November 29, 2010

Creamy Bean and Roasted Pepper Chili

It's getting chilly outside and chilly weather makes me crave chili in my bowl. Ba-da-zing! But seriously, folks, I have an abundance of bell peppers and I love, love, love roasting them. They are so delicious. I also have an abundance of canned beans right now thanks to several coupons and a clearance sale. So, here's the end result of experimenting with all of that extra goodness in my pantry. And, trust me, just skip the spoon and scoop this stuff right onto a tortilla chip.

1 yellow bell pepper, roasted and diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2/3 cup no-chicken broth, vegetable broth/stock, or water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon All-Purpose Seasoning (or your favorite savory seasonings)
1/4 teaspoon Fair Trade cocoa powder
Pinch of chili powder
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Place your clean bell peppers over an open flame for roasting. I place them directly on the grill over my gas burner, one pepper per burner. Turn the flame on high and use metal tongs to rotate them occasionally, until the skin on all sides is charred black. Then immediately place the peppers into a bowl and cover them with a tight lid for about 15 minutes. While your peppers are "sweating" you can chop and saute your onion and garlic. After the 15 minutes are up, remove the charred skin from your peppers, de-stem and de-seed them, then coarsely dice them.
  • In a large pot, heat the oil. Add onion and garlic, saute until tender.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, including prepared peppers, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently (stirring occasionally) until chili is warmed through and spices have had time to blend into the dish. I gave it about a half an hour, but you could probably dig in sooner if you're in a hurry.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • Enjoy!
*Bankrupt Vegan Tip: If you need to make this dish a little cheaper, you can substitute green peppers for the red and yellow, and eliminate the nutritional yeast. 

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):
Calories: 207.0 / Total Fat: 1.3g (Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g) / Cholesterol: 0.0 mg / Sodium: 376.0mg / Potassium: 877.1mg / Total Carbohydrates: 36.6g(Dietary Fiber: 12.4g, Sugars: 2.8g) / Protein: 15.2g

November 18, 2010

Agave-Sweetened Zucchini Walnut Muffins

Remember that awesome deal on maple syrup I told you guys about last week? Well, check this out. I traded in an old textbook to a while back, and received a $16 credit for it. So, I was able to purchase a 32-ounce bottle of organic maple syrup and two 46-ounce bottles of organic agave nectar for less than 10 bucks! With the deals and my credit, I was able to seriously stock up on stuff I normally can't even afford to buy.

These zucchini walnut muffins are made with whole wheat flour, applesauce instead of oil, agave instead of sugar, and topped with toasted wheat germ. Can we say fiber explosion?! Add in some protein from the walnuts, and tasty vites from the bananas and zucchini, and you're looking at a pretty great way to start your day. Try these on for size...

1 small/medium zucchini, grated (do not peel)
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • In a large bowl, mash your bananas. Then add zucchini, applesauce, agave, and vanilla. Stir well.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except wheat germ, and stir well.
  • Divide batter equally into an oiled (or sprayed) 12-muffin pan. 
  • Top each muffin with a generous sprinkling of toasted wheat germ.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
NUTRITION FACTS (per muffin):
Calories: 230.2 / Total Fat: 7.9g (Saturated Fat: 0.9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1.0g) / Cholesterol: 0.0mg / Sodium: 276.0mg / Potassium: 237.1mg / Total Carbohydrates: 36.6g (Dietary Fiber: 5.7g, Sugar: 18.6g) / Protein: 5.9g

November 14, 2010

Twice-Baked Sweet 'Taters

I am experimenting with some new recipes for Thanksgiving dinner since the majority of the preparation will fall to me this year. And I want it to be fabulous! Try this twice-baked sweet potato and see what you think. This recipe is for a single potato, so if you want more, just ramp up the ingredients to match the number of potatoes you're using. Here's how to do it...

1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I recommend Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar (organic preferred), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of cinnamon
  • First you need to bake that 'tater. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and gently scrub the 'tater down to remove any dirt or funk. Poke it a few times with a fork to allow steam to escape, then place it on a baking sheet and into the oven. Cook it for about 45 minutes until its innards are soft. You can gently squeeze it while wearing an oven mitt to test.
  • I like to set my 'taters in an open windowsill to cool off for about 15 or 20 minutes. Once the 'tater is cool enough to handle, slice off a bit of skin from the top and set aside. 
  • Scoop out the innards into a large bowl and mash them until nice and creamy. Then add all ingredients, except 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Once it's all mixed together, gently spoon the mixture back into your 'tater. Top with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cinnamon. 
  • Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
Calories: 381.3 / Total Fat: 15.8g (Saturated Fat: 4.8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2.5g) / Cholesterol: 0.0mg / Sodium: 831.0mg / Potassium: 920.4mg / Total Carbohydrates: 64.7g (Dietary Fiber: 8.3g, Sugar: 39.2g) / Protein: 4.6g

