Acorn Squash with Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa

The other day at work, one of the ladies staying here, who has a beautiful garden where she grows her own stuff, brought in bags of acorn squash. I didn’t used to love squash. I didn’t grow up eating squash or even thinking that squash was a food; squash was a part of the decorations during Thanksgiving. But since I started getting organic produce delivered to me by Mama Earth, I (finally) gave it a try, I have really gotten into squash over the last year. All kinds of squash. So I was really excited about getting bags full of them. I’m always on the look out for different ways to make squash.Ā I saw two recipes that I really liked and mashed them together šŸ™‚ and here was the result!

capture_2016-11-01-19-17-22.png.pngIngredients:
1 acorn squash
1/2 cups quinoa
2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced*
1 bunch broccolini, cut into bite sized pieces
handful of shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, cut into quarters
2 stalks of green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt
garlic powder

*I was lazy and nuked the sweet potatoes and cut them into rounds.

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400ĀŗF and line a tray with foil or parchment paper. Cut the acorn squash width wise so you get the nice flower pattern. Place on tray and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and garlic powder and roast in the oven for about 20-30 min or until tender.

While that is happening, cook your quinoa according to package instructions.

In a frying pan, add the sweet potato rounds and let it sear a little on both sides so they don’t fall apart on you as easily. Set aside.
In the same pan, add a bit of oil and when ready, add in garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in the broccolini and mushrooms. Cook until tender then add in the quinoa and cucumber. **I also added 6 tablespoons of hemp seed to add some protein here, optional.

On a plate, add a slice or two of the acorn squash. Top with the quinoa, then the sweet potatoes. Finally, garnish with the green onions. Enjoy!

2-4 servings

Pasta in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I just stumbled uponĀ minimalistbaker.comĀ last week and I am in love with all the recipes on there. Everything is simple and almost all the recipes are vegan, plant-based, and gluten free. The photography is beautiful. Plus I love that theĀ nutritional content is included which makes it perfect for me since I’ve been counting protein to make sure that I am getting enough (even though I have heard many times that I don’t need to count it as long as you’re getting in lots of healthy fruits and veggies, but I know I don’t so I need to make sure I am meeting the target amount of proteins. Anyway…) I tried out her Vegan Roasted Red Pepper PastaĀ and it was DELICIOUS!!!Ā and I was pretty impressed with myself for how it turned out since I was sure I would make a mess of things.

I threw in a bunch of veggies into this andĀ changed a few things based on what IĀ had in stock,Ā but I don’t think myĀ changes drastically changed it, but if you prefer the original recipe, click on the link above. Otherwise, check out the recipe below and happy cooking šŸ™‚

capture_2016-09-30-13-15-16.png.pngIngredients:
4 small peppers
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cashew milk
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
noodles of your choice (I used the GoGo Quinoa Macaroni)
1 bunch small carrots
1 head of broccoli
1 delicata squash

Directions:
Heat your oven to 500Ā°F. Put red peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until charred (about half an hour). When done, cover in foil for 10 minutes to steam, then peel away the charred skin, seeds, and stem. Set aside in a medium stainless steel bowl.

While the red peppers are roasting:
Cut up your carrots, broccoli, and squash. Line another baking tray and toss the veggies into the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

Cook your pasta according to instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large non-stick pan on medium heat, sautƩ the onion and garlic in coconut oil until golden brown. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste if you want, then transfer into the bowl with the roasted red peppers.
Add to the same bowl the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and corn starch.
Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender – I was just too lazy to hunt and assemble everything cause I don’t use mine often), blend everything until smooth. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or nutritional yeast if desired.
Once blended, place sauce back in your non-stick pan and allow to simmer to let the sauce thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until your desired consistency.
Toss in your veggies and noodles and coat in sauce. Enjoy!

