Posts Tagged ‘Vegan’
This recipe for green beans gets a zesty punch from the blood orange vinaigrette. It’s a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ! The blood orange vinaigrette would also make a great dressing for a brunch salad.
While most of the kiddos in Chicago are heading back to school today, I am sitting in my house enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the windows open. Getting Easter Monday off is one of the perks of working at a Catholic school. I mentioned that the windows were open, right?! OPEN. Begone, winter! See you next year! spring is finally on the horizon!
You know what is awesome about spring? The seasonal fruits and veggies that start to pop up at the grocery store and farmer’s markets. You start to see things like asparagus, ramps, peas, and fennel. The sheer RETURN of the farmer’s market is an exciting thing about spring.
On my weekly trip to the grocery store, I happened to see blood oranges were on sale so I picked up a few thinking I would enjoy them as a snack throughout the week. Lately, I’ve been using olive oil and lemon juice to dress my lunch salads and as I was washing my weekly produce haul, I wondered if I could make a delicious blood orange dressing for my salads.
A quick Pinterest search turned up this recipe from CHOW. I’ve adapted it below by swapping the vegetable oil out for extra virgin olive oil, adding some garlic, and sweetening it up just a hint by adding pure maple syrup. After portioning out enough dressing for the week, I had some left over so I decided to test it for an Easter side dish. I really wish I had experimented with this sooner because this dish was a winner!
This was such an easy side dish and would be a wonderful addition to a BBQ, picnic, or holiday meal. I think it would also be a great dressing for a breakfast or brunch salad. If the idea of a vinaigrette doesn’t appeal to you, you could always use those blood oranges to make a margarita!
Green Beans with Toasted Almonds &
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
This recipe for green beans gets a zesty punch from the blood orange vinaigrette. It's a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ!
- Juice from 3 medium blood oranges
- 1/2 teaspoon blood orange zest
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 small shallot
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds green beans, trimmed
- 1 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
- Trim and cut the beans so they are roughly all the same length. I like to cut them on a slant so they look pretty on the plate.
- Boil the green beans in a large pot of salted water for 3 minutes.
- Immediately remove the beans and plunge them into a separate bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process so they maintain their bright green color.
- Toss with blood orange vinaigrette and toasted almonds.
- Garnish with a few extra toasted almonds and remaining orange zest.
- Roughly chop 1 cup of almonds.
- Spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast at 325˚ for 10-12 minutes. Watch them to make sure they do not burn!
- Reserve a small handful to garnish your green beans.
- Zest your oranges. Add 1/2 tablespoon to a blender or food processor. Reserve the rest for garnish.
- Add all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) to your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Slowly, drizzle in the olive oil and blend until well-combined.
Adapted from CHOW
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/
This recipe for mango salsa has me dreaming of summer! It’s great on it’s own or as a topping for fish!
We are experiencing the 4th snowiest and 3rd coldest winter in Chicago ever. Ever! It’s likely that this is the worst we’ll see for a long time, but if next winter rolls around and tries to compete for any slot in the top 10 “worst winters,” I’m moving. My husband can come with me if he wants to, but if he opts to stay here, I’ll book a visiting flight for June. I simply cannot take anymore winters like this one! When I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see that it was snowing, this was my EXACT reaction.
Over the weekend, I found myself dreaming of summer. Usually, by this time in March, I am looking forward to spring, but this year I am skipping over spring and looking straight to summer. Nothing reminds me more of warm summer days than fruit salsa. Fruit salsa pairs nicely with a margarita and margaritas pair nicely with sitting on a beach in the sun, amiright?
To make this salsa, I combined avocado and mango with traditional salsa ingredients. I added jicama and red pepper to give this salsa a chunkier texture since avocados and mangos are both soft. If you can’t find jicama at your local grocery store, you could add radish, apples, or cucumber for texture.
You can serve this salsa as an appetizer or use it as a topping for fish, pork, or chicken. You could also serve it alongside steak and veggies as a salad or, you can do what I do, and eat it right out of the bowl with a spoon!
Mango & Avocado Salsa
This recipe for mango and avocado salsa has me dreaming of summer! It’s great on it’s own or as a topping for fish!
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 jicama, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
- 1 handful of cilantro, minced
- 1-2 limes
- salt & pepper
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the jicama then dice into small cubes.
- Dice mango, avocado, and red pepper.
