Lentils and Rice

This box of spanish rice has been my nemesis forever. I bought it at least a year ago when we were still living in Noe Valley. I have no idea why I bought it. Maybe for burritos or taco salads? Whatever it was for, it wasn’t used. We gave away almost all our food before the move and yet, it somehow found its way into the moving boxes, all the way across the country and back into our new kitchen just to stare me down for another 6 months. Resilient little bugger.

spanish rice

Yesterday it finally met it’s fate!

lentils and rice

Work is crazy for Michael right now as he prepares for a big meeting at the end of the month. Knowing he would be working late again last night I thought I’d make him something that would only get better with a little time in the fridge. Plus, he’d asked for a veggie stew this weekend and I didn’t make it for him so I used this to make it up to him.

I love the combo of rice and lentils and it was also the easiest recipe I’ve made in a long time. Saute veggies with spices, add lentils and rice, add liquid, done. I actually made and photographed a smoothie for a WalkJogRun article while this was cooking.

Feel free to add whatever rice you have on hand you absolutely do not need this specific box of rice but if you’re like me and have one hanging around, it might be a great time to finally use it.

Lentils and Rice (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 broccoli stalk, diced

1/2 jalapeño with seeds, diced

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 box spanish rice and half flavor packet

1 can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cup green lentils

2 cups veggie broth

3 cups water

————

Heat olive oil over high heat and saute vegetables until soft. Add garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin and chili powder, saute another minute.

veggies and spices

sauteed veggies

Add rice, flavor packet, diced tomatoes, lentils, veggie broth and water to the vegetable mixture.

rice and lentils

Cook over medium high heat for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.

lentils and rice

I ate my plain. Michael told me this morning that he made sandwiches out of his and topped the mixture with cheese. He also brought it to my attention that I made A LOT of it, which is very true. If you’d like to make a smaller portion, cut the lentils and rice in half. You’ll also want to reduce the water to 1 cup.

lentils and rice

lentils and rice

Enjoy and Exhale!

Asparagus with Maple Tahini Dressing

Weekend post! So rare for me but I wanted to share.

Last week I created a veggie side dish featuring asparagus for WalkJogRun. I roasted the asparagus because it is still winter after all, then paired it with a lightly sweet, incredibly lovely maple tahini dressing that had me licking the bowl clean.

If you’re interested, you can find the recipe here or click on the first photo I’ve ever taken that I’m actually proud of! Progress is progress, no matter how small.

Vegetable Spotlight: Asparagus

Hope you’re having a relaxing St. Patty’s Day.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls

I made these on Friday after coming back from a super hot and sweaty yoga class. I was in the mood for something light but still filling and frankly I was looking for an excuse to eat a bunch of dipping sauces. These spring rolls were just the thing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

I didn’t have any rice noodles so I substituted red quinoa; it added some heft and substance to these rolls. I love how versatile this recipe is. Swap in some tempeh, tofu, maybe even some lentils instead of the quinoa. If you try lentils let me know how it goes, I worry they might not hold together well. You can also mix and match the veggies, I wish I’d have had some bean sprouts, next time.

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls (vegan, gluten-free)

5 brown rice paper wrappers

water for wetting the wrappers

1 cup cooked quinoa, any variety

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 small carrot, cut into match sticks

cilantro

sriracha

spicy mustard

————

Cut your veggies in long match sticks. Still working on my knife skills. 🙂

spring roll vegetables

Grab your rice paper wrappers. I used brown rice wrappers. They were a little old and kept breaking on me. Buy a fresh package if you’re looking to wow with the presentation.

brown rice spring roll wrappers

Put some water on a large plate, place one wrapper on the plate at a time. If you have plates without the center rim I would use those. If not, make sure to move the wrappers around so the water evenly coats the wrapper.

place water on a plate

The wrappers should be soft but not falling apart. Let excess water drip off before placing on a second plate. Pile with quinoa, vegetables, cilantro and sauces.

veggie spring roll prep veggie spring roll prep

To roll, turn two sides in on the topping. Then roll the far side over the two sides you just turned in until the seams are covered. I’m sorry there aren’t step by step pictures. I’ll try to take some next time I make these.

veggie spring roll prep quinoa vegetable spring rolls quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Eat with additional mustard and sriracha if you’re like me and love sauces. These would also be tasty with my cilantro stem dressing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Enjoy and Exhale!

Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry

First let me say that I wish these photos had turned out better. This was such a tasty meal but I was hasty with the photography. What can I say, it was late, there was good TV on and I was hungry!

These photos really don’t do this meal justice. It was so good that it was actually meant to be yesterday’s post but the blueberry muffins stole the show (or post). It will have to settle for second in the posting schedule but not in flavor.

vegetable tofu stir fry

To be honest, l’m actually not a huge fan of stir fries but they are one of Michael’s favorites and I owe it to him to make it from time to time. This recipe was so simple and tasty that it may just have changed my opinion on the lowly stir fry.

I love how incredibly versatile this recipe is, consider this the jumping off point. How you mix and match is totally up to you. I already have a dozen new sauce and veggie combos in my head, one of which will likely become dinner tonight. Lucky Michael!

Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 onion, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

1 carrot

2 tbsp garlic, minced

pinch of salt

1 package of firm tofu, pressed and sliced into cubes

1 tbsp tamari

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar, vegans can omit

dash of cayenne pepper

1/2 tbsp paprika

Toppings:

1 tsp sriracha

2 tbsp slivered almonds

1 tbsp cilantro

———–

Slice onion, pepper and carrot.

onions and peppers

Heat oil in a large wok. Make sure the wok is really hot. Peanut oil is best for stir frying because it has a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated very high before it starts to break down and taste bitter. The hotter the oil and the pan, the better tasting the stir fry.

Once oil is hot, throw in the sliced veggies. Stir fry for about 5 minutes or until veggies start to get soft but still have some crunch to them. Add garlic, cook for another minute.

healthy stir fry

Next add the tofu. I put my tofu in and then immediately added my liquids but next time I’ll give the tofu a few minutes to brown.

Add tamari, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and paprika. I used regular paprika but I think smoked paprika would add an excellent flavor to this.

Stir fry for a few more minutes until veggies and tofu are coated.

tofu stir fry

Serve with sriracha, slivered almonds and cilantro on top.

Michael would have preferred this over brown rice. I’m not the biggest rice fan so I liked it as it was but could also imagine it being tasty over rice noodles.

The perfect, fast, easy weeknight meal.

tofu vegetable stir fry tofu vegetable stir fry

Enjoy and Exhale!

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti (Squash)

Holy cold. Someone remind me why we moved away from sunny, warm California to Boston where it was 5 degrees this morning? 5 degrees but feels like -11! Yesterday I googled ‘how cold is too cold to take a dog running?’ If you’re curious there’s no definitive answer. I put a running coat on Eli (yes he has a coat) bundled up in 5 layers and went anyway. Once we got going it wasn’t too horrible but we still came back after only 2 miles. It was the wind, not the cold that finally did me in.

When we got home I made a quinoa beet recipe that I wanted to share today but the photos are currently being held hostage on my new camera. I need to download some software  before I can access the pics which hasn’t happened yet for a variety of reasons.

So instead of quinoa you get spaghetti. Actually spaghetti squash.

I made this recipe last week when we were trying to use up the last of our groceries. This squash was the lone hold out.

Tofu Vegetable Spaghetti Squash (vegan, gluten-free)

1 spaghetti squash, roasted

2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

10 cremini mushrooms

1 head of broccoli

10 asparagus spears

1 cup broccoli/carrot slaw

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed

1 jar of tomato sauce or 1 28 ounce can of roasted tomatoes

2 tsp oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tsp garlic salt

————-

Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a sprayed cookie sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes. When a fork can pierce the skin without resistance it’s done.

While the squash is cooking heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Saute chopped mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, broccoli slaw, garlic and red chili flakes until veggies starts to soften.

sauteed veggies

IMG_3606

Remove tofu from package and place between 2 paper towels. Press out as much moisture as you can. Once tofu is dry-ish (it doesn’t need to be super dry) heat remaining olive oil and place tofu in pan. Using a potato masher break apart the tofu. You can use a fork but I find the potato masher much easier. Cook tofu until it begins to brown.

