal

2 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple, plus more for topping

dash cinnamon

dash salt

dash vanilla extract

1 cup quick cooking gluten free oats

2 tablespoons maple syrup

toppings: toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped pistachios or pecans, berries, chia seeds

Combine milk, pineapple, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a 2 qt sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Stir in oats. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until oats are tender, about 2 minutes. Add maple syrup. Portion into bowls and add toppings. 

Falafel Roasted Chickpeas (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Did you know you can roast chickpeas to make a crispy, crunchy snack? Until recently, I did not. I had these falafel chickpea snacks awhile ago that got me thinking I could make them my own. If you read Meats and Sweets, you might have noticed that I really like to recreate foods I've had elsewhere, at home. This is especially great with packaged or processed food since home made versions are generally healthier and are free of weird undesirable ingredients. The chickpea snack that inspired me to make these, had canola oil which I avoid. By making my own, I was able to choose which oil I wanted. 

As I mentioned in my hummus post: 

You can use canned chickpeas but I strongly suggest using dried chickpeas. This recipe works for 1 can drained chickpeas or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas which is a half cup of dried chickpeas. To make prepare the dried chickpeas: measure out 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas and soak them in room temperature water overnight. They will absorb a lot of water during soaking so make sure they are covered with at least 2 inches of water. If you're short on time, use the quick soak method. For this method, add beans to a pot and cover with 2" water. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let soak for 1 hour. After soaking, drain beans. They will now need to cook, as soaking only rehydrates the beans. 

To cook, place in pot of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 1.5 - 2 hours. Just start testing them for tenderness at the 1.5 hour mark. Just start testing them for tenderness at the 1.5 hour mark. Once done, drain. Chickpeas are now ready. 

Falafel Chickpeas

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaf 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

First, dry chickpeas. Either leave the drained, cooked chickpeas out on a kitchen towel overnight or use a food dehydrator for about 30 minutes or let them dry out in the preheating oven for about 15 minutes. They must be dry in order to become crispy. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a bowl, mix cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, fenugreek, black pepper and paprika. Add oil and mix. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Arrange evenly on prepared baking tray. Bake 20 minutes or until crisp. Turn pan once halfway through baking. Cool before eating. 

Sushi Bowls (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Let's think of this more as a serving suggestion than as a recipe. I made these after my week of tempura. I kept these really simple but they would be great served with fish or tofu. Something about the cucumber, avocado, carrot and rice is just like a vegan deconstructed seaweed free california roll. Seaweed and I are not friends so this is perfect. 

You can make everything and then portion it into single serving containers for an easy lunch. Just wait on the avocado and tamari. For those it's best to wait until serving. I used 1/2 an avocado for each serving. 

The lettuce is optional. I just like to make sure I'm getting enough green veggies. You can chop it and treat this like a salad or use the leaves as wraps. 

The best part of this is the sushi rice. Sushi rice is much more than just a type of short grain white rice, it also requires its own method of preparation. Don't worry, its easy. And super delicious, I could eat sushi rice by the sticky handful except I don't because #willpower. 

4-5 servings. 

Vegan Sushi Bowls

1.5 cups sushi rice

rice vinegar, to taste

salt, to taste

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

2 english cucumber, cut into matchsticks

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced

1 head romaine lettuce, leaves only

pickled ginger

sesame seeds

tamari soy sauce, for serving

In a covered medium sauce pan, bring rice and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce to low and let cook until water is evaporated, about 20 minutes. Transfer rice to a large shallow bowl, stir with rice paddle and fan to cool. Season with small splashes of rice vinegar and tiny sprinkling or salt. Keep stirring, seasoning and tasting until smooth rice flavor is subtle balanced with the salt and vinegar. Portion rice into bowls. Top with carrots, cucumber, avocado slices, lettuce, pickled ginger. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce. 

Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies (Vegan, GF, DF)

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As you can probably tell from my posts, I don't eat many sweets or sugar anymore. I try to limit my sugar intake to only fruit which means not a lot of baked sweets happening around here. I prefer to 'save' my sugar indulgences for things like coconut ice cream or a piece of vegan layer cake. Treating it as a rare, special occasion thing has helped changed my sweet tooth to a healthy tooth. You'll notice most of my dessert recipes are sugar free, use natural sugars like maple syrup or are sweetened with a fruit. 

These cookies are made without sugar and sweetened only with a banana and the dried cranberries. 

Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies

1 mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup quick GF oats

2 tablespoons dried cranberries 

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tablespoon chopped pecans

dash cinnamon and nutmeg

pinch salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Use a tablespoon to portion 8 cookies onto prepared baking tray. Cookies will not flatten or expand during baking so flatten them into round cookie shapes. Bake 15 minutes. Remove. Cool. 

Detox Vegetable Soup (Vegan, GF, DF, Paleo)

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So, summer is juuuuuuuust about over, isn't it? Instead of quietly crying into my pillow, I though I'd make a bright tomato based, vegetable heavy soup. I wanted something that was healthy but filling which this soup is thanks to all of the veggies. Vibrant, fresh produce always reminds me of warm summer farmer's markets, long sunny days and great meals. 

Serves 8. 

Vegetable Soup

splash olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 small fennel bulb, cored and sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

2 quarts vegetable stock

4 cups shredded green cabbage

1.5 cup chopped green beans

2 cups chopped broccoli

2 cups chopped zucchini

s + p 

squeeze of lemon juice

In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and garlic, cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, fennel, thyme, basil tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Add cabbage, green beans, broccoli and zucchini. Simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 

Ramen Soup Jars (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Aka your new favorite lunch. Who doesn't love a cute little jar lunch. It's so portable and easy to eat anywhere. All you need is hot water. You can definitely change customize these to your liking. Want spice? Add a bit of chile paste or hot chile oil. Want carbs? Add a ton of noodles. 

I'm calling these ramen jars but you can definitely make them with out noodles for a lighter, grain free meal. You can't see them in the photos, but we used these aip friendly Shirataki noodles. They are a dried noodle, made from tapioca starch, konica powder, calcium and citric acid. They taste just like a glass noodle. I found these at whole foods but they are also available online.  Feel free to use any noodle you like but precook them if they will need more than a few minutes in hot water to cook. 

Just remember when you're prepping the vegetables that everything in the jar is cooked by pouring boiling water into the jar, sealing and letting it sit for a few minutes. This means that everything should be sliced small and thin. 

Here's grocery list what you will need to make 8 jars:

4 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2" knob fresh ginger, grated

4 cups thinly sliced green beans (about 1#)

4 cups chopped broccoli, in bite sized pieces

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup miso paste

1/2 cup tamari soy sauce

1/3 cup sesame oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

noodles, amount is up to you, I used 8 shirataki dried noodle nests.

Here's the recipe for ONE jar:

Vegan Ramen + Vegetable Jar

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 scant tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1 tablespoon corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1 serving of noodles (cooked or uncooked - see note above)

Line up 8 clean glass jars with lids. Fill each jar with the above ingredients. Seal and store in fridge. When ready to serve, fill jar with hot water. Stir, to loosen miso paste. Replace lid and shake lightly to mix ingredients. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove lid and enjoy. 

Kimchi Soup (vegan, paleo, GF, DF)

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I think I have a soup addiction. I made this earlier in the week after returning to Brooklyn from a weekend in Ithaca to a house with almost no food. I keep meaning to freeze a pint or two of each soup I make so that I'm not caught with nothing to eat but I never remember. 

Luckily, my mom sent us back here with a bunch of veggies from her garden and the local farmer's market. The haul also included a new jar of kimchi. Cameron had mentioned an idea for a kimchi soup earlier in the week and after a quick fridge inventory, I realized we had everything we needed for a healthy, late summer vegetable kimchi soup. (Thanks, mom!)

This is a great fridge clean out recipe since it will work with most stocks and vegetables. I happened to have corn, carrots, zucchini, kale and green beans but most other vegetable would work too.

Kimchi Soup

small splash oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

small 1" knob ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic clove, grated

1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2 cup kimchi with liquid (I chopped mine first) 

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped green beans

1 cup chopped carrots

3/4 cup corn kernels 

1 cup chopped kale

s + p, to taste

Warm oil in a pot, over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring frequently. Add stock, kimchi, tamari zucchini, green beans, carrots and corn. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Time will depend on how thin vegetables are, these took about 8 minutes. Stir in kale. Season to taste. 

Irish Vegetable Stew (Vegan, GF)

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As much as I like the plant based diet, it left a void in the slow cooked braised, stewed soup department - which is a big department! We made a slow cooked roast, beef stew type thing about twice a month. Even though it's summer, I wanted a plant based version of my favorite comfort food. 

