Everyday Eats 2

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Everyday Eats post. I take photos for it almost everyday so it’s never far from my mind. But, I need enough time between posts or else you’d be seeing 15 pictures of taco salads. I’m not going to lie, I eat a lot of taco salads. I also eat a lot of tortilla chips. I don’t want to lead you to think I only eat veggies and quinoa all the time. I love chips. Michael loves chips. Together we can easily eat a huge bag of tortilla chips in a day or two if we aren’t careful.

Anyway, I digress.

If you missed Everyday Eats 1 you can find it here.

And now, Everyday Eats 2:

I’ll start with what else? A taco salad with lentils, cilantro, salsa and veggies. This Whole Foods salsa is the best salsa I’ve ever had. On Sunday we ate an entire container! We usually buy two at a time.

Taco Salad

If eating a whole bowl of coleslaw on its own wasn’t weird enough let me add that I ate this at 8 in the morning for breakfast one day. It had wasabi vegan mayo in it and was so strong that I haven’t had wasabi since.

vegan coleslaw

The portions on this look pathetic but I took the picture about half way through eating the broccoli. Simple sweet potato fries, broccoli and roasted tomatoes.

roasted vegetables

Curry chickpea salad with celery, tomatoes and what else…chips.

curry chickpea salad

Really simple vegetable, tofu, noodle soup that I make all the time when it’s cold.

veggie noodle soup

Leftover Chickpea, Curry, Coconut, Quinoa Soup with a bowl of lentils and veggies.

curry coconut chickpea quinoa soup

Trader Joe’s Veggie Gyozas with steamed cabbage, wasabi vegan mayo (pre-coleslaw) and tamari.

veggie potstickers with cabbage

Roasted potatoes, rutabaga and brussel sprouts.

roasted potatoes

Corn tortilla tacos filled with quinoa and sweet potatoes.

quinoa corn tacos

Another chickpea salad. I make this at least once a week for lunch. Always with lots of avocado.

chickpea salad with avocado

Do you remember Totino’s Party Pizzas? My brother used to love them as a kid. These taste like that but way better and they happen to be gluten-free. Glutino’s Brown Rice Personal Pizzas (not vegan) with a side of peas. I ate this the week I was sick, hence the big bowl of frozen peas as the only green you see.

gluten-free pizza

Taco salad number 1000 with chickpeas and leftover Tahini Cashew Dressing…so so so good! Of all these Everyday Eats I recommend making this one the most.

IMG_3506

Healthy black bean dinner bowl with sautéed peppers, onions, corn and avocado.

healthy black bean dinner bowl

As you can see these aren’t very creative. They supplement all the other new and exciting recipes that I share with you all as feature recipes. These photos tend to be of lunches or quick dinners that I pull together before or after teaching. None of these meals takes more than 20 minutes to make and use the normal, everyday foods we already have in the house. If you want a specific step by step on anything in particular let me know.

If you’re on the east coast, especially in Boston today, stay warm. It’s 10 degrees out there right now! Cold enough that I walked through the mall to get to Starbucks from the studio today. Now I get why they made an indoor mall that stretches 5 city blocks.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Recipe FAIL(s)

It’s not all rainbows and kittens here at quinoa, kale and exhale. Sometimes you start a recipe with the highest of expectations and then it turns out to be a big fat flop!

Yesterday I set out to make gluten-free bread sticks. I did some research online, per usual. I mixed the yeast with warm almond milk and sugar. I added it to the dry ingredients, plus some fresh rosemary. I formed the bread sticks, brushed them with garlicky vegan butter and crossed my fingers. Michael came home about an hour later and I eagerly showed him the baked bread sticks, they looked so nice. He took a bite, looked at me with a mouth full and shook his head ‘no, I do NOT think so’. He’s my biggest fan in the kitchen and often says things are better than they actually are so when he denied the bread sticks I knew I had to admit defeat…this time.

With no bread stick recipe to share with you I scoured the web and my cookbooks for some inspiration. Last week I bought some mustard seeds and I thought maybe a sweet mustard salad dressing would be the perfect make-up recipe for today’s post.

But, some days the cooking gods are just not in your favor. The only successful thing I’ve done in the last hour is burn two sets of mustard seeds and make a horrible charred and acidic mustard dressing.

