Tag Archives: recipe

Spinach and Chickpea Curry

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I read the book Promise to Keep by Jane Green. Besides being a great read, it also featured a vegan chef and included several recipes. From the book, I made a Spinach and Chickpea Coconut Curry for my vegan husband. He loved it, but then again it’s a big detour from the foods I typically make. It is rich in flavor and color. A little spicy, a little sweet. Plus, it has the ever-so-healthy Turmeric in it. Then factor in that it takes things you probably already have in your pantry/fridge and that takes less than an hour from start to table….Mass positives all the way around.
Making this definitely piqued my interest regarding Turmeric. Besides being a spice used to season foods, you can find it as a supplement. The health benefits of Turmeric (Curcumin) seem endless. From helping with inflammation (crohn’s?) to healthy heart, arthritis and joint health, cancer prevention and so on. I’ve also seen recipes where you add Turmeric to rice or applesauce. I might have to try these as a natural remedy to some of my crohns symptoms.
Without further ado, the recipe for

Spinach and Chickpea Coconut Curry.

1 can Chickpeas
1 can diced tomatoes (bonus points if organic)
2 medium potatoes, cubed and parboiled
3 cups torn spinach
5 cloves (approx 1/4t ground cloves)
1-1/2 t Turmeric
1-1/2 t Curry
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can coconut milk

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First step I took was to cut up the potatoes into 1 inch cubes and parboil them. This is simply boiling them until they are just softening. When you pierce it with a fork, you should be able to feel the potato is slightly softened but still a little firm. Over-cooking these will result in mashed potatoes. By parboiling them, it reduced your cook time as well helps the potatoes retain their cubed form later. I let them boil about 8-10 minutes.

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Next you will add all the ingredients into a large skillet and combine. You will want to bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.

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Cover and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. The flavors will cook together and the dish, especially the potatoes will turn a rich gorgeous shade of yellow. About 5 minutes before it was done, I tossed in another cup of slightly torn spinach. The original 3 cups had cooked down so much that I liked the look of the golden potatoes, red tomatoes and bright green spinach. Plus, my husband isn’t a huge fan of cooked spinach so by adding in some at the end, those retained a bit of a crisp fresh touch.

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I served this over rice, allowing the broth of the Curry to flavor that as well. You can always add more spice if you’d like a more seasoned dish. You could add Rooster sauce if you wanted extra heat. If you aren’t vegan, you could add some yogurt or sour cream. I also served some pita/flatbread with it, only because I couldn’t find vegan naan.

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Enjoy! This recipe makes enough (with rice) to serve 6. Because it only gets better when all the spices can mingle longer, leftovers are awesome. After serving it as dinner, we kept some out as leftovers and tossed the remaining into the freezer for a quick meal later.

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe. I love reading and so it’s always fun when I come across a character I adore. With the recipes included in the book, I can pretend I’m a vegan chef too!

Have a healthful day!

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EEK! A holiday is coming!

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Oh boy, it’s a holiday. I made plans to have my family over to my house. I’m on prednisone, enough said. The crohnie in me sitting in the bathroom is less than thrilled with my plans. The party girl is excitedly planning a menu.

This is the first year our BBQ will have to accommodate both my crohns and my husband not eating animal products. Beyond that, my mom is coming and she is who I learned to be picky from. Top all that off with my new knowledge of how foods are created and processed and you’ve got one girl (me) freaking out. Oh, I might take this opportunity to also say, I sort of made these plans without consulting my husband, so to him, surprise!?!

I know I want to bake something colorful, patriotic, and yummy for dessert. I also want it to be vegan so my husband can enjoy it. I’ve been baking enough lately, I feel good about that. For the main course though, I will BBQ some veggies, corn on the cob and some local chicken. Sorry, I’d love to say my meal will be completely vegan but at least I’m not serving L&A hot dogs. I’m also sorry local chickens, I know just because you were raised locally doesn’t mean you are honored to be featured in my meal, but I do promise I will appreciate you.

My menu is looking like this;

Fresh veggies with dip (undecided on dip recipe)
Local tortilla chips with bean dip

BBQ chicken for those that partake
BBQ veggies for all others
I got this insanely good Bo Mack BBQ sauce, yum!
BBQ corn on the cob
Fresh rolls (vegan & made by me)

Strawberries, blueberries and vanilla something, cake, cupcakes, something. Dessert!

For drinks, fresh lemonade, sun tea, mix those together for some Arnold Palmers, beer for those that dig that.