I have two words for you: tomato paste and gluten free stout beer. More than 2 words but you get the idea. These things are magical together. Browning the tomato paste and deglazing with the stout create a beautiful base for the stew. Vegetarian or not, you will not even miss the meat in this thick, gluten free stew. 

I can't wait to make it again. It's good on it's own but also over cooked spaghetti squash. 

Get a gluten free stout like Murphy's. If gluten isn't a concern you can use any stout just keep n mind that if you use a chocolate stout or coffee stout, that flavor will be incorporated into the stew. 

Serves 6-8.

Irish Vegetable Stew

splash olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup tomato paste

4 ribs celery, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

10 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 plantains, peeled, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

1 bottle gluten free stout

1 quart vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups green beans, chopped

s + p, to taste

splash apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, to taste

In a 6 qt stock pot, over medium high heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and brown, stirring as needed, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and brown. Stir as needed, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms, plantains, bay, thyme and sage. 

Add stout. It will bubble, scrap up any bits from bottom of pot if you can. Add stock. Bring to boil. reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes. Add greens beans and cook, 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and about 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. 

Black Bean + Kale Tacos with Pepita Cilantro Salsa (Vegan, GF)

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Here's a healthy option to get your taco fix. Garlicky kale and cumin scented black beans in a soft corn tortilla. Cameron and I had these for lunch a few times last week and they were so good. I love it when I eat lunch and get a nice kick of energy. These will give you that. 

The salsa almost didn't make it to the tacos because I ended up eating about half of it with some tortillas that I had over crisped to the point of making chips. If you eat it all or skip it altogether, feel free to substitute any jarred salsa. I'd recommend a bright tomatillo one.

Serves 8.

Black Bean + Kale Tacos

olive oil, as needed

2 14oz tins black beans, rinsed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

s + p, to taste

10 cups of chopped kale, about 2 bunches

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

juice of one lemon

corn tortillas, about 16

Pepita Cilantro Salsa

1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons

pinch ground cumin

pinch salt

In a medium sauce pan, warm oil over medium heat. Stir in cumin, oregano and chile powder. Add black beans and two tablespoons of water. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 15 minutes. 

In a 12" saute pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add kale, cover and cook 2 minutes. Strain. Return to stove over medium heat. Push steamed kale to on side of the pan. On the empty side, heat a splash of olive oil. Cook garlic in oil, stirring frequently. Do not brown, just cook to soften, about 1-2 minutes should do. Stir in the kale. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper

To make the salsa: combine pepitas, cilantro, water, oil, lime juice, cumin and salt. Blend until smooth. 

To assemble: spoon beans, kale and salsa onto toasted tortillas. 

To store: keep beans, kale and tortillas separate, building as needed. When packing lunch, I scoop 1/3 cup beans and 1/2 cup kale into a container and top with salsa and pack 3 tortillas separately. At lunch time, I assemble the tacos just before eating so they don't get soggy. 

 

Plant Based Life and Diet

I'm vegan now? I am and so is Cameron. Chibi is staying an omnivore. 

I know there's been a bit of radio silence around here for the past two weeks. Let me fill you in on this new change. I was vegetarian for years - mostly because I didn't like the taste or texture of most meats. My only previous experience eating vegan was for about a week in eighth grade. I was hoping to lose weight that I definitely did not have nor need to lose. This pretty much had the opposite effect as I just ate bread for the entire week. Thirteen year old me was not my most logical self. 

As an avid Paleo/AIP person and lover of meat, a vegan diet never even on the table. It never crossed my mind and I did not consider it something I would ever elect to do. 

But then I watched What the Health, a food documentary about the impact animal based diets have on our health. The film points to research stating that eating meat, dairy and eggs directly contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I've seen food documentaries and read books on the related subjects but this one was riveting. I'm not going to go into but just watch it. No matter what your eating habits are, it will get youl thinking seriously about what your own diet is doing for you.  

There have been many changes since I started living the plant based life. First, I've lost weight. Not a lot, more of a de-puffing, especially in my legs, stomach and hips. My skin is looking better. Both my energy and mood are great. I feel good. 