November 11, 2010

Chunky Chickenless Noodle Soup

Well, guess what. We're all sick again. My daughter manages to bring home more germs from preschool than I ever thought existed in nature. It's just head colds all around, but it still stinks for us.
My absolute favorite thing to eat when I'm sick is Amy's Low Fat No-Chicken Noodle Soup, but at almost four bucks a can, I don't get to eat it unless I find it at the salvage store. And that happens very rarely. So, today, I thought I'd try out my own soup recipe. I just used what I had on hand, threw in a little knowledge about healing foods, and this is what I came up with - a warming, comfy bowl of soup, perfect for fighting off a head cold and curing the achies. Here's the recipe...

12 ounce package of your favorite noodles (I used rotini)
1 medium yellow onion, diced (onions have antiviral properties)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (antibiotic and antiviral properties)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock or No-Chicken Broth
1 package of chicken-flavored seitan, cubed
1/8 cup (or more, to taste) nutritional yeast (adds all-important B12 vitamin)
1 tablespoon All-Purpose Seasoning (or any combo of your favorite seasonings)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of paprika
Dash cayenne (opens up those sinuses)
3 green onions, chopped (more antibacterial support)
  • Cook the noodles as instructed on packaging.
  • While noodles are cooking, saute all veggies (except green onions) with olive oil in a large pot until tender.
  • Add broth to veggies and bring to a low simmer.
  • Add spices, to taste. Feel free to add any additional savory spices you like.
  • Add seitan and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. 
  • Add noodles and stir.
  • Add green onions and stir.
  • Makes about 8 servings.
  • Enjoy with crackers and hot tea!
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):
Calories: 284.7 / Total Fat: 5.1g (Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7g) / Cholesterol: 0.0mg / Sodium: 779.2mg / Potassium: 143.6mg / Total Carbohydrates: 43.3g (Dietary Fiber: 4.1g, Sugars: 3.8g) / Protein: 16.8g

November 9, 2010

Classic Creamy Potato Salad

Thanks to a major sale at the grocery store, I have an abundance of potatoes right now. So, it's starch, starch, starch as far as the belly can stretch. Woo hoo! Here's a simple potato salad I threw together last night - nice and creamy, but not too heavy in your tummy.

8 small to medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise, or more to taste
3 stalks celery, diced
5 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup dill relish
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning, or any combo of your favorites
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Boil potatoes in a large pot, with enough water to cover them by about two inches over.
  • Once potatoes are fork-tender, drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Place potatoes either back into the pot, or into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir gently until potatoes are coated with the good stuff.
  • Sprinkle with a little extra paprika on top when you serve.
  • Makes about 8 servings.
  • Enjoy!
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):
Calories: 314.8 / Total Fat: 13.9g (Saturated Fat: 0.8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g) / Cholesterol: 0g / Sodium: 633mg / Potassium: 980.9mg / Total Carbohydrates: 40.2g (Dietary Fiber: 5.5g, Sugar: 3.0g) / Protein: 4.9g

November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

I usually wake up around 7:00AM, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time and "falling back," the last two mornings I have woken up at 6:00AM. I don't really mind, though, because it means I have at least an hour of me-time before the husband and the little one wake up. Me-time generally consists of baking and bad TV. And this morning was no exception!
I have never tried making bagels before, and lately I've been challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone in the kitchen. Delicious, fresh-baked cinnamon raisin bagels are the result of today's challenge. And, yeah, I know my bagels look more like buns, but it was my first try, so cut me some slack. Here's how I did it...