Lemon-doodles

So a week or two ago, one of my best friends from grade school and I went to high tea to celebrate myĀ birthday at The Old Curiosity Tea Shop. The place was super cute and cozy, full of old tea pots everywhere and everyone who worked there was super pleasant and nice. They had such a large selection of teas and sandwiches and scones and cookies. One of the cookies that they had was called a lemon fancy. It was the yummiest lemon-iest cookie I have ever had. Basically ever since that day, I have been on the search to find this recipe!! I have not found it yet, but I found similar looking cookies that I wonder if I can convert.img_20160726_011041.jpgAnyway, on my search, I found this Skinny Lemon-doodles recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking and it was delicious! Not the same as the lemon fancies from the high tea place, but not bad either! Plus, super easy to make. I followed the recipe basically exactly, I couldn’t find the butter extract that it called for and used lemon extract instead to make it super lemony and I used coconut oil instead of the butter. But here is the recipe below:

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2Ā tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon zest (about 3 medium lemons)
4 tbspĀ coconut oil
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tspĀ lemon extract
1 cup granulated cane sugar
1/4Ā cup granulated cane sugar, for rolling

Instructions:
Preheat oven at 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest together. In a separate bowl mix the coconut oil, egg whites, vanilla and lemon extract, and the cup of sugar.

Mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture a cup at a time until it comes together into cookie dough.

Add the quarter cup of sugar into a shallow bowl.

Take a spoonful of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the ball into the sugar mixture and then flatten to the desired thickness in the palm of your hands. Place on baking sheet. Do this with the remaining dough until no more dough or no more space on your baking tray.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, it’s supposed to feel soft. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.

High Protein Mashed Potatoes

The other day I was super craving mashed potatoes. The problem with mashed potatoes is that there is zero protein or nutrition and that’s kind of an issue. I was Googling ideas to make it high in protein and found a recipe where the person added beans into the mashed potatoes. Since this was a last minute craving, and I was out of canned beans, I ended up using green lentils as my protein source so the mashed potatoes went from creamy white to a yellow-y colour.
Also added super garlicky spinach and added mushrooms to my mushroom gravy (I cheated here and just usedĀ the store bought packet ones) and this was the perfect vegan comfort dish. It was so delicious and so satisfied my cravings for mashed potatoes. Plus very simple to make, though admittedly, there were a lot of pots and pans to wash…so thankful for a dishwasher šŸ™‚
The lentils were hard to mash because they were so tiny and gave the mashed potatoes some texture, though not in a bad way. But I think next time, I’ll try it with canned white beans that I’ll keep on hand.

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Ingredients:
3 large potatoes
6 bunches of spinach
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of lentils
mushrooms (as much as you want, or as little. I used cremini and enoki mushrooms)
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
splash of cashew milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
salt
garlic powder to taste
olive oil
1 package of mushroom gravy

Directions:
In a pot, boil water. Add salt and garlic powder for taste. While waiting for the water to boil, cut potatoes into thick slices. When the water starts to boil, add potatoes.

Boil a second pot of water to cook your lentils or beans in. Follow directions on package of lentils.

While waiting for the potatoes and lentils to cook, wash and chop the mushrooms and spinach into bite sized pieces.
Add olive oil to a heated pan and add garlic. When fragrant, add the spinach and stir around and immediately take off the heat. You can cook it longer if you wish, I choose not to.

In another pot, make the gravy as per packet directions. 5 minutes to it being done, dump in the mushrooms and let cook.

When the potatoes and lentils are ready, mash the lentils. Mash the potatoes and add a splash of cashew milk until preferred creaminess. Add the lentils and nutritional yeast and add more milk and salt as needed. Add in the garlic spinach and make sure it’s all incorporated.

Scoop mashed potatoes and then add the mushroom gravy on top. Enjoy!

Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli with Barley and Red Beans

I have never had or made barley before in my life. I just took some from the bff after she said that she bought them before she went gluten free and is not going to be using them.

I did not realize before this point all of the health benefits that came with eating barley – it can help lower your blood pressure, help build and maintain bone structure and strength, decreasing the risk of heart diseases, helps detoxify some cancer-causing components in the body, can reduce inflammation, help with digestion and weight loss (whew!).
My main concern right now is getting enough protein and iron; just half a cup of barley has 7g of protein, 15% of your iron, and 15g of fiber. I mixed it in with some mushroom slices and someĀ driedĀ chili red beans (that I also stole from the bff), and was surprised to see that it had 20g of protein per half cup!! I don’t know if this is because they were dried beans since most of the canned ones I get are about 7-8g per cup or if it’s just this type of bean that has thatĀ much protein in it.