- Dice the jalapeño. If you want your salsa to have some heat, leave the seeds in. Otherwise, remove the seeds and the rib before chopping.
- Finely chop the shallot and cilantro and mince the garlic.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to mix then together.
- Squeeze the juice of 1-2 limes into the bowl. Stir to combine and season with sale and pepper to taste.
- For tips on how to cut a mango, go here.
- For tips on how to cut a pepper, go here.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/
I’m delighted to share a guest post I wrote for my blogger (and real life) friend, Jenny B, over at Honey & Birch. Every week she rounds-up 8 recipes or crafts that she finds around the web. I was really excited when she asked me to write a post for her and even more excited when we came up with the topic, egg-free Paleo breakfasts.
I happen to love eggs, but the two most common things people say when I tell them I’m Paleo are:
- I could never be Paleo, I don’t eat a lot of meat and
- You can’t eat cereal or bread?! What do you eat for breakfast? I don’t like eggs!
Well, I rounded up some of my favorite egg-free Paleo breakfast options and, by happy accident, they also happened to be meat-free!
Head over to Honey & Birch to read my guest post and find the links to all of these tasty breakfast options.
If you are looking for more Paleo breakfast ideas follow my Paleo/Primal Breakfast board on Pinterest. I have a good mix of breakfast options there, many of which are not egg-centric. Some recipes, like these shredded pork breakfast tacos from PaleOMG use eggs as a binder, but I assure you there are many Paleo breakfast options beyond the omelette!
Follow Kristina Navarro | Cucina Kristina’s board Paleo/Primal Breakfast on Pinterest.
Don’t forget to check out Jenny B’s full 8 Great archive. I guarantee she’s probably got something you’ve been looking for!
Brussels sprouts. People love ‘em or hate ‘em. I, myself, am a sprout lover. I eat brussels sprouts two to three times a week. Sometimes I have them alongside eggs for breakfast and other times I have them as a side dish with dinner.
If you are a sprout hater, I beg you to try one of the recipes at the bottom of this post and surely you’ll change your mind! One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is browned in ghee and bacon fat, seasoned with salt and pepper, and tossed with dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Simple, colorful, and delicious.
How to Shop for Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are usually sold individually; however, during the fall when they are in season, sometimes they are sold on the stalk. How cool do they look on the stalk? I have unsuccessfully tried to grow brussels sprouts in my garden for the past two years. Perhaps this is the year!
If your local grocery store or farmer’s market is selling the sprouts on the stalk, do not be intimidated! They are easy to remove and you do not need any fancy or special equipment to do so.
To choose a “good” sprouts, pick them up and give them a little squeeze. The leaves should feel tightly packed especially around the base. You will be trimming off the bottom and if the leaves are loose around the stem, you’ll lose some of the good leaves along with the dirty ones.
How to Trim Brussels Sprouts
If you buy brussels sprouts on the stalk, you can snap them off by hand before you begin to trim them. I never wash brussels sprouts before I cook them. Is that gross? I don’t feel much of a need to wash them first because you end up removing all of the dirty outer leaves as you prep them for cooking. After you have removed the outer leaves, if you’d like to wash them, you can give them a quick rinse under cold water.
Trim a small portion off the bottom of the sprout. Some of the leaves may fall off on their own, that is ok.
Pull the outer leaves off until you see lighter green, shiny leaves. You’ll also want to remove any yellow, bruised, or dirty leaves.
Now, you are ready to cook them. You can roast them, grill them, sauté them, steam them, or pickle them. They are such a versatile veggie and so tasty when prepared correctly! In the picture below, I halved them, because I was about to toss them in olive oil, season them with this spice blend and roast them for 25 minutes at 375˚.
Ready to tackle the sprout on your own? Check out these awesome brussels sprouts recipes:
Happy New Year! Can you believe it is 2014 already?! I remember Y2K like it was yesterday. Yikes. Let’s not talk about that!
Are you getting plummeled with snow? We are. Truth be told, I don’t mind snow and cold too much. The part about winter that I despise is the darkness. It is dark when I wake up, grey and gloomy all day, and dark before 5 p.m. nearly everyday for 5 months. Yuck! Who thought of that?!
Every year, I suffer from big time winter blues, but one thing that helps boost my mood is ginger. Ginger is an extremely aromatic root that adds a punch of flavor to both sweet and savory recipes. It pairs nicely with citrus and is used frequently in Asian cooking.
