Tag Archives: vegetarian

Vegan Slow Cooker Black Bean Mushroom Chili

I have been searching for a good slow-cooker recipe for quite some time. We were given a beautiful one for our wedding, and I’ll admit it’s been difficult to find a great Vegetarian recipe that’s also dairy-free (or close).   Alas, I found this Black Bean Mushroom Chili recipe and the result was just as great as I hoped.  There were some doubts along the way, as it took 8 hours on high (overnight), and another 8 hours on low (while we were at work) to cook to a consistency of our liking, but the final product was wonderful.  With this success under my belt, I just might try this recipe next using veggie crumbles instead of beef.

Some notes

  • As mentioned, this took a long time to get to a chili (rather than soup) consistency.  To avoid this next time, I might decrease the liquid amount to 4 cups of broth.
  • I used No-Chicken Broth instead of Vegetable or Mushroom Broth.
  • I boiled the black beans and let sit for an hour, rather than soaking overnight.
  • I found tomatillos at Whole Foods and had the produce guy help me, because I had no idea what they looked like.  8 ounces equaled 3 tomatillos.
  • We used ground cardamom and cumin, instead of whole.
  • To top, we used Veggie Cheese – Pepperjack, tearing half of one piece for each of our bowls.  Scott later topped his second helping with Daiya Cheddar and he said he liked that better.
  • Squeezing a lime wedge into each bowl makes this dish complete, as does the sprinkle of cilantro.

Getting ready

Cooking the vegetables

About to start slow-cooking

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Banana Pistachio Oatmeal

While I’ve a way to go on serving an amazing breakfast for company, serving up one or two servings is quickly becoming my new forte.  Case in point – my Banana Pistachio Oatmeal.  I was inspired by seeing Ina make these banana muffins, which includes half mashed banana and half diced (for texture).  So, I thought it might be interesting to try the same technique but with Instant Oatmeal.  First, I mashed cut the peeled banana in half, mashing half, and dicing the other.  I put the mashed banana in the bowl and then the Instant Oatmeal on top.  Then, I added hot water mixed and incorporated to a consistency of my liking – followed by adding the diced banana on top.  I finished it off with a drizzle of my favorite syrup and some pistachios.  The result – delicious oatmeal with a ton of flavor.  Best part is the only tools needed to make this are a bowl, basic utensils (fork, knife, spoon), and hot water!  No brainer, right?

Carolyn’s Banana Pistachio Oatmeal
Serves – 1

1 packet, favorite Instant Oatmeal (maple flavored or plain)
1 banana, half mashed, half diced
5 pistachios, shelled
Maple syrup (I used Maple Grove Sugar Free)
Hot water, amount to taste

Put mashed banana in a cereal-sized bowl.  Pour Instant Oatmeal on top.  Add hot water to achieve desired oatmeal consistency.  Combine with a spoon.  Add diced banana on top.  Drizzle a little bit of your favorite syrup (about 2 tsp.).  Finish off with the pistachios.

Banana Pistachio Oatmeal

Some notes

  • I mashed the banana with a fork. My banana wasn’t quite over-ripe, so I did have to use a knife to break up some of it.
  • To date, my two favorite Instant Oatmeals are Kashi Instant and Arrowhead Mills Instant – I can usually find them at Whole Foods (which also has the best price).
  • My favorite syrup is from Maple Grove Farms. It’s getting more difficult to find in stores, so I’ve used Cary’s as well. I’m sure original maple syrup would be great too. It really adds to the overall flavor, so I wouldn’t omit.
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Weekend Breakfast

Had the realization this week I have become quite the expert in what to cook for dinner and lunch – but breakfast, definitely leaves much to be desired.  While I’ve yet to pick the few I’ll test out, wanted to share some of my finds.  What are your go-to’s when you’re looking for something a little different?

Mushroom and Scallion Frittata

Avocado Egg Salad

(source- SheKnows)

Banana Breakfast Quinoa

(source – The Wannabe Chef)

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Crusted Butternut Squash

It’s no secret that I LOVE butternut squash.  This time of year, there’s always an extra batch of this Winter Squash soup in the fridge.  Over the summer, I found a recipe for Crusted Butternut Squash and let me tell you – last night when I finally tested it out, it did not disappoint.  I had the produce guy cut the squash in half, and to my surprise, he even scooped the seeds for me (bonus!).  To prepare, I just had to peel the squash (which I do, carefully with a knife, after I section each half, in half), then cut into 1/4-inch slices.  For the crumbs, I used whole wheat panko, and gave them a whirl in the mini food processor, with all the ingredients, except cheese (I omitted).  Baking was simple, and gave me time to make a salad.  By the time the timer went off, the house smelled great and the final product was even better!  Scott had a late night at work, and when he enjoyed, at room temperature, he thought it was really good too.  We will definitely be making this recipe again!

