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!

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!

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I had the leek post all ready to go for today then last night I made this dish and it was so delicious that I had to share it right away. I made it once before when we were still living in SF but with the move and a million other distractions it got lost in my mind’s recipe file. Thank goodness I found it again.

This dish also fulfills a request I got a few weeks ago from my sister’s friend Nisha, from work. She asked if I could do a quick tutorial on lentils and offer up a few dishes that includes them.

This is a great starter recipe for those that are just beginning to cook with lentils. It’s simple, quick and flavorful. Plus you can use whatever vegetables you’d like. I particularly love peas with coconut milk so that is my only non-negotiable in this dish, but, there really are no rules.

First up…

How To Cook Lentils:

The best thing about lentils is that they don’t need to be soaked like dry beans do. From start to finish they take about 20 minutes.

1 cup lentils, rinsed

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

————

Rinse lentils and pick out any twigs or little pieces that don’t look quite right. Once the lentils are rinsed, place them in a pot.

Cover with water and add salt.

Bring lentils to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes.

Cooking Lentils

Stir a few times during the cooking process. When the water has evaporated taste your lentils. They should be soft but not mushy. If they are still a little hard, add another 1/2 cup of water and let the lentils cook for a few more minutes. Lentils are very forgiving so don’t worry too much about them. Although overcooked lentils don’t keep their shape well, they still taste amazing.

Now that we’ve mastered lentil cooking let’s move on to the main event.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil or regular olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 zucchini, diced

1 bunch bok choy, chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 small head broccoli, cut into florets

8 asparagus spears, cut into fourths

8 brussel sprouts, cut into fourths

2 big handfuls of broccoli slaw, optional

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp garlic, minced

2 tbsp tandoori masala spice mix

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tbsp white miso paste

————

Make lentils according to the above recipe.

Chop all your vegetables.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.

Add vegetables and saute for a 2-3 minutes making sure not to let the vegetables brown.

vegetables

Add coconut milk, water, garlic, tandoori masala, cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Stir to coat vegetables.

vegetables in coconut milk

Cover veggies with lid for 8 minutes or so until vegetables are soft but still have a little bite left.

Covered vegetables

Stir miso paste into vegetables.

vegetables in coconut sauce

Serve over a big pile of lentils.

Lentils and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

I added a little hot sauce for extra spice or you can always increase the cayenne pepper if you want it spicier.

This meal will serve 3 big helpings.

Hope this helps answer your lentil questions. If you’d like more lentil recipes try my Lentil Sloppy Joes, Healthy Lentil Dinner Bowls or Red Lentil Chickpea Hummus.

And as always, if you have questions on how to cook specific foods or have recipes you’d like me to develop please let me know.

Back with the leek recipe tomorrow.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas

As I mentioned yesterday, I was planning to make a vegetable stew last night. Michael has been fighting a cold and I was hoping something hardy and veggie filled would take the edge off. But I accidentally added too much water to this recipe so it’s more soup than stew. It probably worked out for the best because what’s better for a cold than soup anyway?

Vegetable Soup with garbazo beans

The good news is this is a very forgiving recipe. Add whatever vegetables and beans you have on hand and don’t worry too much about the measurements (except reduce the water if you want it thicker). We are partial to chickpeas but I think red kidney beans would have added a nice silkiness to each bite and had I thought of it before we were halfway through our bowls I would have added a couple handfuls of kale as well.

The longer the soup sits, the better it tastes so I suggest making it over the weekend for easy lunches and dinners during the week.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1/2 butternut squash, diced

2 carrots, chopped into rounds

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1/2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

4 cups veggie stock

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 russet potato, diced

2 cups cooked chickpeas

salt

————-

Chop vegetables. Make sure everything is relatively the same size to ensure even cooking.

Soup Veggies

Chopped Veggies

Heat oil in a large pot. Saute onions, butternut squash, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. (Excuse my tazo tea in the left corner!)

sauteed vegetables

Add bay leaf, sweet paprika, thyme and cayenne to vegetable mix. Stir.