What Does Fresh Ginger Look Like?
Fresh ginger is a knobby root and is typically found next to other root veggies (example: beets, turnips, rutabagas, fennel, etc.) in the grocery store.
Fresh ginger root
Fresh ginger can be upwards of $4 a pound. In this photo, it was on sale for $1.99 a pound so I stocked up.
Shopping for Fresh Ginger
Let’s say you are making a dish that calls for a 1-inch piece of grated fresh ginger. As you can see in the photo above, none of those pieces of ginger are an inch long. You’ll want to look for a piece that looks like this for two reasons:
Look for smooth edges.
- You can easily break this larger piece into a smaller piece.
- The smooth edges are going to make it easier to peel.
I always look for pieces of ginger with smooth edges because I use a vegetable peeler to peel fresh ginger. If you have a piece that is super knobby with a lot of nooks and crannies, you can scrape the skin off with a spoon.
These smaller pieces were broken from larger pieces.
You want the ginger root to feel firm and be free of any noticeable imperfections. When you break the pieces off, the scent of ginger should be strong. Sometimes, I break the pieces to test the freshness even if I intend on buying the entire larger piece.
Storing Fresh Ginger
When you get home, peel the entire ginger root. Put it in a freezer safe bag, squeeze all of the air out, and pop it in your freezer. It will keep in your freezer for up to six months.
Using Frozen Ginger
When you are ready to use your ginger, remove it from the freezer and grate it using a microplane or cheese grater. You do not need to thaw the ginger first. In fact, frozen ginger is easier to grate than fresh ginger.
Now that you are a ginger expert, check out some of these recipes.
Confession: I’ve never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.
It’s true! In general, I’ve never been a big fan of Starbucks coffee, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that I have managed to miss the PSL craze year after year. However, people seem to go absolutely bananas over this thing. Why? I don’t get it.
I decided to investigate, and was shocked as to what I found out. Granted, most people are not freaks about reading ingredients and most folks don’t pay attention to things like sugar content, but I am, and I do, and my reaction was something like this:
First, the pumpkin spice latte contains no actual pumpkin. It’s basically a mix of espresso and high fructose corn syrup. The average size PSL has 49g of sugar and 51g of carbs! Holy. Moly. That is more sugar than a regular can of Coke (39g), more sugar than a bag of Skittles (47g), more sugar than a can of Red Bull (27g), and more carbs than a Big Mac (46g). Y-I-K-E-S! And, don’t think those numbers drastically improve by using non-fat milk or ordering it sans whipped cream because they don’t.
Sorry, I’ll stop being a total buzz kill and get to the recipe!
I discovered this recipe when I was trying to make Pumpkin Pie Popsicles for a dinner party. I had some leftover popsicle mix, stored it in a mason jar, added it to my coffee the following morning. WOW! Yum, yum, yum!
Homemade Paleo Pumpkin Pie Coffee
Note: This recipe will fill a pint-sized mason jar. I was adding this to a 16 ounce travel mug and it easily lasted a full work week and then some!
Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free… we’re taking care of all dietary restrictions in one fell swoop!
- 2 cups coconut milk – (I use Silk brand, not full fat coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil (optional)
- 1/2 can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of high quality sea salt
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week.
- Use in place of creamer in your favorite coffee.
Note: The pumpkin puree will settle in the bottom of your mug if you do not drink this quickly. Have a spoon on hand to give it a stir if you are savoring the flavor.
Also, apparently vegans are up in arms because the current Starbucks PSL cannot be made vegan. Guess what? The above recipe is vegan! Pass it on
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have undoubtedly heard me rave about the Foodie Penpals program I participate in each month. Well, I found a Paleo version hosted by Tarah over at What I Gather and Brittanie over at Three Diets One Dinner. How perfect! Paleo Penpals is very similar to Foodie Penpals. Each month you are paired with another participant and you exchange Paleo-friendly items with them. Then, you create a recipe using the items you received from your pen pal. Tarah and Brittanie will put together a roundup post with all of the recipes that were submitted and post it on their blogs at the end of each month. I thought this would be a really great way to expand my Paleo pantry and get some inspiration for new recipes.
This month I was paired with Amanda from Kentucky. She sent me two different spice mixes; one was her own “super secret” pork rub and the other was a spice mix called za’atar. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that is a mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac and it used on pretty much everything in the Middle East. It can be used to season root veggies or you can add it to olive oil to make a dip for bread. Some people eat it straight from the jar.
