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Chickpea veggie enchiladas

Hello again! Not only am I shocked that I have blogged a record SIX times these past couple of weeks but that I am here again to share another food post with you. I had become so distanced from these type of posts that I was seriously considering a name change of this blog! Oh well, for now, let’s talk about what I made for dinner last night :)

I had a bunch of random ingredients at home that I wanted to use up, plus I was making enchiladas for some friends of ours who just had a baby, so I bought some tortillas and a few other ingredients that I was missing.

I based my enchiladas on this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I find it to be a great site because the recipes are simple and easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand or whatever your dietary preferences are. I made enough adjustments and substitutions that I feel like I can safely post my version of the recipe here.

Chickpea veggie enchiladas (makes 8-10 enchiladas)

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (got to use my steamer again!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Pace picante sauce (I used medium)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (you may not want to use this much, this was an accident, I opened the wrong end of the container! But it wasn’t too hot for me)
  • 1 small jar of salsa
  • Daiya shredded cheddar-style non-dairy cheese
  • Ground cilantro
  • A package or two of soft taco style whole wheat tortillas
Directions
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook chopped onion in olive oil over medium heat (use a few cloves of garlic too if you’d like, I couldn’t get my jar open!) until soft, then add chickpeas, tomatoes, picante sauce and spices. Reduce heat, simmer and stir until thickened. Add rice and let cook a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Warm tortillas on the stove or microwave (I warmed 5 at a time between 2 paper towels for 30 seconds)
  • Spray a 9×13 (or whatever size you want to use) pan with cooking spray.
  • Add a couple spoonfuls of chickpea-rice-veggie mixture into each tortilla and roll.
  • Place wrapped tortilla seam side down in the dish.
  • Once you place however many fit in your pan (6 fit in my 9×13 pan and I had some leftover filling so I could have made maybe 4 more) pour salsa on top and sprinkle Daiya cheese and ground cilantro on top as desired.

Here’s what it looked like before going into the oven!

I should have taken an “after” picture but I’m so out of the “food blogging” mentality that I honestly am surprised I took the one above. However, trust me when I say that these were delicious! Especially when topped with Tofutti non-dairy sour cream :)

“Soyrizo” with brown rice and veggies

I can’t believe I actually have a food post to share with you guys. It’s a rarity these days, I know. I have just been waiting to be inspired. I’m glad it happened!

Truthfully, this recipe isn’t anything spectacular on the surface. Just a few ingredients I threw together that ended up tasting great. And it’s good for those of us who like to save money on meals :)

“Soyrizo” with brown rice & veggies (about 3-4 servings)

Ingredients:

Directions
  • Steam rice first since that takes a good 45-50 minutes (but is so worth it to me)
  • Remove soy chorizo from casing (you have to squeeze it out) and begin heating in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat
  • Cook peas & mushrooms in the microwave per the bag’s directions
  • Add cooked peas & mushrooms to chorizo on the stove and mix together well until everything seems to be cooked enough
  • Place a scoop of brown rice in your bowl, then add a couple scoops of chorizo-veggie mixture and stir :)

It’s also not the most attractive thing but it’s tasty (spicy!), cheap and filling! I can’t put a price on the brown rice really since I just used a cup dry and I buy a huge bag that lasts me forever. But based on the other two ingredients, I’m guessing this meal would only cost $1-2/per serving.

It could easily feed you and a couple of friends or you and your kids or just you for 3 meals like me :)

I used cereal bowls but they were piled pretty high! The above picture was taken about 2/3 of the way through lunch today, when I had the bright idea to blog about this new “recipe” of mine.

Two attempts and counting

Remember that baked squash dish my friend Beth made for our girl’s night potluck a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I liked it so much that ever since then I have tried to recreate that dish at home. It’s been a bit challenging though. I think I am going to have to break down and ask her for the recipe!

First attempt:

In a glass casserole dish, I layered the yellow summer squash, sliced organic (white) onion, some organic mushrooms and then covered it with a can of diced tomatoes. On top, I sprinkled chili powder, garlic powder and sesame seeds. Not sure what I was going for there but I just went with it.

I cooked the dish in the oven at 375* for 40 minutes.