Anyway, this ended up being delicious! And I will have to incorporate some barley into future recipes! Maybe a hearty soup this weekend when it’s going to be -30000 degrees here šŸ˜¦

img_20160210_213535.jpg

Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli with Barley and Red Beans

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of barley
1 cup of red beans (canned or soaked over night)
about 8 medium sized cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
2 broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
garlic, minced
salt
pepper
lime

Instructions:
Cook barley according to package instructions. I used vegetable broth instead of plain water with half of the minced garlic and salt.
Cook the beans in water (I just used enough to cover the beans). When it boils, add salt to taste.
While that is cooking, heat your pan with some oil and toss in the minced garlic. Let it cook until fragrant and add the sweet potatoes. Add about a quarter cup of water. Let cook for about 10 minutes and then add the broccoli. Cover and let cook until ready.
When the barley is about done, mix beans and mushrooms into the barley. Mix until cooked.
Spoon barley and red bean onto a plate and top with sweet potatoes and broccoli. Add a spritz of lime juice if you want and salt and pepper to taste.

GF and (almost) Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These areĀ almost vegan because I used eggs instead of the egg replacement on this one. I haven’t been able to find a good egg replacer at my local health store.Ā But I have been eyeing this recipe and I have been craving cookies so I just went ahead and made this. I got this recipe for the Earth Balance website and they are so delicious – especially straight out of the oven! I didn’t add any of the gum stuff in this one and it tastes so much better than my scones AND it didn’t fall apart on me.

img_20160117_212420.jpg

This recipe made about 24 cookies and I ended up adding a little extra stuff and changing a few things here and there from the original recipe. But it ended up being just fine anyway!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats (I still had some Quacker Brown Sugar Oatmeal so I used that instead)
3/4 cup gluten free all purpose baking flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance stick, softened
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 egg replacer equivalent to one egg (I used an egg)
a splash of cashew milk

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a tray with parchment paper or grease the tray.

Mix the oats, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl, mix Earth Balance and sugars with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined.

Add the egg mixture into the oat mixture and stir until combined; then fold in the chocolate chips and coconut. If it’s too dry, add a splash of cashew milk and mix.

Scoop out a spoonful of the mixture and place on cookie sheet. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Fettucini with Roasted Watermelon Radishes in Mushroom Lentil Sauce

Did a lot of cooking this weekend, cooking and baking. Though one of them was a complete fail. I was trying to make a four ingredient protein brownie that looked like it would be delicious and healthy. IĀ do not know what went wrong – probably too much protein powder. Also I used chunky peanut butter instead of the smooth nut butter the recipe called for. Honestly, I didn’t think it would matter that much. Apparently it did because the entire recipe was a bust. A giant rubbery bust šŸ˜¦ So Ā I’ll try it again when I get around to buying a smooth nut butter!

But this recipe ended up much better, plus I love the colour that watermelon radishes add to any dish. Their bright colours just makes any dish look prettier and yummier. It took me Ā awhile to get on the radish train, but once I finally gave it a try, I was in love. They are so delicious!
I did cheat on the sauce though. I just used a pre-packaged Mushroom and Lentil soup from Pacific Organic. Too lazy to actually make one from scratch and I didn’t have enough mushrooms to make a very mushroomy sauce – the way I like my mushroom sauces. But it turned out really well!

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Ingredients:
1 package fettucini
4 small – medium watermelon radishes
3 carrots
1 cucumber
4 – 5 medium mushrooms
1 can lentil
1 package of Pacific Natural Roasted Garlic Mushroom Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
nutmeg

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 400Ā°F.

In a pot, boil water with salt and coarsely chopped garlic. Let pasta cook as per package, drain and set aside.

Peel skin off of radishes and carrots. Chop carrots into sticks; the radishes, mushrooms, and cucumber into bite sized pieces. Place the vegetables on a lined tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg and roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large pot, add a small amount of olive oil. When hot enough, add garlic and allow to cook until fragrant. Empty contents of the soup and lentil beans and cook according to package.
Towards the last five minutes, mix water and cornstarch together. Add the mixture to the soup until you get a sauce like consistency that you are happy with – you may need more cornstarch depending on how you like your sauces.
Add salt to taste.
**I also added 6 tablespoons of hemp seeds into my sauce for added protein.

Divide pasta onto separate plates. Dish out the mushroom sauce and top with veggies.