Lemon quinoa

This is just about the quickest and easiest way to liven up quinoa that I have come across yet!

In a large saute pan, soften onion in a few drops of olive oil. Add celery and saute another minute. Toss in cooked quinoa, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute another minute and serve!

I will say it every time – but don’t over cook the veg! The celery should still have a crunch to it! A variety of textures is part of what makes food delicious!

We served it with Gardein BBQ Pulled Shreds (meh – they were ok – we were being LAZY) and steamed broccoli. The quinoa totally made up for the marginal “protein” on the plate!

Serves 4

  • 156 calories
  • 29 g carbs
  • 3 g fat
  • 5 g protein
  • 4 g fiber

Springtime orzo

This is my first adventure with whole wheat orzo. Orzo is a seed shaped pasta that can easily stand-in for rice in hot or cold dishes. The whole wheat version is very flavorful!

I have a huge bag of haricot verts that needed to be used (a huge stretch for me, being a previous poopoo’er of green beans for years – but I was tempted to retry them by a ridiculous deal at Costco) and orzo that had been sitting in my cupboard for ages, taunting me.

* Haricot verts is just a fancy name for green beans – but these are young and thin and very tender. I still don’t think I’d like green beans, but I do like these!

  • 2 cups whole wheat orzo
  • 2 cups haricot verts, cut in half
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal (I used a mandoline)
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 package tempeh, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • soy sauce (or tamari)
  • cilantro and green onion, chopped, for garnish

Put a large stock pot full of salted water on the stove to boil. Blanch haricot verts by dropping in boiling water for 3 minutes (until they turn bright green but are still quite crisp). Scoop them out of the boiling water and drop them in to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking immediately. Crispness and color are key!

Drop orzo into boiling water and cook approximately 9 minutes. Start checking regularly after about 7 minutes. It needs to be taken out while it is still al dente – if it is overcooked it’s a mushy mess.

Pan fry tempeh with a few drops of olive oil until tempeh is slightly browned.  Set tempeh aside and add a few more drops of olive oil to the pan and saute garlic, peppers and carrots until they are just starting to soften. Add 2 tbsp water and ginger and stir well. Toss in cooked orzo, a good drizzle of sesame oil (approx 2 tbsp) and a splash of seasoned rice wine vinegar. Saute a minute longer.

Plate orzo and vegetables. Top with tempeh, cilantro and onions and a drizzle of soy sauce.

Serves 6

  • 280 calories
  • 40 g carbs
  • 8 g fat
  • 13 g protein
  • 8 g fiber

Are you sitting down? CHILE RELLENOS!!

My favorite Mexican dish in the whole wide world is, hands down, chile rellenos. My daughter feels the same way. Once we got on this cashew cheese-making mission we were hoping that the ultimate use would be in chile rellenos. Well, the cheese making is still a work in progress as a good solid sliceable product still eludes us, but this is a good use for creamy cashew cheese goodness!

Last night that dream was realized. OMGNOMNOMNOM

This isn’t exactly a lazy dish but it’s not hard at all. And it doesn’t require that many ingredients.

Added bonus: since these are baked, and not fried, and have no eggs, each chile relleno is about 225 calories! Beat that!

Chile Rellenos

  • Poblano or Anaheim chiles
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3 cup fava bean flour + 1/3 cup flour (you can use all white flour OR make it gluten-free with all fava flour!)
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/3 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • chopped cilantro and red onion for garnish

Fire Roasted Chiles

Roast chiles over an open flame until the skins are well charred. If you don’t have a gas stove you can do this in a very hot cast iron skillet or under a broiler. Keep an eye on them at all times!

When they are done, put them in a brown paper bag to sweat until they are cool.

Once the chiles are cooled, slip the charred skin off over the sink. Work gently to minimize tears in the chiles.

Cut off the top of the chile and remove the core and seeds. Split chiles up one side, lengthwise (they may already split when you remove the skin).

Cashew Cheese

Drain cashews and reserve soaking liquid. In a blender, blend cashews and enough soaking liquid to make a smooth and thick paste.