Still following my own version of AIP: no gluten, eggs, refined sugar, processed food, very little nightshades, only the occasional grain and now no meat and fish. For me, it wasn't too difficult or a switch since I usually only eat meat once a day, don't like eggs and already avoid dairy. I think the best way to start eating a plant based diet is to just do it. You can always try it for a month and see how you feel. We are trying it for the next indefinite long while and will see how it goes. Even though this is what feels right for me now, it may not be next year. Trying new things - even what makes us uncomfortable - and being open to new ideas is what helps us grow.

Strangely, it has not been difficult. I've learned I really like vegetables. A plate of crudités and guacamole or a big salad are my new favorite lunches. When I'm hungry and imagine a meal it's a big pile of veggies cooked however sounds good. Maybe a stir fry or grilled veg tacos.

After I eat, I feel energized and ready for whatever is next. This is the way I want food to make me feel. Fueled. You can roll your eyes at this one but my healthy plates of food are beautiful with their bright, vivid colors. I love opening up my lunch container and seeing these crazy pinks, oranges, greens and so on. Simple joys, you know? 

If you asked me a month ago about how switching to a vegan diet would go for me I would have told you I'd really miss meat. The strange this is that I don't. Sometimes I get a feeling for a slice of pizza or nachos (because don't we all) but I want a vegan version. Isn't pizza with only crust, tomato sauce and a pile of veggie toppings just as satisfying and delicious as one that has cheese? Cameron is silent when I asked him this question but I think I'm right. It's mentioned in What The Health that meat and dairy are addictive substances. Once you eat it, you just want more. I feel this is true. Since stopping, I don't want it which is truly, surprising as I'm very food minded.

We're still prepping our meals and batch cooking. Eat week, we shop for and prep:

Breakfast: Something like a fruit bowl, smoothie, gf avocado toast. I've also been on a homemade unsweetened coconut yogurt making kick and have been eating that with pomegranate seeds for breakfast all week.

Lunch: It's usually a salad for me and a grain bowl for Cameron. This week we made black bean and kale tacos with a cilantro pepita salsa. Recipe coming soon!

Dinner: Probably a soup. Sometimes a stir fry, curry or something fun like steamed artichokes and veggie fritters.

Yum! Who's getting hungry? 

Thinking about trying out a plant based diet? To get started do a kitchen clean out, start a vegan recipes Pinterest board, pick up a new cookbook or two and make yourself a long list of vegan things you might want to cook for yourself. This is what I did and it was very helpful. 

What does this mean for Meats and Sweets? Well, I'm keeping the name. And as far as recipes go, I'm looking forward to sharing new, healthy, gluten free, plant based recipes that are still Paleo and AIP friendly. 

In the meantime, here are some favorite vegan recipes: 

Mac + 'Cheese' 

Mac + 'Cheese' 

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Brownies

Brownies

Veggie Soup

Veggie Soup

Golden Cauliflower

Golden Cauliflower

Pesto Portobello Salad

Pesto Portobello Salad

Summer Cabbage + Vegetable Soup (Paleo, Vegan, GF, DF)

Generally, I don't eat nightshades because I have a sensitivity to them. I have, however, reintroduced potatoes and haven't had any issues with a bite of tomato something here and there. Also, it's summer and I'm dying for a beautiful summer vegetable soup with a tomato base.

If I'm being truly honest on why I made this soup (and the healthy meatballs posted previously) it's because I've been eating very poorly and not exercising. Which if you know me, is crazy because I love healthy a healthy meal and a good workout. I know exactly where things went wrong. I took a little trip to Raleigh, NC at the end of May and ate everything I could get my biscuit hoarding hands on. (Seriously, so many biscuits!) 

While it was a great trip, I returned to Brooklyn puffy as I like to call it. Somewhere around that time I lost the will to get myself to the gym. Honestly, I think I was bored with going to the same place every weekday. So I continued on with this lazy girl routine and things got a bit wider and squishier

This week is totally different. Poof! I'm excited to establish a new routine of running outside every morning, saying 'no thank you' to unhealthy foods and cooking delicious, nutritious food for Cameron and myself. It's a good feeling. 

Does this happen to anyone else? What do yo do to shake things up when your off your healthy game? 

Serves 8. 

Cabbage + Vegetable Soup

splash olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 carrots, peeled, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

2 quarts vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

4 cups shredded cabbage

2 cups chopped green beans

1 summer squash, chopped

juice of one lemon

s + p, to taste

In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil until soft and glossy, about 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, stock, oregano and basil. Bring to a boil, add cabbage. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Stir in green beans and squash, cook 5 minutes more. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Khao Soi (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I really like this soup. Something about thai flavors lately. Every week my grocery bag comes home with lemongrass, ginger, garlic and coconut milk. It feels like I'm eating takeout but it's all home cooked. The beauty of batch cooking, right? 