What am I missing? I need more items. Maybe a salad or two?

I am really feeling torn. Part of me would love to serve up an all locally sourced vegan meal, while the other part of me is already missing the traditional fried chicken and BBQ burgers. So with a side of guilt, I’m going to do the best I can to transform my meal into one where any animal products served are done so on the side and anything that can be replaced in my baking/cooking will be.

Wish me luck. I’d love to hear your plans, struggles and menus.

Real Good (Vegan) Chili Recipe

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OK, I can honestly say, I’ve finally created the best chili recipe this picky family has ever seen!

I battle with Crohn’s, my son is so picky he makes me look adventurous (which I am not) and my husband eats an only plant-based diet (fancy wording for vegan). So finding, then adapting, a recipe for chili has been a goal of mine. After a few flops, I’ve done it! Here is how:

Shell’s KickAss Chili
serves 8

1 onion (sweet yellow is nice)
1 jalapeño
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
2t garlic
4 cans of beans (I prefer 3 black beans and 1 kidney bean)
15oz tomato sauce
2T chili powder
2t salt
2T pepper
1t Oregano
4 cups of liquid; this can be all water, I use 3 cups water, 1 cup vegetable broth
2T whole wheat flour

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Dice the onion, garlic, all peppers into small pieces. The smaller they are, the more they will disappear into the chili when cooking. (Great way to sneak it in without having to see it but can still benefit from the flavor).
In a large stew pot, sauté the onion and garlic with a touch of water until translucent. About 6 minutes. You can also use a bit of coconut oil if you want.
Add the jalapeño, green and red peppers and continue to cook on medium until all veggies are soft. Another 5-6 minutes.
Rinse the cans of beans thoroughly. The best you rinse, the less gassy they are later. (extremely important if you have Crohn’s or any digestive issues or, you know, a stinky spouse).
Combine all the beans in the pot with the softened veggies. I turn the heat down to low at this point so I don’t burn the beans.
Add in all the spices right on the beans. The chili powder is flexible. 1T is a nice mellow chili, where 3T is a bit spicier. You can also add a bit of cumin at this time (or chipotle) depending on the heat flavor you are seeking.
Add the can of tomato sauce (or purée) and mix well. Then add about 4 cups of liquid. I use mostly water with some veggie broth. Depending on how long you are going to let this simmer, you can adjust the water. If you have all afternoon to let it simmer, 4 cups is perfect. If you are going to rush this, then add much less.
At this point, I crank the heat to high. I make a super simple roux from 2T wheat flour with about 1/4 cup of warm water and mix until its a thick paste. Then I stir the roux into the chili to ensure the final product will be a nice thick hearty chili. Once it boils and bubbles, turn it down to low/simmer.
I cook mine all afternoon on an easy low simmer. I haven’t tried to speed cook this but it could be done. After about 45 minutes, it’s usually ready. I like to really slow cook it because the longer I cook, the more the veggies disappear!

Consider serving this with some delicious Mexican Rice. I modify a great recipe found here By not using any butter when warming the uncooked rice and instead either use coconut oil or just water you can make it vegan.

This chili freezes really well. It is ideal for making tacos and burritos. It’s great as an entree for either lunch or dinner. You could easily top this with tomato, avocado, salsa, whatever you might normally top your Mexican yummies with.

I really hope you can use this recipe to create your own masterpiece. I’d love to hear your take on chili. Even though I found this recipe to be Perfect, I’ll always be experimenting with additional changes.

Have a real good night!

Trying new (super)foods

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Well, last night, true to my word, I tried some new foods. Instead of my normal salad of green leaf and carrots with my dressing on the side, I tried kale, spinach, green leaf with red peppers and cucumbers. I learned that really anything is edible with 1000 island dressing. Probably not ANYTHING!

My husband started getting fit again at the beginning of the year. I have been in a long flare up since last fall, so I was ready to try something/anything to get my stomach to chill out. After reading a few books (dozens) and watching some documentaries (tons), my husband went vegan. Ok, that is not what he calls it because I guess the “v” word makes people think of dirt-eating hippies or something. He eats a whole-food plant-based diet. Yea, that was easy explaining to my mom, who months later still doesn’t seem to understand why he isn’t eating steak. Or butter. Or eggs. The list goes on.

