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. ūüôā

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!

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!

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Thank you for all the kind comments from yesterday’s Virtual Vegan Potluck. If you didn’t get a chance to see my recipe click here.

Now on to something sweet.

I love when first time recipes turn out. It makes the cooking process so much more enjoyable.

I’ve been craving oatmeal cookies for a couple of days now. I have all the ingredients but am never in the mood to bake at night when I really want one. This morning, in a baking mood, I started concepting (ah, an old advertising word, haha) how to justify a way to have oatmeal cookies for breakfast.

This recipe combines all the things I love about cookies without all the butter and flour and sugar. You can eat one of these bars every morning and not feel the least bit bad. Plus, they are really quick and easy to make, which seems to be my theme these days.

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Bars (vegan, gluten-free)

2 cups gluten-free oats

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup (agave would probably work well here too)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup unflavored almond milk (or whatever type of milk you prefer)

2 frozen bananas, thawed (you can also use very ripe bananas if you have some you need to use up)

1/4 cup raisins

————

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add all wet ingredients to dry. If using frozen bananas microwave for 30-45 seconds then mash into the mixture with a fork.

Add raisins last.

Grease a glass baking dish, I used cooking spray. Dump mixture into baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bars become firm.

Serve once cooled with a big glass of black tea or coffee.

Enjoy!

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath and Spicy Rice Noodle Soup

Thank you for all your texts and emails yesterday. We were not very affected by Hurricane Sandy except for some rain and heavy wind. From the looks of it,¬†poor New York and New Jersey took the brunt of the storm. My sister sent me some crazy pictures of the flooding in Manhattan. Here’s one, courtesy of her friend Sam.

This is of her hospital, NYU, which was evacuated late last night. She luckily wasn’t working but many of her friends were.¬†Good thoughts go out to everyone dealing with the aftermath.

This morning here in Boston it’s bright and sunny.

But yesterday, with the winds whipping and the rain pelting the window I started thinking about soup.

I stumbled upon this recipe on Foodgawker which I used as the base for my own recipe. I added a bunch of other ingredients I had on hand following an aimless wander through the grocery store after subbing a yoga class last week.

Don’t let the length of the ingredients list deter you. It seems long but it’s a lot of dashes of this and handfuls of that. This soup is stupid simple to make and takes no more than 10 minutes. Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Spicy Rice Noodle Soup (gluten-free, vegan)

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced into half moons

1/2 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2″ cubes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

pinch of red pepper flakes

7 cups vegetable broth

1/4 package of rice noodles, I used the Thai Kitchen brand stir fry noodles

1 tablespoon tamari

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1-2 teaspoons sriracha

1 can water chestnuts

big handful of mung beans

big handful of mini mushrooms

big squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 green onion, chopped

————

Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute onions for 2-3 mins until they start getting soft. Add in tofu and saute until browned, 2 or so more minutes. In the last minute add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Pour vegetable broth over the onion mixture. Add rice noodles, tamari and miso paste.

Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat until noodles are soft. These noodles cook fast so you probably won’t need more than 5 minutes.

While noodles cook in the soup, place some water chestnuts, mung beans and mini mushrooms in a big soup bowl. Ladle soup over the chestnuts mixture. Top with lime juice, rice wine vinegar and chopped scallion.

Enjoy!

Healthy Dinner Bowls

Last night as Michael and I ate dinner he asked why I hadn’t posted any of my ‘dinner bowls’ yet. Honestly, a part of me thought they were too simple and lacking in creativity, they also seemed sort of boring.¬†But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

It’s the simplicity of these dinner bowls that makes them so appealing. They’re what we have when I don’t feel like cooking, what we gravitate toward when we get back from a long trip, what we eat when we need a good dose of veggies and protein and fiber. They pack a healthy punch and leave you feeling good full, not gross full as my sister sometimes calls it. So why keep them all to myself?

The formula for these bowls is simple. Pick a protein, grab some veggies, make a sauce.

I usually use beans or lentils as our protein: black beans, red lentils, kidney beans are some of my favorites. Tofu or tempeh would work well here too.

While the beans or lentils cook, I steam or roast whatever vegetables I have on hand. That is my favorite way to make vegetables but you can saute or braise or use frozen veggies if you prefer. This recipe is so versatile, we used the leftover autumn vegetable hash in Monday’s bowl.

Then I make a sauce. Sometimes it’s a simple mix of oil and vinegar, other times my miso dressing or plain salsa.

Below are just a few sample bowls for you. I will do a separate post on the sauces tomorrow.

Black Bean, Butternut Squash Dinner Bowl

3 cups black beans, I made my own but feel free to use canned

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

salt to taste

1/2 butternut squash, diced into 1/2″ pieces

1 bunch of kale, destemmed

1 jar of salsa, whichever kind you prefer

1/2 cup vegan ranch dressing, recipe to come

Chives as garnish

————

Warm black beans on the stove top. Add cumin, chili powder, vinegar and salt.