When it was “done” I served myself a nice big helping.

Unfortunately, it was just okay. It didn’t have quite the same texture and flavor that Beth’s dish had. The squash wasn’t as cooked as I would’ve liked it. The diced tomatoes made it too watery. The spices didn’t do anything for it.

But that didn’t keep me from eating it!


At least I know I was getting in my veggies for dinner! I also had some toast with Smart Balance Light and a POM-Seltzer. :)

Unfortunately, I am all out of POM Wonderful now :(


I will be doing a full review of the product soon. I want to get some more but I am going to have to wait for a sale!

Second attempt:


Since Beth’s dish had pasta sauce in it, I figured that was the key — unlike the watery diced tomatoes. This looked like a winner!


In the dish, I had the yellow squash, topped with onions, about 1/2 chopped tomato, the pasta sauce and some oregano. After the dish had cooked for most of it’s time, I added some kidney beans for protein and let it cook a few more minutes (total = 45 minutes at 375*).

Served over whole wheat couscous. This one was much better. The sauce was a good choice. And thanks to the beans (and couscous) it filled me up a lot better than the first one.


I ate the leftovers on top of salad greens for lunch today and it was pretty good. I think letting something sit so the flavors can soak in better makes a huge differences. This is why I love leftovers! :)

Ever try to recreate a dish you really enjoyed? How’d it go?

Chickpea kale stir fry

My friend Kim sent me this recipe last week and I just happened to have most of the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a shot!

Chickpea and Kale Stir Fry

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The only ingredients I did not have were lemon juice (which had expired) and cumin seed. I substituted 1/4 cup orange juice and ground cumin.

I served a portion of the dish over top some brown basmati rice.

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This dish turned out okay but lacked a little bit in flavor. I blame that on not having the lemon juice and perhaps I could’ve added some more spices.

Sriracha would’ve helped too but alas, we were out of that as well! Time to restock on a few things!

I also expected more flavor from the basmati rice. It just tasted like regular long grain brown rice to me, what’s that about?

Oh well, it was still a good use of whole grains, veggies and protein, all in one dish! And perhaps I can try it again with all the right ingredients. ;-)

My first vegan cupcakes

My friend Renee got me this sweet cookbook for my birthday a couple of weeks ago:

I flipped through it really quick when I first got it, but I knew that there were some awesome recipes in here that I couldn’t wait to try. Some friends of ours from church just had a baby, so I decided I would make some vegan cupcakes to take to them!

I chose the Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Icing to make for them, because these are also Josh’s favorite and I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to try them out too (I omitted the raisins on his behalf).

The recipe was really simple and easy to follow. The worst part was grating the carrots but only because I have a cheapo grater and it wasn’t working too well. I only had to buy a couple of ingredients that I didn’t already have (soy yogurt and vegan cream cheese).

I followed the recipe exactly (except for the raisins) but for some reason, I only managed to fill up 11 cups! If a baker’s dozen is 13, what is 11?

While they were baking in the oven, my apartment smelled so good!

Making the icing was fun and I even tried a little bit of it beforehand…whoa is it sweet! A little bit goes a long way with this stuff which is why I had a lot left over even after icing 11 cupcakes.

I decided to go ahead and try one for myself, so I would know whether anyone else would eat them. I had some organic strawberries on the side. I even used my fancy dessert plates from Pampered Chef that have just been sitting around forever!


I thought the cupcake was absolutely delicious! It was soft, moist and tasty. To me, it tasted just as good as a “regular” cupcake. I loved the icing which added just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess to the cupcake. I couldn’t wait for Josh to try one.


Josh tried one later in the night and remarked: “It’s not that they aren’t good. They just have no flavor.” WHAT?! He also said he didn’t like the walnuts in there, when walnuts are one of the few things he does eat. Ugh.

So I replied: “Well, then, you have no tastebuds!” Ha ha. Oh well, someday I will get him, someday.

I haven’t yet heard if the couple I took them to liked them or not, but they were big fans of the vegan meatloaf I made (recipe). So I’m hopeful! ;-)

Kale chips

I have seen various kale chips on other food blogs for years now and never got up the nerve to try them myself, even though they always looked and sounded delicious.