Sumac has a slight citrus taste so my original thought was to make za’atar spiked marinara sauce; however, after adding nearly three tablespoons of it to the pot and finding it didn’t have the punch I was looking for, I gave up that idea. I’ve seen pictures of carrot “fries” floating around various Paleo blogs and decided to give that a try. Success!
Carrot fries are awesome! They have a consistency that is similar to sweet potato fries. The sweetness of the carrots and coconut oil pairs nicely with the tartness of the sumac. You can purchase za’atar online or you can make your own from scratch. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can substitute the za’atar in the recipe below for your favorite all-purpose spice blend or season with plain old salt and pepper.
By the way, have I showed you my method for melting coconut oil?
We don’t own a microwave so I had to get creative!
Yup. That’s my bathroom. That’s my hairdryer. Laugh all you want, but it works like a charm!
*NOTE: This recipe makes a single serving of carrot “fries.”
- 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoon za’atar
- Heat oven to 425˚.
- Peel and chop carrots into quarters. You want them to be roughly the same size and thickness.
- In a bowl, toss carrots in melted coconut oil for a few minutes to make sure they are well coated.
- Add za’atar to the bowl and toss the carrots for another few minutes making sure to distribute the spice evenly.
- Spread the carrots onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. Watch these as they have a tendency to burn quickly! It may take a few more minutes or a few less depending on how thick you cut your “fries.”
- Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before serving.
I’ve been intrigued by juicing ever since watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few months ago. The film follows a man who was 100 pounds overweight with all kinds of autoimmune disorders. He starts juicing in an attempt to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. It was an interesting film and inspired me to start using the juicer that was collecting dust in my basement.
One of the main motivations to start juicing was the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to be at school by 7:30. It was hard for me to eat a full breakfast that early; nothing sounds appetizing when you are still half asleep! But, since I didn’t want to leave the house on an empty stomach, I decided to give juicing a try.
The results were amazing! I had a ton of energy and didn’t experience the harsh crash in the afternoons that I usually get with coffee.This is one of my favorite juice recipes. I stuck to this one almost religiously because it wasn’t overly sweet. The lemon gave it a nice tartness and the parsley added a refreshing finish.
No mid-afternoon crash!
Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)
*This recipe requires a juicer.
Green Juice Boost (of energy)
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 small apple
- 1 lemon
- 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup)
- 3 stalks kale
- 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups)
- Roughly chop apple and peel lemon.
- Run all ingredients through a juicer.
- Enjoy immediately!
Making homemade broth is incredibly simple and seems to really impress people. It is also inexpensive, totally customizable, and so much better tasting than any canned broth or bullion cube on the market. I make homemade vegetable broth approximately once a month. I keep a gallon sized freezer bag in my freezer and throw any vegetable trimmings and ends from my food prep into it.
Store vegetable trimmings in a freezer bag to make homemade vegetable broth
When the bag gets full, I dump it out into a large pot of water and 4-5 hours later have a rich, dark amber broth that is perfect to use as a soup base. You can refrigerate the broth if you are using it that week or freeze it for later use. I like to freeze my broth in ice cube trays and use them to cool down hot soup. I use this method for cooling down my hot coffee.
Ice Cube Tray Measurements
2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes = 1 cup
Don’t discard gems like this!
This is also a great way to use up any vegetables you won’t be able to eat before they spoil. The smell that will seep throughout your house is amazing as this broth is simmering. The hardest part about making broth is waiting
Ingredients that can be used:
- Carrots (shavings, tops, trimmings)
- Parsnips (shavings, tops, trimmings)
- Radishes (trimmings)
- Celery (leaves, base, trimmings)
- Onion/Shallots (all types! skins and trimmings)
- Garlic (skins and trimmings)
- Mushrooms (whole or scraps)
- Fennel (trimmings, base, tops, scraps)
- Leeks (base, tops, trimmings)
- Turnips – I always toss a whole one into any batch of stock
- Any vegetable you have on hand!
- Herbs (rosemary, oregano, parsley, whatever you like!)
Freeze odds and ends for later
The great thing about this method is that your broth will change flavor depending on the scraps you collected in the bag. Generally, I make sure to add a few garlic cloves, an extra onion that is chopped into quarters, and a turnip. I find the turnip gives the broth a nice earthy undertone that is otherwise missing.