IMG_3609

Then add the veggies and tofu together.

IMG_3612

I forgot to take a photo of the next part. Pour tomato sauce over the veggie/tofu mixture. Add oregano, basil and garlic salt. Cook until tomato sauce warms up. If you don’t want to use pre-made sauce you can use a can of tomatoes but you’ll need to add more salt, basil and oregano. You may even want to add a little tomato paste and sugar for a hint of sweetness.

When the sauce is ready, take a fork and run it down the flesh side of the cooled squash. The fork will create spaghetti like ribbons. You can make ribbons all the way to the skin. Place squash ribbons in a bowl and cover with sauce.

IMG_3615 IMG_3621

This dish is deceptively filling, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Squash baby anyone?

Enjoy and Exhale!

Shredded Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad

When I was planning our holiday meals I knew I wanted to include lots and lots of greens. As I was searching epicurious I came across this salad and it sounded simple and delicious. My family loves brussel sprouts and I adore kale (duh!) so this seemed like the perfect marriage. It ended up being a big hit around our table not only from the veggie inclined but from the omnivores as well.

Always wanting to give credit to the original source, here is the link but be warned, my version deviates so much that it almost doesn’t seem like the same salad. I simplified my recipe a lot, not so much because I didn’t like the idea of cheese and nuts but because it was the last thing I made that night and I simply forgot to add them. My mom and Michael both said they liked how simple it was without, points for forgetfulness.

Shredded brussel sprout and kale salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1 lb brussel sprouts, shredded

1 bag of torn kale

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1-2 tbsp water

————-

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Shred brussel sprouts. I did this with a knife and it took forever but I imagine a food processor would work well and be much faster. Wash and tear kale. I used a prepackaged bag of kale from Trader Joe’s for simplicity sake.

Shredded brussel sprouts

shredded brussel sprouts and kale

Once water is boiling, dump in brussel sprouts and kale for 30-45 seconds. Drain and rinse veggies with cold water.

Saute shallot and garlic in olive oil until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes.

Add shallots/garlic to a bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust accordingly. You can replace the water with olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar if you feel like something is lacking. You want the dressing to be fairly thin so it coats the salad evenly.

Place vegetables in a big salad bowl. Mix with dressing.

shredded brussel sprout and kale salad

The salad was great the day of but was equally as tasty the 2 days after, by the third day it was pretty soggy.

I again apologize for my horrible pictures. My new years resolution is to get a better camera and learn how to take better photos.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Christmas in Pictures

We had a great holiday. Hope you did too.

My mom is still here so I won’t spend my short time with her writing a long post but here are a few highlights in pictures.

Eli and Michael

Eli waiting patiently for a little scrap of daddy’s sandwich.

Eli

Eli’s holiday necklace.

Me

Cooking in my father’s daughter apron. A gift from my mom last Christmas.

Sarah and Me

Pearls in the kitchen.

Holiday veggies

Root veggie hash, roasted brussel sprouts with grapes and chocolate soufflè cake in the back.

Christmas Eve Dinner

The Christmas Eve spread.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Close up of my plate.

Mom

My mom by the tree.

Christmas Day Lunch

Christmas day lunch: leftover salad with Field Roast loaf.

Holiday Presents

His and hers gifts. Can you guess which is mine?

Christmas Cards

Our mantle with my sister’s holiday card for Michael.

Christmas Day Dinner

Christmas day meal. Pumpkin mashed potatoes with spinach, brussel sprout and kale salad and a lentil loaf peeking out from the back. I changed up the lentil loaf recipe a little which made it much easier and faster to make. I’ll update the recipe in the next few days.

Sarah and Teddy

Sarah and my brother Teddy.

Sibs

Horvath kids.

Michael and Teddy

Michael and Teddy.

Sarah

My sister’s boyfriend made a custom puzzle from a picture he took during their last visit to Boston. Nice work Will!

Family

Dinner shot.