Recipe adapted from Lazy Cat Kitchen. I love that name. 

Makes about 6 servings. 

Khao Soi Soup

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2" ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (stems or leaves)

2 lemongrass stalks, tough leaves removed, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon madras curry powder

3 tablespoons water

1 butternut squash, peeled, diced

2 stalks broccoli, peeled, in bite sized pieces

1 1/2 cup chopped green beans

4 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 quart vegetable stock

1 14 oz tin full fat coconut milk

28 oz water

1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos

juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt

cilantro, for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. Toss squash with a splash of oil, arrange on one tray. Toss broccoli with splash of oil, arrange on the other tray. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and beginning to blacken, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Combine garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemongrass, shallots, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and water in the bowl of a food processor. Puree to a paste. 

In a pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over a high flame. Add paste and cook until slightly browned, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, coconut milk, water, peppercorn sachet and carrots. Boil, reduce to a simmer. Add green beans. Skim off any foam from surface. Simmer until greenbeans and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add roasted broccoli and squash. Stir in fish sauce, tamari, lime juice and maple syrup. Salt to taste. Serve with noodles, zoodles, rice or enjoy on it's own. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves. 

Lentil Soup (Vegan, GF, DF)

This is a very loving soup. It's comforting, healthy and very adaptable. I make it all the time and I think it's about the third time I've posted a lentil soup on here but it's been awhile. Each time I make lentil soup, I like to tweak it a little bit. Sometimes it's full of cumin, marmite, tamari & sesame or garam masala - like this one. 

It's hard to resist the warm spiced notes of garam masala - an Indian spice blend. I took things a bit further with a dash of sesame oil,squeeze of lemon and splash of apple cider vinegar, You'll know when the seasoning is right because all the flavors will pop and brighten. 

I strongly prefer chicken stock for my lentil soup but vegetable stock is great too if you're looking to keep things vegetarian. If you're in comfort food mode and you eat nightshades, a potato does something wonderful in here. Chop it up and add it with the lentils. 

Makes about 8 servings. 

Simple Lentil Soup

splash olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 1/2 cup french green lentils, rinsed

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, chopped

s + p

lemon juice, to taste (about 1 lemon)

sesame oil, to taste (about 1.5 teaspoons)

apple cider vinegar, to taste (about 1 tablespoon)

In a pot, over medium low heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft and glossy, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, bay, thyme, garam masala, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Add collard greens. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, sesame oil and apple cider vinegar. 

Almost Mac + Cheese (GF, DF, Vegan)

I've been dying for mac n cheese but just couldn't bring myself to cheat. After coming across a forgotten jar of nutritional yeast and box of Banza pasta in the way back of the cupboard, I decided I could make my own vegan, gluten free version. 

Banza is one of my new favorite things. It's a gluten free, grain free pasta made from chickpea flour and tapioca starch. As a former lover of all things pasta, I love it. So far, it's my favorite alternative pasta. (This post is not sponsored  - I just like to share good things when I find them.)

Makes 2 large servings. 

Almost Mac + Cheese

1 stalk broccoli, peeled, chopped

6oz banza pasta 

1 cup cashew milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

pinch nutmeg

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

s + p 

dash of Worcestershire, optional (not vegan or vegetarian)

Boil a pot of water. Add broccoli. Blanche for 2 minutes. Drain. Set aside. 

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In a  pot, whisk cashew milk, yeast flakes, arrowroot, mustard powder and nutmeg over medium high heat. Add pasta and broccoli, stirring until thickened and hot. Add vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Worcestershire if using. 

 

 

Cameron's Daikon + Mushroom Soup (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF, Vegan)

I love when Cameron gets a cooking idea like a soup or a salad  - whatever it is will always be delicious, healthy and well made. This soup is no different. Savory, brothy and full of daikon. I secretly think he was trying to make a fish free, Mea-friendly version of this Oden he used to get in the winter at a place near his old work but he might not agree. (We'll see.) 

