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!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa

Looks like winter is planning to stick around a bit longer. Everyone keeps saying March is the worst month in New England. It sounds like it should be a spring month and we’re all so ready, but Mother Nature keeps us waiting.

Oh well, at least there are cute pictures of puppy paw prints in the snow…

paw prints in the snow

and lattes…

coffee

and peanut butter and jelly quinoa…

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Yesterday’s attempt at a quinoa casserole turned out to be a semi-flop. The flavors were good but overall it was way too dry. I ended up eating it with salsa on top but it still didn’t do it for me. I have some ideas on how to fix it and will keep tweaking until it’s sharable.

quinoa casserole

I also made a basil, pear, pineapple smoothie yesterday. I’d never made a smoothie with basil but I had some wilting in the fridge (like always) and thought I’d try. I don’t know what to make of it. At first sip it was not good, then I had another, the pear was making it gritty, still not good. Then I had another sip and another until the whole thing was gone. Hmm, couldn’t have been that bad. 🙂 It definitely wasn’t ready to share, but with the right fruit pairing I’m sure it can be a refreshing drink.

Okay, where was I? Ah, peanut butter and jelly quinoa, yes.

I love pb&j’s. I ate them almost everyday when I was growing up, except on the days I’d switch it up to have a delectable ketchup sandwich. Yup, I just said ketchup sandwich! I bet my mom is wondering why she ever let us make our own lunches.

This quinoa has the same flavorings as a traditional pb&j but is made with healthy quinoa instead of white or wheat bread, plus, no crusts to cut off! Also, if your quinoa is already cooked it takes less than 3 minutes to put together. Perfect for a quick breakfast or kid’s lunch.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk of choice, I’ve been loving rice milk instead of almond lately

1 tablespoon of your favorite jam

————

Cook quinoa according to these directions.

While quinoa is cooking mix peanut butter, milk and salt together. If the mixture is to thick add a little bit more milk.

peanut butter and milk

Place quinoa in a bowl.

quinoa

Top with peanut butter mixture.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Then some jelly.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Mix. Eat. Gobble the whole thing up like a kid.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

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!

Weekend Happenings

I find my weekend update posts the hardest to title. I wish I could think of something more clever.

This weekend flew by, like they usually do. We made more of an effort to get out and about, mostly because the weather cooperated. It was nice to get outside and enjoy the city.

However, Friday night we did our typical thing and stayed in. We made pizzas and a huge garbage salad with miso dressing, drank some wine and watched Dateline. I have a crazy fascination with who-done-it shows and Dateline is my favorite. Michael always obliges me in watching an episode on Friday nights. Now that’s true love. 🙂

pizza night

Saturday I taught and did some work. I also took a luxurious afternoon nap before we headed to Kristy and Erik’s for game night. They live in Somerville and it was our first time venturing out there.

We were greeted by their new rescue dog Tucker. He’s so loving and wonderful, the perfect addition to their family.

tucker tucker

We ate sushi and then set out to play some games. First up was a game called Dirty Minds, which turned out to be incredibly complicated. Kristy’s face pretty much sums up how all of us were feeling (what?!).

game night

Next we moved on to ImaginIff which was way easier and way more fun.

game night

Lastly we plated Uno. I used to play this all the time when I was a camp counselor in high school but it had definitely been a while. I still managed to call a few Uno’s on Michael though.

game night-Uno

After a later than usual night, yesterday morning we slept in and then made our way to the Friendly Toast in Cambridge for brunch. This might be my favorite restaurant in Boston. They have a ton of veggie friendly options and amazing gluten-free pancakes. Win-win for both of us.

Friendly Toast Menu

I had the BLT with faux bacon. I’m not much of a faux meats person but there’s something about Morning Star’s bacon. The sweet potato fries were also delicious. Michael had the chocolate chip pancake seen right and an unpictured scramble of some sort.

veggie blt and sweet potato fries

We left full and happy to hit up Whole Foods, spend way too much money at Target on nothing and take Eli for a bath.

Here he is in a brief moment of happiness, he does not like baths. You’d think he’s being tortured. I try to tell him how lucky he is to have two people basically massage him for 20 minutes. This doesn’t seem to matter to him.

Eli in the bath

We also went on a 5 mile run yesterday afternoon. We stopped and started a lot but our average pace was 8.29. Michael doesn’t usually run longer routes with me but he killed it and beat me handily on the sprints.

We rounded out the weekend with burrito bowls and some lounging and napping on the couch.

burrito bowls

Perfect end to our Sunday.

Back tomorrow with quinoa filled spring rolls.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Triple Ginger Smoothie

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe. Sorry about that. This one was worth the wait!

ginger smoothie

A few weeks ago my aunt and uncle requested a smoothie recipe made with the candied ginger I used in these.

My first thought was a cherry ginger combo but I only had dried cherries and that didn’t sound particularly appealing. I may revisit this when fresh cherries are in season or if I think to pick some frozen ones up.