I have ordered cooked kale at a few restaurants in the past, but have only actually tried using kale at home once, when I made an ill-fated green smoothie with it (I found it to be too bitter). Since then, I have been hesistant to use raw kale for anything.

But when I found this bunch of organic kale at Whole Foods for $2.49, I knew it was time to break some new ground.

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This bunch came from Lady Moon Farms, which is located in Pennsylvania and ships out from a few places along the East Coast. While it’s not exactly local, it’s at least on my side of the U.S. and I appreciate their commitment to organic farming and the information on organic vegetables which they provide on their website.

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I tore a few leaves of the kale into bite-sized pieces and layed it on a cooking sheet. Then I sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Then it went into the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

I decided to keep it simple for my first attempt!

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I also cooked an organic sweet potato in the microwave for about 5 minutes.

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Then topped the potato with some leftover pinto beans, which I cooked in my new barbecue sauce!

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Then I rounded out the meal with the last slice of homemade whole wheat bread from my in-laws spread with some Smart Balance Light.

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The kale chips were so crunchy! I overcooked a few of them, so I think next time I will cut back the cooking time. But I was amazed at how tasty they were. What a great way to get in some healthy greens! I can’t wait to make these again.

I also adored the taste of the Annie’s barbecue sauce. They had a few different flavors to choose from but the Smokey Maple was the most appealing to me so I decided to try it first.

What a deliciously healthy, mostly organic, veggie-filled dinner!

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What is one vegetable you are too afraid to try?

All by myself

On Thursday, I decided to go for it. I had a bunch of ingredients in my pantry that I wanted to use up and instead of searching for a recipe, I went and did my own thing!

It is so empowering to make your own food. I didn’t even measure anything, I just tossed in here, sprinkled there and so on. It was great!

What did I make? It contained these:

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With lots of other stuff too!

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Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup (Serves 4)

  • 1-15 oz. can of black beans
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes (partially cooked)
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  • A few shakes of chili powder
  • A shake of ground cumin
  • A few shakes of ground cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Start by sauteeing the onion with the garlic and olive oil over medium-high heat. Then add the black beans, tomatoes (don’t drain) and 2 cups or so of water (depending on how “soupy” you like yours) while you cook the sweet potatoes (I did mine together for 4 minutes in the microwave).

Cut up the sweet potatoes and toss them into the pot. Let cook for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to low-medium and cover for 15 minutes. Add the spices, salt and pepper, re-cover and let sit an additional 10 minutes or so.

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I can’t believe how good this turned out! It was a even a little spicy ;-) The cinnamon was also a really good idea.

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I enjoyed a serving along with some pita with hummus and an orange juice-seltzer drink :)

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I have another serving for a later date plus two in the freezer!

Have you ever surprised yourself by “winging it” with creating a meal?

Better veggie burgers too

I hope you guys enjoyed my post about healthier baked beans! I always get excited when I can find better and healthier alternatives to some of my favorite convenience foods :)

Another case in point…veggie burgers!

You may remember a post I wrote a while back about the deceptive nature of the processed veggie burger. They appear to be healthy (they are certainly better than meat) but they contain some really funky ingredients. Also frustrating for me, was when I went vegan, I found out that most of the frozen veggie burgers sold in supermarkets are NOT vegan friendly :(

I prefer to make my own “burgers” at home, such as Mama Pea’s Black Bean Burgers, or these awesome chickpea patties. I’ve even tried both recipes out on the girl’s at our potluck and they get rave reviews!

But there are times when making your own veggie burger is just not an option and you want something quick and tasty, but still healthy. I have a solution!

Sunshine Burgers are soy free, dairy free, wheat free and gluten free! This particular Garden Herb variety has an outstanding list of ingredients:


Organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic herbs and sea salt. That is literally it!

So far, I have enjoyed one over some rice and topped with salsa verde…

And another time over a leafy Romaine salad, topped with artichoke and garlic hummus!

Sunshine has six different flavors, including a very lovely falafel burger, which I’ve had on many occasions :)

At my Whole Foods store, they are $3.99 for a box of three. This is just slightly more expensive than brands like Boca or Morningstar, which contain 4 burgers for the same price.

