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!

Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup when it was 50 degrees out two days ago, it was really good then but would probably have been better today with the snow coming down, making Boston a winter wonderland. Because we’ve only had snow a few times this winter it’s still really fun for me to experience. I love those first couple hours when it’s all white fluff that coats the trees and lightly swirls around you making it seem like you’re in a movie. Tomorrow I’ll be annoyed by the remnants of salt and gray slushy piles of old snow on the sidewalk. But I’m practicing staying in the present so today, hooray for snow!

Columbus Street in the snow

Snow covered trees outside Crossfit after this morning’s yoga class. I’m teaching another one tomorrow morning at 6:45am, you should get up with me. 🙂

Boston winter

Downtown Boston in the snow.

Anyway, back to soup.

When we went shopping last weekend I bought two leeks. We also bought a ton of other veggies at the time and the leeks were pushed to the bottom of the crisper. As we made our way through the kale and carrots I spotted the leeks and knew just what to use them for. Soup of course. Potato leek soup to be exact.

I love soup for its ease and simplicity. You just dump a bunch of vegetables in a pot for an hour and call it dinner. Who wouldn’t want to cook like that?

Potato Leek Soup (vegan, gluten-free)

2 tablespoons earth balance or whichever butter you prefer

1 tbsp canola oil

1/4 onion, diced

3 stalks celery with leaves, diced

2 leaks, white and pale green parts only, chopped

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

8 new potatoes, cut into dice sized cubes

1 russet potato, cut into dice sized cubes

8 cups vegetable broth

2 broccoli stalks, whole (optional)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 bay leaf

1.5 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

————

Cut white and light green part of leeks into 1/2 inch pieces.

chopped leeks

Discard the green tops. Put leek pieces into a bowl of cold water.

soaking leeks

Leeks can be very sandy. Make sure to let them soak for a few minutes. The sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl and you can then drain the clean leeks.

Chop onion and celery.

veggie prep

Heat oil and butter. Add leeks, onion and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

sauteed veggies

Add garlic and red chili flakes. Cook another minute.

While veggies are sauteing, chop potatoes. Add potatoes to leek/onion mixture.

Next add veggie broth. One note on veggie broth. I strongly suggested buying vegetarian bouillon cubes. They are much cheaper than veggie stock. I use one cube per 4 cups of water (the package says 1 cube per 2 cups but it always works out well for me with the extra water).

Add broccoli stalks to broth. I happen to have stalks lying around waiting to be juiced and I thought they’d add a nice flavor to the broth, which they did. Feel free to omit. If you do use them, remove before serving, but feel free to snack on them while getting the rest of dinner together.

Add nutmeg, bay leaf, salt and rosemary. Bring soup up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. I didn’t chop my rosemary as fine as I wish I did, as seen below. Make sure it’s finely minced, I found the bigger pieces to be a little annoying.

potato leek soup

I let the soup simmer for about an hour then turned off the heat and covered the pot. I reheated the soup a couple of hours later when we were ready for dinner.

potato leek soup potato leek soup

Served with toast and earth balance.

I thought about blending this but according to Michael there is something heartier and more filling about the chunks of potato and leek.

Perfect for today’s snow-filled day.

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!

Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing

When I’m sick I can’t muster up the will to eat my normal plethora of vegetables. I want nothing to do with dinner bowls or sweet potatoes or broccoli. The best I could do over the past few days was my morning smoothie and a bowl of frozen peas. So I knew things were looking up when I was craving a salad this afternoon.

I’ve mentioned before but I’m not a huge fan of raw kale. I much rather prefer it lightly steamed but everyone keeps raving about it raw so I thought I’d give it one more shot. This time I used Tuscan kale instead of curly as it’s said to have a milder flavor and wilts a little better when massaged with dressing.

Verdict, the dressing was delicious but I still prefer my kale steamed. Oh well, next time and of course, there’s always a next time with kale!

Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup soaked cashews with 2 tablespoons reserved soaking water

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil

1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 cups Tuscan kale

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/2 apple, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon sesame seeds

————

Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Drain most of the water but reserve a few tablespoons. Place cashews and reserved liquid into a food processor. Add all ingredients through cayenne pepper.

Processes for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

Tahini Cashew Dressing

Adjust flavoring to taste.

Put kale in a large bowl and massage dressing into kale until it begins to wilt. Use your hands to really work it in.

Massaged Kale

Slice pepper, avocado and apple. Add to kale. Top with sesame seeds.

The dressing has a little heat from the cayenne that I loved with the kale and the mix of crunch from the pepper and apple with the smooth avocado was perfect.

This salad is also calcium rich. I ate 3 cups of the salad with about a 1/4 of a cup of dressing and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds which offered up about 45% of my daily intake. Not bad for a little salad.

Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew DressingKale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing

Enjoy and Exhale!

Blueberry, Banana Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie

There hasn’t been much cooking going on here this week besides Monday’s soup. As soon as Michael started to get over his cold, I got it!  I’ve been sniffling and sleeping my way through the week but think I’m finally turning the corner. After my first restful night’s sleep all week I woke up to sunshine and motivation to have more than just tea.

I wanted something filled with nutrients and flavor that could cut through a stuffy nose while also keeping the Calcium Challenge in mind. This smoothie packs a whopping 46% of your daily calcium needs: 30% coming from the almond milk, 6% from the chia seeds and 10% from the kale. Plus it tastes great. Although it definitely needed to be followed by a hot cup of tea to warm me back up!

The week is finally starting to look up…just in time for the weekend and the playoff games.