Going whole-food plant-based (dang, I might just use vegan, what the heck!) brought a whole new realm of recipes and lingo and conversations to the table. Literally and figuratively. My son, Sir Picky and I love love love the idea of not eating meat. But in reality, eliminating meat takes about half our foods away. So while I understand my husbands adoration for all things Engine 2, I’m going the more Hungry for Change route of adding new foods not eliminating. Hence, my wild salad! (baby steps)

Now, I’m trying hard to bake and cook without any animal products and trying to add foods while getting away from food-like processed nightmares. Still, super-foods? Goji sounds very Zsa Zsa Gabor; Spiralina is not Tinkerbell’s unknown sister; and there is no Big in front of Maca. What are these little treasures and what do they do?

Goji berries
You can find these in a dried form similar to raisins or as a juice like acai. Filled with antioxidants and rich in vitamin A, these little treats are suppose to help boost your immune system as well as make you a happy, calm, more athletic, mentally stable person that sleeps great. Wow is all I can think as I grab to try one. Not bad! It’s a yummy little berry very much like a cranberry/raspberry, only in raisin form. A little sweet, a little tart. Also known as the wolfberry, how can you resist? I have cooked with these for Mr Vegan but hadn’t tried one….I know, it’s a berry but it was still new. I’ve baked these into cookies and energy bars. I have tossed them into his salads. He also tosses them into his cereal. I can see why now. The only thing I did notice was a slight aftertaste of tea. Maybe, this was because I found these in the bulk tea section or because they are often used in tea. Here’s how:

* * * GOJI BERRY TEA * * *
Boil a mug full of water. Add in a small handful of dried goji berries and let it soak. The berries will rehydrate and become plump. Remove them at that time then enjoy them as a snack while you sip your fresh healthful tea.

Spiralina
This strong smelling powder is also found in the bulk section. It is super rich in protein and essential amino acids, as well as many vitamins and minerals. The research shows Spiralina is superior to plant proteins such as that from legumes. Protein-wise it is also very comparable to meat, eggs and milk. Calcium-wise, it has over 20 times more than milk. The list of all the health ailments it could help is impressive. From preventing toxins in the heart, liver, kidneys and many other organs. Again, Mr Vegan has this stuff. I can honestly say I have only seen him use it twice. It’s really pretty it the jar but man, does it stink. Sorry, but it does. Now, I am reading that you use it in smoothies, shakes and pretty much in anything you can stomach. It smells fishy but they say that it can taste differently depending on the source it came from. Spiralina from a fresh water pond should have a less harsh smell and taste. I’m not sure where ours comes from, but I just can not bring myself to try it. UPDATE: as I typed, my husband cracked a joke about me trying this. Then he proceeded to make the following recipe, probably thinking he could talk me into tasting it “for my blog”. UPDATE on the UPDATE: I tried it! It wasn’t horrible. Maybe over ice on a hot day, it could even taste good(?), maybe. After being mildly harassed, even by Sir Picky who gagged at the smell, I took TWO sips with a straw and can honestly say, if you want to drink Spiralina, it can be done.

* * * STRAIGHT SPIRALINA with HONEY * * *
1t Spiralina
1t Raw honey or agave
Fresh lime or lemon

Mix the spiralina and honey with just enough water to make paste when mixed. Once you have your paste, fill your glass up with water and squeeze a fresh lemon or lime. Instead of lime, you can also try cinnamon. Enjoy (?)

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Maca
Seriously, after not trying Spiralina, I felt guilty so I wanted to jump into the next supplement on my list; Maca. After researching and getting page after page explaining that it is an “acquired taste” and that it comes in pill form that “might” help. While it appears fairly safe, there is many warnings about it (goiters, eek). I have gathered that if you are looking for something to help with moods or something to boost your vitamin B12 (vegan alert) and proteins, this might help you. While good ole Maca-Maca is suppose to boost your libido, there really isn’t much proof in it. Again, I could be talking myself into not even having to try it since I am not a vegan looking for an aphrodisiac.

Next on my list: Chia Seeds (these I like)

Recommended websites:
Engine 2 Diet this website has great recipes and their books super resources.
Hungry for Change this website is one of my favorites. They have a documentary that is so good, I’ve watched it several times (Netflix!). I also have their book. They are the sister site to Food Matters who happens to have a great video on SuperFoods ~ ow.ly/lTMaF

Currently Reading: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan)

Have a healthful day!

Please note: everything has some risk, so research how something may effect your own health and talk to your doctor before trying any new supplements or vitamins. Some foods may also interact to certain medications.