Then I played around with the idea of a chocolate ginger smoothie but I just made this Chocolate Peanut Butter version and they seemed to similar.

Finally I spotted a bag of dates and figured, why not? I’ve never used dates in a smoothie before but I’d seen it done on other blogs. All I can say is, wow! You’ll be seeing a whole lot more dates around here. They added the perfect amount of sweetness and a creamy texture that blew me away.

I couldn’t take the pictures fast enough and quickly gobbled up the entire thing before the photos had even finished downloading to my computer.

I’m not one to toot my own horn but if you like ginger…Make. This. Smoothie. The fresh, powdered and candied ginger all add a different kind of kick. It was so delicious and refreshing. I’m seriously contemplating making a second one.

Triple Ginger Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 dates, pitted

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

4 ice cubes

————

Cut the skin from the fresh ginger. Chop fresh and candied ginger into small pieces.

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Top with more candied and powdered ginger if desired.

ginger smoothie ingredientsminced ginger DSC_0184triple ginger smoothie

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!

Seeing Red

All anyone can talk about in these parts is the big storm headed our way tomorrow. It could bring up to 24″ of snow and everyone is acting like it’s the first time New England has ever seen snow. I’ve never actually experienced a blizzard myself so I don’t totally understand what the fuss is about but I’m sort of excited to see. Famous last words I’m sure.

Just in case we’re covered in white all weekend, let’s talk red today.

This recipe wasn’t intended as a Valentine’s Day recipe, I’m not really one to celebrate the holiday anyway, but as luck would have it I made this dish in February and I think it would make a great addition to a love themed dinner. It has quinoa in it after all. What’s not to love?

This was an impulse purchase. I don’t usually buy red quinoa, mostly because white quinoa is always cheaper, but I was standing in a ridiculously long Trader Joe’s line last Sunday that wrapped around the aisles and grabbed it on a whim.

When I got home I noticed an unused pomegranate and thought the two together might make a good combo. Turns out they not only look pretty together but taste wonderful.

red quinoa pomegranate salad

Red Quinoa Pomegranate Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

For the salad:

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups water

pinch of salt

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp lemon zest

For the dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.5 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/8 cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

————

Rinse quinoa then place in a pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low heat for 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. Stir to fluff.

Place cooked quinoa in a big bowl with black beans and pomegranate seeds.

Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Toss dressing with quinoa, beans and seeds.

Top with lemon zest.

red quinoa pomegranate saladred quinoa pomegranate black bean salad

I ended up eating this salad for breakfast after shooting the photos. 🙂 Yum!

As a total aside, I went to my first power class in many months at Baptiste Yoga yesterday. It was so hot in the room I felt months of cold melt from my body. It reminded me how much I love hot yoga and that as a naturally cold-blooded person it’s important that I feel hot from time to time. I can’t believe I waited so long to go. I have an unlimited month’s worth of classes. If you can’t find me in all the snow I’ll be sweating it out in the studio.

Lastly, teaching 12:15pm at Sangha, 4:30pm at All One and 7pm back at Sangha today. If you’re in Boston come do some yoga!

Enjoy and Exhale!

Happiness Split Pea Soup

I saw this on my Facebook feed yesterday and it made me smile.

Choose happiness.

good day to be happy

The other thing that made me very happy was this recipe. I was coming off of the banana bread fails and we all know how gluten-free baking can squash my cooking self confidence. I needed my next recipe attempt to be rich, hearty and guaranteed not to fail me. Soups tend to be that thing.

I’ve said it before but soups are just so simple and easy to correct when something feels out of whack. This soup needed no correcting. I absolutely loved it. Michael felt it was lacking in lemon but it didn’t really bother me. I did, however, added a big squeeze of it to the recipe instructions right at the end for those who want that bright citrus flavor.

Also, I originally thought I was making a lentil soup but upon further examination realized that I did not use lentils but split peas. I think lentils could easily be substituted but the split peas were a nice change of pace albeit an unplanned one.

Happiness Split Pea Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 carrot

2 stalks celery

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tbsp tomato paste

6 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1.5 cups green and yellow spilt peas

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 can light coconut milk

Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

————

Chop your vegetables into bite size pieces.

chopped vegetables

Heat olive oil on medium high. Add vegetables and salt, saute until veggies start to get tender. Add garlic, cook for another minute until garlic is golden brown.

Next add curry powder, turmeric and tomato paste. Stir to coat vegetables.

Add vegetable stock. Some veggie stocks contain soy and gluten so read the labels carefully when selecting your broth. Drop in one bay leaf.

soup with bay leaf

Rinse and drain your split peas in cold water. Add split peas to broth. I used a mix of green and yellow but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

DSC_0012

Add frozen peas and coconut milk.

soup with coconut milk

Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to medium heat for 25 minutes or until split peas are soft. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with a big squeeze of lemon.

split pea soup split pea soup

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!