But, the taste is so much better and once again you just can’t beat that nutritional information and healthier ingredients list. Your body is worth an extra 34 cents per burger ;-)

I can’t wait to try the other four flavors (especially the Breakfast Patty)!

Note: I purchased this product on my own and was not paid to do a review by the company. I’m just so impressed with this product, I had to share it with you all.

Day 5: Let the celebrations commence!

Even though Wednesday was the day before my birthday, I still got to start celebrating early :)

Reason number 5,682 why I love my sweet, sweet husband:

He had heard me complaining about how terrible my blender has been lately and here I thought he never listened? Ha ha. He showed me! Check out the beautiful new green smoothie maker:


And good riddance old friend. You’ve worked well the last 4.5 out of 5 years but it’s time to retire now.


Anyone know what to do with old appliances? Can they be recycled?

Of course I celebrated my first birthday gift with a delicious green smoothie. Just look at it go!

I even spoiled myself and used the dispenser!


Result: A yummy, creamy, delicious green smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, three handfuls of spinach).

I made sure to send my husband a message about how awesome this smoothie was and how much easier it is to make in a shiny new blender. I’m so spoiled!

Mid-morning, I had some tea and grapes.

Then for lunch, I sort of threw together a new combination. One thing I realized about this challenge is that even though there are a ton of recipes out there that I could use, I love being forced to come up with my own based on what’s in the pantry. It makes me so creative!

Chickpeas on top of a sweet potato, drizzled with salsa verde! Definitely interesting, but totally delicious and filling too. I also had an organic apple on the side :)

I snacked on some almonds before heading to the gym for an awesome treadmill run. Wow, those are three words I rarely put together, ha ha.

Then I went home, showered and got ready for girl’s night. I am so lucky to have such good friends who make me feel special!

For dinner, Margie made what is probably my favorite food ever…FALAFEL!

A pita pocket filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes, hummus, and falafel balls topped with tahini. Yesssssss!

Note: this meal is technically not challenged approved, but still very healthy, delicious and special because it was my birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which goes back to that comment about enjoying stuff more when you don’t eat it every day.

I had this plate times two!

For my birthday dessert, per tradition, we had some pink bubbly!

And some yummy vegan cupcakes that Courtney made herself!

She was not happy with them, but I thought they were delicious. Sometimes things can look funny but actually taste great. Plus when a friend makes something special for you, it tastes even better, am I right?

She used this recipe, including a special strawberry glaze that was full of sugar but oh so tasty!


I enjoyed my birthday dessert, very very much :)

Thank you girls for giving me such a special night! I love you all :)

Unintentional three-day weekend

Today’s breakfast featured the following:

001I usually prefer to use Libby’s brand, but I’ve had a hard time finding it so I picked this up at Whole Foods instead.

I was going to have a green monster this morning but I woke up not feeling so hot and decided what I really needed was a nice bowl of pumpkin oats :)

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This bowl contained 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup pumpkin stirred in, pumpkin pie spice, 1 tbsp flax, and topped with raisins, walnuts and all natural peanut butter.

It was so delicious.

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I still felt bad so I decided to stay home from work and slept until after 11 a.m.! I must have needed it.

For lunch, I had an Amy’s non-dairy burrito and a romaine salad with vinaigrette.

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I hadn’t had an Amy’s burrito in a while and it was really good!

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I must be fighting off an illness because my appetite has been insane today! After lunch, I had a pita pocket with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

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Then I took another nap on the couch with the dog and woke up REALLY hungry again, so I had another pita pocket with some hummus.

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When it came time for dinner, I had only one thing on my mind…baked beans on a sweet potato!

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And whole wheat couscous!

Then afterwards, I started to think about dessert. I finished off the chocolate chips earlier in the day but remembered the many frozen bananas that resided in my freezer!

Banana soft serve!!!

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I am still amazed that this is ONLY bananas! But after a few bites, I decided to add some peanut butter ;-)

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I’m still not feeling so great and think I will head to bed early. I’m hoping it’s just allergies and the crazy weekend I had that just ran me down a bit.

Hopefully, some rest will help and I can get back to work tomorrow!

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