Pour in vegetable stock, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add diced potatoes.

Bring soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Lastly, add in chickpeas and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Vegetable Soup

Remove bay leaf and serve piping hot to the sniffling patient on the couch.

vegetable soup with chickpeasvegetable soup with garbanzo beans

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!

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!

Everyday Eats

Good Morning,

I’ve been putting this post together in my head for a few weeks now. Although I cook a fair amount and try my hand at new recipes often, there are days when I don’t want to make an elaborate meal or try a new recipe that may or may not turn out. So lately, I’ve been photographing the everyday meals that don’t merit their own post.

Maybe these will spark new ideas for you or maybe they will be a little like pictures of celebrities without make-up on. Not very pretty but fun to look at anyway.

Without further ado…everyday eats.

Pre-breakfast juice with broccoli stems, apple, celery, jalapeno, lemon and ginger.

Simple breakfast of peanut butter and jelly toast with apples and tea.

Brussel sprouts, red peppers, avocado, jalapeno salad with rice wine vinegar, lemon and salt. Served with leftover lentil loaf.

Burrito bowl with rice and beans that I ate at O’Hare when I came back from Chicago last month.

Spaghetti squash, soy chorizo from Trader Joes and steamed vegetables mixed together to make a pseudo spaghetti with meat sauce. The chorizo was also gluten-free, score.

Ultimate Nachos! When I was in college I was the queen of making late night snacks after my girlfriends and I got back from the bars. I can’t count the number of times I made these at 2 in the morning. They were so infamous they even got their own name. 🙂

These days we like to have them on Friday nights as an end of the week celebration. But we still couple with a glass or two of wine for old times sake.

I love these enchiladas from Trader Joes. They’ve been an easy lunch of mine for years. I usually pair with salad or steamed vegetables.

More sweet potatoes! This time baked and served with steamed broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. I’m 100% positive there was BBQ sauce to go with this. I wouldn’t have eaten it plain.

Okay, lots of steamed veggies but if you like these types of posts please let me know and I’ll try to make it a monthly thing.

Lastly, this showed up on Twitter a couple of days ago and I thought it was amazing.

 

Twitter feeds similar to Lisa Horvath…Visit California, I get it. Daily Cup of Yoga, duh. Jonah Hill?!? Say what? I might just start following him to figure it out. And if you want to follow me on twitter I’m @lmhorvath.

Enjoy your Thursday.

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Challenge: Recipe #2

If you missed why I’m making three days of sweet potato dishes check it out here.

As for everyone else, let’s get right into recipe two.

I’ll admit, yesterday’s recipe wasn’t a huge departure from how I usually make sweet potatoes as Michael kindly pointed out last night. He was looking for a more traditional sweet potato recipe that was, well, more sweet. So today I’m branching out of my roasting comfort zone and trying a sweet potato casserole.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite vegan blogs Oh She Glows. Us vegetarians are already planning to make Angela’s lentil loaf, in place of turkey, for Thursday’s meal so I figured it would be perfect to pair with her sweet potato casserole. Both those recipes can be found in her holiday wrap post here.

I cut the recipe in half since we’re leaving tomorrow morning and I still have the third recipe to make later today. I also used gluten-free flour instead of white to make it gf and substituted nutmeg for allspice since I didn’t have any.

Sweet Potato Casserole (gluten-free, vegan)

Filling:

2 large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon earth balance (or butter if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1/8 cup Earth Balance

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons gluten-free flour

————

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a casserole dish.

Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into big even chunks.

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft.

In the meantime, mix topping ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Once potatoes are soft, drain and add earth balance, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Mash until smooth then place potatoes into casserole dish.

Add topping to the potatoes.

Bake for 40 minutes.

As someone who is usually not a fan of sweet sweet potato dishes, this recipe may change my mind. The potatoes had a slight sweetness but not too much. I’d just change one thing if I cook this again on Thanksgiving and make extra topping. The crunchy sweetness is great with the creamy potatoes.

2 for 2.

Enjoy!