1 packet of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar (organic preferred)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup raisins, packed into a mound (cram a lot of 'em in there)
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Combine yeast and water in a large bowl and whisk. Let it stand for 10 minutes, until bubbles form.
  • Add in wheat flour and sugar, whisk until mixed. 
  • Using the dough hooks of a hand mixer (unless you're lucky enough to have a standing mixer), start mixing in the remaining ingredients, except the raisins. Dough will be a little stiff, but shouldn't be too sticky.
  • Knead dough in the bowl (or on a lightly floured surface) adding raisins in a little at a time. Keep kneading until dough is soft and easy to work with, and raisins are well-blended into the mix.
  • Grease the dough with vegetable oil on all sides, and cover bowl with a wet towel. Allow dough to rise until almost doubled, about an hour, preferably in a sunny location.
  • While the dough is rising, prepare a large pot with six to eight cups of water and a pinch or two of salt. About 15 minutes before your dough has completed rising, turn on the burner and start your water boiling. It needs to be at a rolling boil for your bagels to cook properly.
  • Also, prepare a large cookie sheet with butter or baking spray. You can use parchment paper if you like, but you still need to spray it. 
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Punch down the dough, and move from the bowl to a lightly floured table.
  • Roll dough out into a long snaky shape with your hands, and pinch off ten equal pieces of dough.
  • Roll each piece into its own mini-snake and connect the ends to form a circle.
  • Gently place one bagel at a time into the boiling water. I used a slotted spoon for this. Don't overload the water. Just boil two or three bagels at a time. At first they will sink, but when they are cooking well, they will float up to the surface of the water. When they float up, flip them over and allow them to boil for another 30 seconds or so. Then move them to the cookie sheet.
  • When your cookie sheet is covered with boiled bagels, pop it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the smell of cinnamon raisin infused bread has permeated your kitchen. Ahhhh... enjoy it.
  • Remove bagels from the oven and flip them over with a spatula to cool bottom side up on the cookie sheet. This is to prevent the bottoms from over-browning.
  • When they've cooled enough to be able to handle, you can either eat them straight or cut them in half and lightly toast them. Then slather them with butter! Or vegan cream cheese! Or peanut butter! Whatever you like. They are delicious.
  • Makes 10 medium-sized bagels.
  • Enjoy!
NUTRITION FACTS (per bagel):
Calories: 219.2 / Total Fat: 0.7g (Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g) / Cholesterol: 0mg / Sodium: 466.9mg / Potassium: 98.5mg / Total Carbohydrate: 48.5g (Dietary Fiber: 3.6g, Sugars: 9.2g) / Protein: 6.2g

November 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Muffins

Since I yapped on and on about The Cancer Project yesterday, it reminded me that I wanted to post the super-yummy Sweet Potato Muffin recipe I found in their "Nutrition for Your Kids" booklet (which also has a fantastic Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe in it). These muffins are hearty and filling, and so good for you! I love giving them to my little one for breakfast. She picks all the raisins out first, chomps them down, then goes to town on the rest of the "treat." Give it a try! Here's the recipe...

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup soy- or other non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup golden raisins (I used regular ol' raisins, as you can see)
Vegetable oil spray
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix.
  • Mash sweet potatoes (if they aren’t mashed already) in a separate large bowl, then stir in non-dairy milk and vinegar. Add flour mixture and raisins. Stir together until just mixed. The batter should be moist. Add a bit more non-dairy milk or water if the batter seems stiff.
  • Spoon batter into a vegetable oil sprayed muffin pan, filling almost to the top. 
  • Bake 25 minutes, until tops of muffins bounce back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

P.S. Click HERE to get a free copy of the "Nutrition for Your Kids" booklet.

November 1, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I was down to my last sweet little red bell pepper this morning, and I wanted to do something special with it, so I roasted it up and put it into my basic hummus recipe. It turned out really nice! If you have two red peppers, it would be even better, but alas I had only one. Sigh...

Here's the hummus recipe. I ate it with some thin wheat crackers. Nom nom nom. Think I'll dip some carrots in this stuff later on...

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 cans garbanzo beans, liquid reserved
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons tahini (or several shakes of sesame oil)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of two lemons
1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning (or any combo of your favorite spices)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of chili powder
Dash of cayenne
  • First, you've gotta roast that pepper. If you have a gas range, I highly recommend roasting them directly over the open flame, using metal tongs to gently turn as needed. I place my peppers right on the stovetop, over a medium-high flame, and let them roast until the skin is almost completely blackened. If you don't have a gas range, you can roast them under the broiler. Take them out when the skin is black. When they're nicely roasted (soft if you poke at 'em), place them in a bowl and cover for about 15 minutes. Then gently peel the blackened skin off, cut them in half and remove the stem and seeds.
  • Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until creamy. I generally add about a quarter cup of the reserved bean liquid to my mixture, or more if I want it creamier.
  • Dunk with some crackers or carrot sticks, or slap into a pita with roasted veggies, or make a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, veggie bacon and hummus. The possibilities are limitless. Enjoy!
  • Makes 8 half-cup servings.