Homemade Vegetable Broth
Simmer for ~4 hours
- 1 turnip, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bag of vegetable trimmings*
- Water – The amount of water you start with will depend on the size of your pot. Generally speaking, you want the water to reduce to about 1/3 of the original amount. The more it reduces, the more concentrated your broth will be.
- Salt and pepper**
*NOTE: If you do not collect trimmings and want to make broth from scratch just use whole ingredients from the list above.
**Generally, I don’t add salt or pepper to my broth. I usually wait until I am cooking with it to add salt, pepper, herbs, etc. However, you should experiment and season according to your taste!
- Place all items in a pot and fill with water. Leave about 1 inch from the top of the pot.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for ~4 hours. Times will vary depending on the size of your pot so be sure to check periodically the first time you do this.
- When the water has reduced to about 1/3 of the amount, remove from heat and strain.
- Let the veggies cool and then squeeze them over the broth to make sure you get all the flavor you can out of them.
- Strain again to remove any big chunks of vegetables.
- Freeze in ice cube trays and store ice cubes in a large freezer bag.
Great time saver!
I do my grocery shopping and food prep for the week on Sunday afternoon. It the single best time saver and stress reliever that I have discovered to date. It takes a bit of planning in the beginning to get the hang of it, but it is so worth it once you figure out the odds and ends!
I typically spend anywhere between 5-6 hours shopping, prepping, and cleaning up on Sunday, but it totally eliminates any work I have to do for meals during the week. At any point during the week, I can whip up breakfast, lunch, or dinner with zero prep time and minimal clean up. Mid-week clean up is reduced to the pots/pans I use to cook and the dishes we eat on.
For the past few months, I have been eating salads everyday for lunch and storing them in mason jars. I make 6 at a time and the mason jars keep the ingredients fresh for the entire week. Any airtight container would probably work, but I like mason jars because they fit in the door of the fridge. If I were to make the salads only, shopping, prep, and clean up would probably take 2-3 hours.
A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my mason jar salads on Instagram and it sparked a ton of questions from people. I originally saw this idea floating around Pinterest so I thought everyone already knew about it, but it turns out they do not. I never actually “pinned” the original idea onto one of my boards so, unfortunately, I can’t credit the place that I first saw this.
I don’t add any dressing into the mason jars because I dress my salads with olive oil and vinegar only. If you want, you can add the dressing to the bottom of the jars. Just make sure that you always layer sturdy veggies at the bottom (like carrots or radishes) so they stay crisp throughout the week.
Mason Jar Salads
Time: 2-3 hours which includes shopping, prep, and clean up
Makes 6 salads
Example of the items you will need
You can use any ingredients that you want. For the above salads I used the following:
- 3 green peppers – 1/2 pepper per salad
- 12 radishes – 2 radishes per salad
- 6 carrots – 1 per salad
- 3 small apples – 1/2 apple per salad
- 6 celery stalks – 1 per salad
- 3 shallots – 1/2 shallot per salad
- 3 heads of romaine lettuce – 1/2 head per salad
- 3 small cucumbers – 1/2 cucumber per salad. Note: Pictured above are 6 small cucumbers because I planned on using 1 per salad. As you can see in the picture below, it was way too much so I ended up using half of the original amount I bought.
- Sport peppers
Layer your ingredients
Start with your sturdy ingredients and layer each ingredient. Add the lettuce last. I layered in this order. Radish, carrot, cucumber, celery, green pepper, apple, shallot, sport peppers, and lettuce.
Shake the jar to create more room
Don’t worry if your jar starts to look like it is getting full. You have tons of room left and you can push the items down when you add the lettuce. Before adding the lettuce, shake the jar to settle the ingredients and fill in the gaps between layers. The jar on the left has not been shaken, the jar on the right has. See the difference?
Lastly, add the lettuce. Really pack it in there. You can fit a lot more than you think in these jars!
When you are ready to eat them, dump them out into a large bowl. At this point you can add a protein source like hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, or shrimp. Add nuts or seeds if you are keeping it vegetarian or vegan. You can also add homemade pickled banana peppers.
Make sure you save any veggie shavings or trimmings. Just throw them into a plastic bag and store them in your freezer. When the bag gets full, dump the contents into a large pot of water and make homemade vegetable broth.