Dice squash and place on sprayed cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 375. Toss once half way through.

Steam kale for 3-4 minutes until it just starts to get soft.

Pile everything into a big bowl, top with salsa, ranch dressing and chives.

This makes two very large portions.

 

Red Lentil, Kale Dinner Bowl

3 cups cooked lentils, I used red lentils but green lentils work just as well

1 bunch kale

1 carrot, cut into coins

1 zucchini, diced

2 cups autumn vegetable hash, optional but if you have some leftover it’s really tasty in this meal

1/2 cup peanut sauce, recipe to come

Chives as garnish

————

Cook lentils according to package directions.

Steam kale, carrots and zucchini.

Pile lentils and veggies into a bowl. Top with peanut sauce and chives.

Makes two very large portions.

Michael had his ‘bowl’ on a plate but you get the idea ūüôā

As you can see, there are endless combinations to these bowls and they only take a few minutes to create. Just as fast as takeout but infinitely more healthy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Little Bits of Random 2 and a Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

This post was just titled Pumpkin Banana Smoothie but then Eli ate half my breakfast and the picture below is so priceless that I decided to do a little bits of random post dedicated to the pets.

I’m sorry I ate your bagel but you left it unattended lady. If I give you this look you’ll forgive me in 3 seconds right?

Me and Eli getting ready for a run.

Kitties need chapstick too.

And puppies need kisses.

Apparently this is what morning looks like in our bed.

And how Guy looks when held against his will.

 

Best friends!

And for those of you who want the pumpkin banana smoothie recipe here it is, super simple.

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup almond milk

3-4 ice cubes

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

————

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

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!

Sweet Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa

We woke up to more rain and drizzle today. It looks like this outside, again.

Not very inspiring running weather. But then again, I think after 3 straight days of running and Monday’s race, I’m due back in the yoga studio pronto.

As Eli and I trudged through said rain on our walk I started thinking about breakfast. For the most part I keep breakfast fairly simple, I’m usually an oats girl.

But I was feeling more motivated than usual so I created this spin on the classic apple cinnamon oatmeal by using quinoa. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to make sweet quinoa before but I’m so glad I did. It added a crunch that worked really well with the apples and if you have some extra quinoa hanging around this whole recipe takes under 5 minutes.

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1 apple, I used a fuji but any variety works

1 tablespoon vegan butter, or regular butter if you prefer

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 tablespoon sugar, or agave nectar or maple syrup

handful or raisins or nuts, optional

————

Cook quinoa using this technique.

While quinoa cooks, peel and core apple then cut into thin slices.

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted add apples. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, cinnamon and ginger to apples. Cook for another minute or until apples are soft.

Scoop quinoa into a bowl and add remaining teaspoon of sugar, then pile on apple mixture.

Top with raisins and nuts if using.

Enjoy!

Boston here we come

Tomorrow is moving day!

We’ve been living in corporate housing while we wait for our stuff to travel across the country. ¬†Although it’s better than being in a hotel, mostly because it has a functioning kitchen, it is still corporate housing. ¬†I’ve been without my stuff, more specifically, my kitchen stuff, for two weeks now. ¬†I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have good, sharp knives and vegetable peelers that will actually peel.

Regardless, we couldn’t eat out every night so we had to make do. Our meals have been simple and in an attempt to avoid re-buying spices and oils we already have in route we bought only the essentials:

Rice wine vinegar, garlic infused olive oil, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), salt and cumin.

For the most part coupling this with some lemon and herbs has been enough to create some very flavorful dishes. ¬†Although,¬†I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t beyond excited to stock our new kitchen this weekend.

It rained most of the morning yesterday so I caught up on emails waiting for it to stop.  By the time I looked up it was after noon and I knew a quick meal was needed before heading to the gym.

Looking through our “pantry” (aka 2 boxes of granola bars and 2 cans of beans) I grabbed some chickpeas and got to work.

Simple Chickpea Salad:

1/2 can of chickpeas

5 leaves of kale, torn in pieces

1/2 head of broccoli

Handful of grape tomatoes, halved

cilantro to taste

green onions to taste

2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil

1/2 tablespoon tamari

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

Serves 1

Add chickpeas, kale, broccoli and tomatoes to a salad bowl.  Chop cilantro and green onions directly on top, to simplify things I usually just use a pair of kitchen scissors and snip directly it into my salads.  Mix vinegar, tamari, lemon and salt.  Add dressing over beans and veggies.

Side note: I personally like the taste of steamed kale and broccoli better than raw so I steamed both for 4-5 minutes before adding to the salad but feel free to use raw if that’s more to your taste.

Side side note: I should mention this now, before we get too far along, I am not a fan of pepper and rarely add it to my meals.  If you like the taste, feel free to add to your dishes.

Enjoy!