Now time to get back to work. Teaching at Crossfit at 12:15 and 7, All One Yoga at 4:30. If you’re in Boston come by.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Christmas Colored Quinoa

It’s been a lot of sweets around here lately and although I love me some sugar, it’s time for something savory.

tomato basil quinoa

This quinoa salad seems a little summery for late December but let’s use red and green to our advantage and say this is a Christmas themed quinoa salad shall we? Even if it’s really just a product of the leftovers from my paninis earlier this week.

This basil has been taunting me, slowly turning brown with each passing day, and yet I didn’t know what to do with it. And these grape tomatoes, although completely out of season, taste surprisingly sweet and shouldn’t be wasted. So I decided to keep with the panini theme in quinoa form. I mixed the grape tomatoes and basil with sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and a big squeeze of lemon for a dish that makes it feel like August in December.

Just a little something healthy in between all the Christmas cookies.

Tomato, Basil Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

2 cups dry quinoa

4 cups water

pinch of salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/4 cup basil, cut into ribbons

————

Cook quinoa according to these directions.

While quinoa is cooking, heat the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium low. Reduce to about half, approximately 7-8 minutes. The vinegar should still be liquid-y, don’t let it get too thick.

Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces and chiffonade the basil (i.e. French for cut into little ribbons).  grape tomatoes

sundried tomatoes and basil

Place quinoa in a bowl with the tomatoes and basil. Mix in balsamic reduction, olive oil, lemon and salt.

quinoa salad

I mixed the basil in when I took these photos but you can also just top with basil at the very end if you prefer.

tomato basil quinoa

I also only used 1 cup dry quinoa in my recipe and found it a little heavy on the vinegar. Hence the quinoa in my photos will seem a bit darker than yours will, use 2 cups quinoa as the recipe states and I think it will be just right.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Running and Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

How do weekends go by so fast? I feel like it was just Friday night. Sigh.

My weekend was wonderful as always. I subbed on Friday night and taught my regular classes Saturday morning. I am really starting to love my Saturday morning classes. The energy is so positive and happy on the weekends. I can’t believe I get paid to teach! Sorry, I digress, back to the weekend.

Saturday afternoon Michael and I walked down to Newbury Street and did a little shopping. Saturday night I had a holiday party for one of the studios I teach at. I made my Southwestern Quinoa Salad. I didn’t have any limes so I made it with lemons and a little cayenne pepper. It was just as delicious as I remember it, maybe even more so.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Sunday I was up early, per usual, and just about finished my Christmas shopping while I waited for Michael to get up. Thank you world wide web. After breakfast we decided to venture into a new neighborhood. There’s a reservoir in Chestnut Hill that gets rave reviews for runners and dogs so we headed out. The reservoir is about 1.75 miles around and right on the edge of BC’s campus. I was feeling really good and with Michael pushing me the first lap around we were going at about a 6:45 minute pace!! I did the second lap on my own and managed to keep it under 7 mins! I’ve never thought of myself as a speedy runner so I was pleasantly thrilled by these numbers. Maybe I’ve spent too many years running the big hills of SF where I all but gave up on timing myself.

Here’s the official time and distance from Map My Run and a picture of us at the reservoir.

Map My Run Us on Chestnut Hill Reservoir

After the run we explored Newton, a cute suburb of Boston and grabbed a coffee. Then headed to Whole Foods. I had tortilla soup on the brain and wanted to pick up the fixings.

I love tortilla soup but it’s almost always made with chicken so I never have it. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make a veg version since it’s mostly about the toppings anyway. Turns out, vegetarian tortilla soup is really freakin’ good!

Tortilla Soup (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free)

For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

1 large poblano pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 cups vegetable stock

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Sliced avocado

Sliced green onion

Cilantro

Tortilla strips or chips

————

In a large pot saute onions and peppers until almost soft. About 5 minutes.

Poblano and onion

Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and cayenne. These measurements were rough. I added a bit more of each of the spices later on in the cooking process. Taste as you go.

Dump in vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low heat for 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Add black beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Once soup is ready, top with lime, avocado, onion, cilantro, tortilla strips or chips. I was going to make tortilla strips but it started to get late and I was feeling lazy. Next time I will, but the chips were not a bad substitute.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Just a few notes:

When I first tasted the soup, prior to letting it simmer for 20 minutes, it was very bland. Give it a little time for the flavors to merry and I promise it’ll come together.