Some notes

  • My squash was about 2 lbs. and I used two baking sheets, lined with parchment.
  • To coat the squash with olive oil and nutmeg, I put it all in one pile to coat, and then placed on two baking sheets.  Also, there’s barely any oil in this recipe, so to cook properly I would not reduce the amount.
  • I used ground nutmeg, rather than “fresh ground” – still tasted great!  It’s a really unexpected flavor that makes this recipe a winner.
  • Preparing fresh thyme can be tedious, so this part takes a little patience, but really adds to the overall flavor.
  • I ended up cooking it a few minutes longer than 30, only because my squash really didn’t brown.  Perhaps I didn’t coat the oil properly, or my pieces were too thick.  Just keep an eye on it after 25 minutes, and adjust accordingly.

Crusted Butternut Squash

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Faux Pancakes + Real Apples (for Dinner)

A few years ago, I stumbled upon Bethenny Frankel’s turkey burger recipe and it is a definite hit for company.  What I didn’t know about, until earlier this week, was her recipe for a “faux pancake.”  It is probably one of the easiest things to whip up for a weeknight dinner.  In fact, it was so delicious and quick to make, we didn’t even have time to take a picture!  The maple syrup in this recipe never fails to be that perfect comfort as the weather gets colder.  We paired our pancakes with a green salad and a chopped apple.  I think next time, we might try it with the apple on top of the pancake instead!

Some notes

  • I used 2 fresh egg whites, and 1 egg – because that’s what I had in the house.  Per her recipe, liquid egg whites will also work – but I wouldn’t substitute the 1 whole egg.
  • I used raw sugar, not sweetener.
  • Instead of cooking spray, I used 1/4 tsp. of Earth Balance butter for each pancake (I was told years ago that cooking spray on non-stick pans can ruin the surface)

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Meatless Monday – Smoky Red Lentil Soup

Yesterday, I spent the day cooking with my mom and I’ve got a few posts to share over the next weeks with what we made.  First up, our lunch – Smoky Red Lentil Soup – a great soup to add to your cold month lineup!  This is a recipe from Sara Forte’s new cookbook, The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods.  With several of my favorite recipes from her blog, her cookbook is likewise full of recipes that are easy to make, and feature fresh, wholesome ingredients.  At the outset, the ingredients you may not have in your house are Red Lentils (picked those up from Whole Foods), Smoked Paprika (also labeled Pimenton), and liquid smoke.  I used most of the Red Lentils – and from My Father’s Daughter, I learned that Smoked Paprika can be used to add a similar flavoring to recipes, as does bacon – a good trick for us Kosher or non-bacon eaters.  The liquid smoke is optional in the recipe, but I was curious how it would add to the recipe (I might omit on my next batch and compare flavors then.)  The verdict?  The soup was quite comforting and savory, but I felt a little bland; however, my mom loved the flavors and how with all the different ingredients, no one ingredient was overpowering.  The soup took barely any time to make – and could definitely be a great weeknight meal, leaving some hearty leftovers for lunch or a light dinner later in the week.

Some notes

  • I roasted the sweet potato earlier in the morning, before we started cooking.  Per the cook’s notes, I wrapped the sweet potato in foil.  I roasted it at 400 for 45 minutes, unwrapped and let cool.  If I were refrigerating, to use later in the week, I would just leave it wrapped in the foil, and unwrap when I need to use it.
  • We used no-chicken broth (vegetable broth with no tomato in the ingredients).
  • To blend, we used an immersion blender, but a standard blender will work equally well.  Either way, cut the sweet potato up in a few pieces before blending.  (I had to do it mid-blending, when I noticed it wasn’t getting blended in)
  • All of the cilantro is needed for this recipe.  It adds great dimension to the soup.
  • We used fresh lemon juice, because that’s what I had in the house.  I have a funny feeling lime juice instead, will knock this out the park!  Of course, if you’re a bacon-lover, adding it per the recipe might also add that extra level of flavor (we omitted).
  • Recipe yields 4 servings, I think it’s more like 5-6.

Smoky Red Lentil Soup
(from The Sprouted Kitchen)

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