I am now sitting under a big blanket with the windows wide open, letting in the 40 degree air so I can rid the house of the smell of failure 🙂

Lunch today? The simplest kale salad with rice wine vinegar, salt and water chestnuts and some Trader Joe’s veggie pot stickers.

White flag waving.

Until tomorrow.

 

Pumpkin Acorn Squash Soup

If I’m not tweaking someone else’s recipe, I’m developing my own. Although recipe development seems really high-tech and makes me sound way cooler then I am. In truth, I’m not that high-tech or cool, the process is pretty simple and goes something like this:

1.) What do I feel like eating? Some days this is clearer than others. There are days when I sit around for a long time trying to decide what I feel like. Those are often the days you get smoothie recipes. 🙂

2.) What do we have in the house?

3.) Based on what we have, what looks interesting and inspiring on Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Epicurious or other food blogger’s sites?

Then I pull up a word doc and start writing out an ingredients list. Then I cook. If the recipe turns out worth sharing I then write the directions out for you all, adjusting the ingredients to match how I made something. If the recipe sort of sucks, you get pictures of my dog!

Today the recipe did not suck, in fact, it was down right tasty. And I’m sorry that you’re getting another pumpkin recipe but you can omit it if you’re all pumpkin’d out. I just happen to have 1/2 a can leftover from the smoothie yesterday. I also used the other 1/2 of the jalapeno from Monday’s juice as I try to use up what’s left in the fridge before Michael leaves for London for work and I head to Chicago for my mom’s birthday weekend.

Pumpkin Acorn Squash Soup

1 acorn squash, roasted, fleshed scooped out

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 apple, cored and chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeño, diced

1/2 can pumpkin puree

4 cups veggie stock

1 tablespoon cumin

1 bay leaf

salt to taste

————

Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully cut the acorn squash in half.

Scoop out the seeds, lay face down on a sprayed cookie sheet and prick with a fork a few times. Roast for 30 minutes or so until a fork can slide through easily.

In a stockpot over medium high heat, saute apple, celery, onion and jalapeno in olive oil until tender.

Add vegetable stock.

Scoop squash out of skin and add to the pot with the 1/2 can of pumpkin puree.

Add cumin and bay leaf. Let soup come to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.

Salt soup and remove bay leaf.

With an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. You can also do this in batches in a blender or a food processor.

This soup has the perfect balance of earthiness from the squash, sweetness from the apple and spiciness from the jalapeno. I serve with pepitas, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

Poblano Hemp Seed Salad Dressing

I’ve always been a big sauce person. If the normal person eats their french fries with ketchup, I eat mine with ketchup, bbq sauce and ranch. So a few years ago when I started examining my diet more closely I was a little horrified by the amount of processed sauces I was actually eating; especially in the form of ranch dressing.

I can honestly say that I was probably going through a huge bottle of Hidden Valley Light Ranch almost every month! And justifying it because it was ‘light’ of course, simply ignoring the mile long ingredient list. In full transparency, I still indulge in ranch every once in a while when dining out but I’ve started creating my own salad dressings for every day use. I have also created a vegan ranch, with Michael’s help, but that’s not today’s recipe.

This dressing came about because of a sad looking poblano pepper sitting in my fruit basket. I intended to use it last week in some recipe I’ve long forgotten about. The thing is, I really hate to waste food, so I started wracking my brain for recipes using this poor pepper. While looking through my pantry I came across a big bag of hulled hemp seeds I bought this weekend. Between the two I figured I could come up with a flavorful salad dressing made of whole foods.

Poblano Hemp Seed Salad Dressing

1 poblano pepper, de-seeded and diced

1/4 cup of hulled hemp seeds (these are sometimes also called hemp hearts)

3 tablespoons water

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil (or regular olive oil and a teaspoon minced garlic)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

salt

————

Soak hemp seeds in 3 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes. When I attempted to make this yesterday I didn’t soak the seeds and they wouldn’t blend in my immersion blender. If you’re using a food processor or high-speed blender you may not need to soak but I found that adding this step helped create a creamy, smooth dressing.

Dump hemp seeds and soaking water in food processor. Add all remaining ingredients except salt.

Whirl until smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times.

Add salt to taste at the end. I didn’t measure how much salt I put in but if I had to guess I’d say 1/2 teaspoon, maybe a bit less.

I had this dressing over a kale salad with delicata squash but this would also be great over a taco salad. The poblano has a hint of spice but is very mild. For a spicier version, try with a jalapeno.

 

Enjoy!