The poblano and cayenne give a mild heat. If you want it spicier you can include a jalapeno or hot sauce.

You can also add a can of diced tomatoes with the juices if you want some tomato chunks but I didn’t think it needed it.

Lastly, do not skip the lime. I forgot it at first and both Michael and I felt like something was missing, once we added the lime the whole soup came to life.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Enjoy your Monday and go make this soup!

Inside My Shopping Cart

I was recently asked about how I grocery shop and plan our meals. To be honest, there’s no science to it and most the time I don’t even have a plan but I’ll share my pseudo ‘strategy’ here in case it helps someone.

We usually grocery shop once a week. We, like most of Boston, do a big shop on Sundays after a run, breakfast and some football. During the week I may also stop in to pick up odds and ends, especially on Thursday evenings when I’m done teaching at All One Yoga as there’s a grocery store on the same block.

During the week I spend a lot of time on food blogs and Tastespotting. If there is something in particular that catches my eye, I bookmark it. For anyone who is following a lot of blogs and doesn’t use a reader I strongly suggest it. I use NetNewsWire. It’s a great way to aggregate blogs and recipes. When I like something, I flag the post then refer back to it right before we go shopping. See below.

NetNewsWire

If something sounds good to both Michael and me then I make a list of the ingredients we’ll need on my phone.

But only if something sounds good.

Most the time we are very wishy-washy so we just buy staples for our go-to meals. That list is below:

Fruits and Veggies:

Apples, lemons, limes, celery, carrots, ginger and cucumbers. Most of these are for my morning juices.

Onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, avocados, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and asparagus. These are for steamed and roasted vegetables, the base for soups or assorted dinner bowls. I buy onions and sweet potatoes in bulk when I can because we use them so often. I also buy cilantro pretty religiously because it’s my favorite herb.

“Dairy”:

Almond milk, firm tofu, vegenaise and Earth Balance spread. We don’t buy a ton of traditional dairy but we do buy cheese and eggs. Michael likes cheese on his sandwiches and often makes eggs on the weekends. I will eat a quesadilla or panini when I need a quick meal so it’s nice to have in the house.

Bulk Bins:

Garbanzo, black, white beans, quinoa, lentils, dates, gf oats, nuts, raisins. If I’m trying a recipe with new ingredients I will try to buy what I can in the bulk bins in case I don’t like it. That’s how I discovered chia and flax seeds. I’ve alluded to it before but the bulk bins tend to be cheaper than packages of the same item. Save your money and buy bulk. I use a bunch of mason jars to hold my bulk goodies.

Bulk bin mason jars

Freezer Section: 

Gluten-free bread (Udi’s is Michael’s brand of choice), Against the Grain frozen gf pizzas are a new favorite, frozen peas, corn. If we’re at Trader Joe’s I stock up on corn and bean enchiladas, green chile tamales, veggie gyozas and soycatash. I also buy a big bunch of bananas every other week or so and stick them directly in the freezer when we get home for smoothies and baking. I’ve been making this a ton so I’ve gone through a lot of bananas lately.

Beverages: 

We are obsessed with bubbly water. We buy at least 10 bottles each time we go to the store. We really need a soda stream. If I need it I’ll buy Tazo’s Awake black tea and Michael loves cranberry juice so we buy a couple of bottles regularly.

Treats:

We are both big chip fans. We buy a bag or two of Lundberg’s BBQ rice chips and a bag of tortilla chips every week. If you’ve never tried Lundberg rice chips please do yourself a favor and buy some as soon as possible. They are SO good!

I eat Whole Food’s vegan dark chocolate chips almost every night so we buy a bag most weeks. We occasionally buy ice cream. We also eat a lot of salsa, that’s not a treat but I didn’t know what section to put it in, ha.

As for meat, Michael is not a vegetarian and will eat it if we’re out or occasionally when ordering takeout but we never buy it. Below is a shot of our groceries from a trip to Whole Foods.

Typical groceries

Whew, okay, so that’s mostly it. I’m sure I’m leaving a ton of stuff off this list but this is the basic outline. It’s nothing too exciting and we spend way too much money on food but I consider it too important to skimp on. Hope this helped some of you out.

Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy!