Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rich Sweet Potato Stew

This stew is rich, flavorful, and packed with nutrients!

I don't know what happened to the pictures I took, so you get no useful photo. I'll take one next time.
Sweet potatoes!


1 TBS canola or peanut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried jalapenos or crushed red pepper
2 TBS curry powder (I use Maharajah Curry from Penzey's)
1 TBS minced ginger
4.5 cups of water
2 unchicken bouillon cubes
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (pieces should be like an actual die. I got about 2 lbs from 3 average-sized sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup coconut milk
4 cups shredded kale

Heat up the oil in a big pot (this makes about 10 cups when finished). Add the onion and saute for about 10 minutes, then add in the spices and cook for another minute. Pour in the water and crumble in the bouillon cubes, then stir in the tomatoes and peanut butter. When that's combined, toss in the sweet potato chunks and cook for about 20 minutes, then add the kale and coconut milk, continuing for another 10 minutes, making sure the sweet potato pieces are soft enough to smash easily with the back of a spoon. If they're not soft enough, keep going until they are! Add water if needed and stir often.

Serve on a bed of couscous. I made mine by boiling a cup of water, adding in a tablespoon of roasted peanut oil, and a half an unchicken bouillon cube and mixing until dissolved, then I poured in a cup of couscous, stirred, and removed it from the heat. This makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per cup of stew)

Calories: 199
Carbs: 28 g
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 7.3 g
Fiber: 5.2 g (21%)
Sugars 10 g (25%)
Vitamin A: 374% (yeah, really!)
Vitamin C: 50%
Calcium: 8%
Iron: 13%

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Unchicken Caesar Salad

It's been a really, really long time since I had Caesar dressing, but when I was a kid, it was the only one I thought wasn't disgusting. However, I never would have eaten this because it would have been weird for me to combine the cold lettuce and the warm "chicken". I was a very, very picky eater (sorry, mom)! I have come a really long way!

I love this salad, it's a family favorite and it's pretty easy, too!

Prep the lettuce: Buy one of those packs of romaine hearts and chop up and wash the leaves (you don't want to use the hard core here). Set that aside in a colander so it can drip dry or use a salad spinner if you have one.

Start the "chicken" baking - I used Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders and baked like the package said. Easy stuff.

Now make the dressing:

4 TBS dijon mustard
4 TBS nutritional yeast
4 TBS ground almonds
4 TBS ground macadamia nuts or cashews
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of water
2-3 TBS lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 tsp kelp granules (optional)
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo or Follow Your Heart)
1 tsp ground black pepper

Put everything in the dressing ingredient list in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside in the fridge to thicken.

In the last 4 minutes of baking the "chicken", brush some of the dressing onto each strip and continue baking. The dressing will bake in a little bit.


Split the lettuce into even servings, then drizzle 2-3 TBS of dressing on the lettuce. Add the "chicken" and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. You're going to have extra dressing. You won't be sad about that.

I had some extra ground macadamia and almond blend, so I added a little nutritional yeast and salt to that and blended to make a pseudo parmesan topping and tossed that on there as well. If you're into croutons, you can knock yourself out and add some of those now, too.

This would be killer with a side of garlic bread sticks.

Per salad with 3 cups lettuce, 2 TBS dressing, and 3 "chicken" tenders:

Calories: 346
Carb: 25 g
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 13.6 g
Fiber: 4.1 g (16%)
Sugars: 2.8 g (7%)
Vitamin A: 280%
Vitamin C: 48%
Calcium: 7%
Iron: 15%

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

I had a few things in the fridge I wanted to use up, so I decided to stuff some peppers. I always hesitate to make them because they feel like too many steps, but it worked out to be worth it, in my opinion!

4 large bell peppers, any color - make sure they stand upright for best results
1 cup cooked orzo, mixed with 1/2 TBS olive oil or margarine
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
1 medium summer squash, peeled and diced
9 white mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3 TBS chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less, to taste)
1 tsp Herbes de Provence (I added more to taste, about another 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp mushroom salt (or regular if you don't have mushroom)
2 cups marinara sauce

1 recipe macadamia cream
(1 cup macadamia nuts, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt blended until rich and creamy)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While that's coming to temperature, carefully cut the stem off each pepper (it's like cutting the stem off of a jack o' lantern, but easier). carefully pull out seeds and pith, leaving the pepper intact.Boil each pepper for about 3 minutes, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the olive oil and onion in a large pan over medium-high heat, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in garlic, zucchini, and summer squash and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine, red pepper, Herbes de Provence, and olives and cook for a few more minutes, then add in the orzo for 2 more minutes, stirring often.

Place one cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish, then put the peppers on top of that, upright. Fill each pepper with 1/4 (about 1.25 cups) of the vegetable-orzo mix, then add 1/4 cup of marinara sauce, then 2 TBS of macadamia cream.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350, then turn the oven to broil and broil for a few minutes to get a little charring.

Serve by scooping 1/4 of the marinara from the pan and pouring it on top of the pepper.

They're heavy enough that one pepper is a solid meal. You can round it out with a nice salad if you want, but these are very satisfying on their own.

Nutrition, per pepper

Calories: 404
Fat: 24 g
Carbs: 36 g
Fiber: 11 g (42%)
Sugars: 8.6
Protein: 9.5 g
Vitamin A: 19%
Vitamin C: 336%
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 38%

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oreo Cupcakes

My daughter has a friend over tonight and I overheard them talking about Oreos. I decided it might be fun to make Oreo-inspired cupcakes.

The cupcake part is pretty easy, just take a standard chocolate cupcake recipe and replace the cocoa powder with black cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder is a little harder to find, but it transforms the flavor and will seriously remind you of Oreos.

My taste-testers gave it rave reviews.

Make the cupcakes and while they're cooling, make the frosting.

Here's a simple cupcake recipe if you don't have one you like:

1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 TBS black cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp Mexican vanilla (regular works too, but use this if you have both)
1 tsp vinegar (apple cider or white)
5 TBS canola oil
1 cup cold water


Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners. In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients (flour through salt). Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one well, place the vanilla, in another, add the vinegar, and add the oil in the third. Pour the cold water over the whole thing, then stir until combined (no large lumps). Pour about 1/4 cup into each liner and bake for 20 minutes. It's done if you can insert a knife and it comes out dry.

Filling recipe:


1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (if you don't have it, regular will work)
1 TBS non-dairy milk (I used plain coconut beverage)
1/8 tsp salt


Beat the shortening until fluffy, about a minute. Then add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and another 1/2 cup, and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the tablespoon of non-dairy milk, the salt, and the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and beat until thick and slightly fluffy. You may need to add a little more liquid to get the texture right, but it will remind you of Oreo filling.

Push a hole into each cupcake and place about 1/2 TBS of filling inside each hole. You could choose to scoop out a bit of each cupcake, but that's a total waste. Just push it aside and preserve the whole cupcake.  Serve with a side of extra filling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bubble Lassi

I was in the mood for the kind of bubble tea that's like a drinkable dessert with no actual tea. You know the kind.

I eyed a big can of mango pulp and decided I'd make a fusion of mango lassi and bubble tea. It was SO GOOD. I only got a terrible picture of it because my phone was nearly dead and had to be plugged in while I took the photo, so I had to take the picture in a weird place at a weird angle. Do not let this terrible image dissuade you - it is SO worth making!


1 cup quick-cooking boba pearls (these are the tapioca-based black 'bubbles' - you can get them in Asian markets or online)
1 TBS sugar
1.25 cups sweetened mango pulp (you can get this in Indian markets or online)
1.5 cup of coconut milk-based vanilla yogurt

Boil the boba until cooked, drain, then add the sugar and enough cold water to cover them. Let that cool down.

Mix the mango pulp and yogurt with crushed ice. A blender would produce better, thicker results, but Aaron was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him by running the lovely but loud Vitamix, so I just stirred in some crushed ice after stirring the heck out of the mango and yogurt mix. I didn't measure the ice, so you'll have to get it to where it's nice and thick and cold. Place 1/3 of the bubbles in each glass, then add 1/3 of the mango mixture. Serve with giant bubble-friendly straws.

I promise, it is delicious!

Nutrition (per 1/3 of recipe): 

Calories: 214
Fat: 3 g
Carbs: 47 g
Fiber: 2.3 g
Sugars: 18.5 g
Protein: .5 g
Vitamin A: 7%
Vitamin C: 5%
Calcium 10%
Iron 4%