The Pot

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This is “The Pot.” It was my boyfriend’s pot, but now it is our pot. And for the past couple days, the pot has inspired me to cook. I’m not sure what it was, but something about this pot spoke to me. “Use me,” it said. And so I did.

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind to cook was soup, given the rainy nights and all. So I made a lentil soup from a recipe that I created by combining a buncha different recipes I found online. I thought it was pretty tasty. But since I don’t have any pictures of it, no point in posting the recipe. Besides, the boyfriend suggested adding garlic so maybe I’ll post it when I try it again with the garlic.

Anyhow, the next night was still rainy, so I went for another soup. I had some kale that I wanted to use so kale soup it was. And if you know anything about me and my eating habits, you know I love me some kale. The soup was simple, but it was tasty.

Another successful dinner with The Pot.

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Spotlight On: Quiona

Stole this photo from OrganicJar.com

This may look like rice or something, but it’s not, it’s quinoa! What is quinoa? Well, that’s where it gets a little fuzzy. You see, it’s generally thought to be a grain, but according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website, it’s actually related to leafy green vegetables. Who would have thought?

Anyhow, a few days ago a friend of mine asked about different quinoa recipes and it got me to thinking how much I missed quinoa. I used to eat it a lot, but the last time I ran out it took me forever to restock. But alas, not too long ago I remembered to pick some up while I was at Trader Joe’s. I just so happened to decide to make quinoa stuffed bell peppers for lunch on Friday. I didn’t have any specific recipe, but I bought a soy chorizo (also from Trader Joe’s) and I knew that it would give the quinoa a good flavor.

So I just sautéed garlic, onion, minced carrot and diced green bell pepper then added the soy chorizo. While that was cooking, I cooked the quinoa.  Even though it is actually related to leafy vegetables, people think it’s a grain cause it acts a lot like rice. So I cook it the same way I cook rice (which is on the stove since I don’t have a rice cooker), except I use veggie broth instead of water to give it a little more flavor. Once the quinoa was done, I added it to the soy chorizo and sautéed vegetables and threw in a few chopped Roma tomatoes. After cooking everything together long enough for all the flavors to mix, I just spooned it all into a bell pepper that had been steaming while I was preparing everything else. I must say it turned out pretty darn good. That was lunch on Friday.

For dinner on Saturday, I made roasted vegetable over quinoa. The night before, I tried a roasted eggplant recipe that was delicious so I wanted to try without using a recipe. Instead of using olive oil, garlic and basil like I did for the eggplant recipe, I mixed garlic, lemon juice and Italian seasoning then poured it over the left over eggplant, a few Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper and stuck it into the broiler. I cooked it for a few minutes then flipped the eggplant around and cooked it for a little longer. While everything was in the broiler, I cooked quinoa seasoned with a little Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash. Once it was all done, I put it in the bowl. The veggies were a little too lemony and wouldn’t have been that good on their own, but quinoa tempered the lemon and soaked up some of the juices from the tomato so it worked out well together.

Then today, I made a pecan quinoa and had it with French style green beans for my mid-evening snack. The pecan quinoa was a recipe that I saw in one of my food books. It was pretty simple and straight forward. I just sautéed garlic then added quinoa, veggie broth, chopped up parsley, white pepper and pecans and cooked it until I didn’t see too many little white spots in the middle of the quinoa (if you’ve cooked it before you know what I’m talking about).  I just steamed the green beans and seasoned them with various Mrs. Dash flavors, some white pepper and a little Himalayan pink salt (more minerals than table salt).

So that was my weekend with quinoa. I’d say me and quinoa had a good time. As a side note, my mom loves this stuff. Every time she and I have a conversation about food, she brings up quinoa and how much she likes it. And with good reason. I think I’ve read that it’s the only non-animal complete protein. It’s also a good source of other good stuff.

See?

If you’re interested in trying quinoa out, you can try substituting it in any recipe that uses rice or you can try one of the suggestions on SavvyVegetarian.com

Happy Eating!

Organic or Not?

When I first switched over to a plant-based diet, my grocery bill was absolutely ridiculous. I went out and bought a LOT of produce, all organic. What I found was two things: 1) real food goes bad, fast and 2) buying everything organic is expensive. The solution to the first was simple, buy less. The second I resolved by only buying the items with the highest pesticide load organic. Of course, the ideal is to have everything organic, but this method will have to do for now.

To determine which produce I should buy organic, I looked up what is known as the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen.” These list are put out yearly to help consumers identify the conventionally grown items that have been found to have the highest pesticide load and the ones that have been found to be the “cleanest.” The goal is to avoid conventional items on the “dirty dozen” list and only buy those organic. If you’re trying to save money, the items on the “clean fifteen” list are generally safer to buy conventional.

Here are this year’s lists

Dirty Dozen (taken from TheDailyGreen)

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes

Not part of the list, but these next 3 should be bought organic due to the amount of pesticides and/or chemicals found

Meat
Milk
Coffee

These next 4 barely missed this year’s list but you should still stick to organic:

Leafy Greens
Carrots
Pears
Tomatoes

Clean Fifteen (taken from MindBodyGreen)

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potato
  15. Honeydew Melon

Hurray for CPK!

I recently found out that CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) not only has their nutritional information posted online, but they also have vegetarian information posted as well. They basically breakdown which dishes are appropriate for the different types of vegetarian and gluten-free diets. This made it super easy to select what I wanted to eat before I even went. After reviewing the calorie and sodium content of the vegetarian appropriate items on the menu what I decided on was the Moroccan Chicken Salad (without the chicken or the egg) and the Tuscan White Bean Minestrone. They were both deeeeeelicious!


Spotlight On: Kale

If you’re wondering what this is, let me introduce you to kale, my new favorite green vegetable (well, second to spinach). Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that can tout an array of health benefits, including but not limited to cancer prevention, protection against rheumatoid arthritis, and promotion of cardiovascular health. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fiber and even offers some protein.  Full details on the health benefits of kale, as well as a description and history of kale, can be found on the World’s Healthiest Foods website. Here’s a quick look at the nutritional chart from the site:

There are a number of different ways you can prepare kale. You can have boiled kale, stir fried kale, baked kale, raw kale salad, steamed kale, sautéd kale, braised kale, kale soup….. Point is, if you’re looking for a way to incorporate more green vegetables into your diet and are tired of the same ole’ same ole’, try kale. Adding this tasty green is a great way to mix things up, especially since there are so many different ways to prepare it.

“That sounds great, but where should I get started?” you may ask. Great question! Here are a couple quick and easy recipes you can try.

Continue reading “Spotlight On: Kale”

Island Kabobs with Tropical Fruit Salsa

 

I found this recipe on Dole’s website (can you tell from reading the recipe?). Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds DELISH!

Overview

Prep Time: 10 min
Grill Time: 10 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients

2 ripe, firm DOLE® Bananas, peeled, each cut into 6 pieces
1 ripe DOLE Banana, peeled and diced
12 chunks DOLE Tropical Gold® Pineapple
16 extra large or jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 DOLE Green Onion, minced
2 to 3 teaspoons minced jalapeño pepper

Directions

  1. Thread banana pieces, pineapple, shrimp and bell pepper pieces equally onto skewers.
  2. Whisk together lime juice, oil and allspice in small bowl. Brush 2 tablespoons over kabobs.
  3. Combine remaining marinade with diced banana, mango, mint, green onion and jalapeño pepper; place in a serving dish.
  4. Grill kabobs over medium high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or until the shrimp are opaque.
  5. Arrange the kabobs on top of the salsa.