Blueberry, Banana, Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana, thawed

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Juice of 1 grapefruit

1 cup kale

1 cup vanilla or regular almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

————

Thaw frozen banana in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Place banana, frozen blueberries, grapefruit juice, kale, milk and chia seeds in a blender or use your immersion stick. Blend for 1 minute until everything is well incorporated.

blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie

Serve in a pretty mason jar, optional, but makes it more fun to eat.

Enjoy and Exhale!

The Calcium Challenge

My mom, in true mom fashion, still wants to make sure I’m eating healthy, sleeping enough and getting adequate vitamins and minerals.  While she was in Boston over the holidays I must have heard her say ‘make sure you’re getting enough calcium’ about 50 times. To be honest, she’s been saying this for years and I’ve sort of brushed it under the rug assuming that the copious amounts of cheese I was consuming were enough. Now that I am eating less and less dairy, I find myself wondering where my calcium is actually coming from. I’ve never tracked it before so I really had no idea.

Before I get into my findings I’ll preface by saying that I am not a medical doctor nor do I pretend to be. Everything below is based on my own research and understanding of said research (which is debatable). As it pertains to your own diet, please use your best judgement. Okay, now that I’m done sounding like a disclaimer for a drug ad, let’s move on.

I know I’m not the only lady (or man) out there who assumes they’ve got this calcium thing covered but aren’t totally sure how. Hopefully this helps.

How much should we be getting?

Most sources recommend 1000 mg/day for all the below important bodily functions.

Calcium Infographic

[Source]

Where can I get it from?

A glass of milk right? Isn’t that what every kid would say if you asked?

The most common misconception is that you should get your calcium from traditional dairy. But, I’ve read enough to know that dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. Many plant-based foods are great options as well. You can get high levels of calcium from non dairy milk and tofu but certain vegetables, seeds and beans are also good sources such as artichokes, kale (hooray!), sesame seeds, chia seeds and hummus.

Calcium Protein Sources

[Source]

There is also the option of calcium supplements but for those of us with family histories of kidney stones, taking supplements isn’t necessarily the smartest idea. Plus, I believe it’s best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible so I won’t talk supplements here.

Below are a couple good lists of plant-based sources of calcium.

One Green Planet

Harvard Health Services (scroll down a bit for the plant sources)

Vegetarians In Paradise (scroll to bottom of page)

What’s my average intake?

Like I mentioned above, I had no idea where a normal day’s diet would put me on the intake scale so I spent a few days doing calculations without changing anything. Here are my totals:

Day 1 900 mg

Day 2 800 mg

Day 3 600 mg

Day 1 and 2 weren’t horrible but they weren’t 1000 mg. They also both happened to include a soy latte. Although this is fairly typical for me, it’s not an everyday occurrence. I have Starbucks 2-3 times a week, mainly on weekends. On days when I don’t have coffee I have tea without milk, which offers 0% of my daily calcium. Without the latte I am severely under my calcium quota. Day 3 reflects this.

The Challenge!

With my new knowledge in hand, I thought it might be fun to create a challenge.

(If you haven’t figured it out already I like to make up fake challenges for myself, see the Sweet Potato Challenge of 2012, ha).

Can I consistently, key word, consistently, get 1000 mg of calcium a day eating only plant-based foods?

Over the next few weeks I’ll focus on my calcium intake more closely. I’ll try to share how I’ve better incorporated it into my day-to-day diet. I’ll work on some calcium rich recipes that will help close the daily deficiency in my diet and possibly yours and I’ll hopefully quell some of my mom’s worries. 🙂

Anyone else up for the challenge?

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!

Grapefruit, Pomegranate Salad with Brown Sugar Sauce

My aunt lives in Arizona with a very productive grapefruit tree. For Christmas she sent me two boxes filled with grapefruit. I’m very fond of the grapefruit but having 20 staring at you every time you walk into the kitchen is a little daunting.

I took six of them to my sister last weekend but that still left a lot to use up! I’ve been juicing some of them but it feels like a cop-out. I needed a recipe that showcases them in all their winter glory. This simple salad is just the recipe. Pairing the grapefruit with another winter fruit star, pomegranate, made this dish really shine.

Grapefruit Pomegranate Salad

Grapefruit, Pomegranate Salad (gluten-free)

1 grapefruit, sectioned

1/2 pomegranate, seeded

2 tablespoons brown sugar or feel free to sub maple syrup if you’re looking to vegan-ise

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

Pinch of salt

————

Section your grapefruit. I tried this two ways. If you cut the grapefruit in half and then work a knife around each section you can get the sections out but they won’t look particularly pretty. You can also peel your fruit and then take off the white casing by hand. This was a total pain but the slices looked so nice. If you aren’t worried about how it looks I’d go with the first option.

Grapefruit

While you’re sectioning the grapefruit work over a small bowl. Mine was very juicy and I was able to gather a few tablespoons of liquid while working, which I then used in the sauce.

Deseed your pomegranate. The easiest way I know how to do this is to fill a large bowl with water. Cut the pomegranate in fourths, then turn the sections inside out under the water. The seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl, any white rind will float. Remove the rind and strain the seeds. The water keeps the juice from going everywhere and staining your clothes and kitchen.

Add brown sugar, white balsamic vinegar, grapefruit juice and salt to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.

Brown Sugar Sauce

Remove from heat and let cool.

Place grapefruit and pomegranate seeds in a bowl, top with sauce.

The sauce is slightly sweet which cuts the acidity of the fruit. I love how pretty this looks. It would be a great first or last course for a dinner party. Adding some avocado and some macadamia nuts to the top would also be nice.

Grapefruit Pomegranate Salad

Have a great weekend.

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!