Daikon + Mushroom Soup

to make the stock:

2 leeks, halved

fennel tops

2 inches ginger root, peeled, sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed

4 dried shitakes

1 bay leaf

1 kafir lime leaf

1 teaspoon peppercorns (black and pink)

Place everything in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. 

for the soup

splash olive oil

1 celeriac, peeled and diced

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced

2 daikon, peeled and chopped

6 oz chopped mini portobello mushrooms

2 cups baby bok choy, sliced in half

juice of 1 lime

Saute celeriac and fennel until, softened and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add stock and daikon. Bring to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer. Cook about 40 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Add bokchoy. Season with lime juice and salt. 

Curry + Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

I make this every Sunday.  It's so good.  Sometimes I like to chop up the florets really small and eat it like popcorn.  It usually doesn't last but if it does I'll add to salads during the week.  

For reference - the photo is one normal sized head of cauliflower.  It doesn't make enough!  It really shrinks during cooking.  I'd say it serves 2.  

Turmeric Curry Cauliflower

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

a few turns or a pinch of black pepper

1 head cauliflower, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper or lightly oil it.  Set aside. 

Combine oil, curry powder, turmeric powder, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.  Toss chopped cauliflower in oil mixture until evenly coated.  The better and more evenly you coat it the better it will be.  I like to get my hands in here - tossing and rubbing the pieces in the oil. It's messy but makes it so much better.  Transfer cauliflower to baking tray and place in oven.  Roast until edges are browned and pieces are soft, about 40 minutes. 

Zucchini Salsa (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

No tomatoes?  No problem!  How much have you missed salsa?  I can't even tell you how much better life is now that this salsa is here.  I'm going to put it on everything!  (Especially an AIP taco bowl that I'll post later this week.)  After looking everywhere for a nightshade free salsa and not finding one - I knew i was going to have to make my own.  If you're skeptical, don't be.  I'm not the biggest fan of zucchini but this salsa is great. 

Makes 1 pint.

Zucchini Salsa

splash cooking oil

2 zucchini, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

juice of one lime

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup water

In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add zucchini slices and garlic.  Cook until browned and very soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to blender and blend with cilantro, lime juice, onion, salt and water.  

Cauliflower Fried Rice (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

As a former lover of all things rice, I' m going to be very honest with you and let you know that cauliflower, no matter how dolled up it is, is not rice.  It just isn't.  I think if you can wrap your head around that then you will be fine with cauliflower standing in for your exiled rice.  You're on the AIP diet right now and that means no grains.  Very sadly rice is a grain.  So repeat after me:  I love stir fried riced cauliflower, I love stir fried riced cauliflower...

Rice and chickpeas (ok and popcorn) have been the hardest things for me to give up on AIP.  I didn't realize how much of these things I ate.  Gluten?  No problem because I had rice!  But not right now.  This cauliflower rice is really good - I just can't call it rice. 

Stir fried Riced Cauliflower

for the sauce

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons, coconut aminos (or tamari soy cause for non aip)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar for non aip)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (for non aip)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

for the stir fry

1 head cauliflower, in large pieces

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, peeled, minced

1 carrot, peeled, finely diced

1 zucchini, finely diced

1 cup chopped mushrooms

In a small bowl, whisk turmeric, aminos, vinegar, sesame oil (if using) and black pepper.  Set aside.

Pulse the cauliflower is a food processor until it is the size of rice.  This happens very fast so watch out or you'll end up with cauliflower couscous.  Set aside. 

Heat coconut oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Once hot,  add onion, garlic and ginger, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add carrots, zucchini and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add more oil if needed.  Add cauliflower rice and prepared sauce.  Cook until heated through.  

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Popsicles (Vegan, AIP, GF, DF)

Is it too early for pumpkin spice?  We're in that difficult time of year: ready for Fall but it's still warm out.  So, I made myself a bunch of popsicles that taste like Fall.  

On a slightly different note, I have a really bad coconut ice cream addiction.  It used to be a frozen yogurt kind of problem but then I switched to a dairy free life.  Then, it was almond milk ice cream but then I went nut free....do you see where I'm going with this?  I really have a thing for frozen treats and, no matter what, I find a way to get them.  

In attempt to ween myself off my daily dose of ice cream and it's added sugars, I made these. Still sweet, creamy and frozen but slightly better for me. 

Anyone have any tips for storing popsicles in the freezer?  I've been putting them individually in zip top snack bags once frozen. 

Makes 10.

Pumpkin Spice Popsicles

1 14oz tin coconut milk

1 14oz tin pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

4 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into popsicle molds.  Arrange sticks and freeze, about 4 hours.