Pour paste into a length of cheesecloth, doubled, and gently squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and mix in smoked paprika and cumin.

Making the chile rellenos

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch and 2/3 cup cold water. The batter should be relatively thick.

Stuff chiles with cashew cheese mixture. Fold closed. (oops – missed some seeds! ha!)

Dip stuffed chiles in batter, coating with a thick coat and place in a pan that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Cook in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until batter is lightly browned.


Heat salsa with 1/3 cup water in the microwave until hot. (Sauce should be very thin.)

Serve hot chiles over a bed of greens. Poor hot sauce over the top and garnish with onions and cilantro.

We served this with a side of black beans and yellow peppers with crisped corn tortillas.

Serves 4

  • 247 calories
  • 25 g carbs
  • 13 g fat
  • 10 g protein
  • 6 g fiber

Lentil veggie stew

With spring just around the corner, winter has finally decided to make an appearance in San Francisco. It’s cold and windy and rainy… perfect weather for stew!

  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 6 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups potatoes. chopped
  • 1 package lentils, rinsed and rained
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili seasoning
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 This makes A LOT – like 10 servings!

Chop all veg in large chunks – it’s much more satisfying to be able to tell what you’re eating in each bite!

In a large stock pot saute onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until softened. Add rest of veg and saute a few minutes longer.

Add 2 cans of tomato sauce, plus 4 cans of water, and lentils. Bring to just boiling, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add seasoning and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

 This freezes REALLY well and, of course, tastes better the next day.

Gradual steps toward vegan

This is excellent advice!

If you shift your eating patterns gradually, just by giving up eating one animal at a time (start by giving up chickens) or subbing out a favorite meal by veganizing the protein (opting for a black bean burrito instead of a beef burrito for instance), you have more breathing room to discover new food choices and menus.

Steps to becoming a Veganist, by Kathy Freston.

Going vegan DOES NOT mean upending your whole way of eating in one day. Every meal you choose to be plant-based is one step toward a healthier you, a healthier planet, and more compassionate treatment of God’s creatures.

* Handy salad dressing above: mix 2 tablespoons guacamole with 1/4 cup salsa and 1 tbsp water. Creamy, rich, piquant, protein-y and delicious!

Vegan + diet = not so bad

With less than 3 months before my wedding dress arrives and one shot at alterations, I am buckling down on the ole diet. One day a week I will allow myself to indulge in cashew creaminess, desserts and other deliciousness but the other 6 days I am religiously tracking my nutritionals.

And you know what? It’s not that bad!

This is typical of what my daytime food looks like.

Breakfast:  1 pink grapefruit, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup live culture vanilla soy yogurt.

Lunch: vegan boca patty on sandwich thins with spicy mustard and Veganaise (indulgence!); and salad with mixed greens, baby spinach, carrots, celery, white mushrooms, 1/3 cup chili garbanzos, and balsamic vinegar.

Snack: celery, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Grapefruit – Raw, pink and red, Florida, 1 cup sections, with juice 69 17 0 1
Blueberries – Frozen, unsweetened, 0.25 cup, unthawed 20 5 0 0
Silk – Live! Soy Yogurt Vanilla, 0.5 container 75 13 2 3
Strawberries – Raw, 0.5 cup, halves 24 6 0 1
Arnold – Select Multi-Grain Sandwich Thins, 1 roll 100 22 1 5
President’s Choice Organics – Field Greens Salad Mix, 1 cups (60 g) 5 1 0 1
Carrots – Raw, 0.5 cup, chopped 26 6 0 1
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram) – Canned, 0.3 cup 86 16 1 4
Generic – White Mushrooms, 1 cup 16 2 0 2
Celery – Raw, 0.5 cup chopped 7 1 0 0
Spinach – Baby Spinach Leaves, 1 cup 7 1 0 1
Boca Meatless – Burgers – Garden Vegetable Made With Organic Soy, 1 burger 130 9 4 15
Kirkland – Balsamic Vinegar, 30 mL 20 4 0 0
Follow Your Heart – Veganaise, 0.5 tbsp 45 0 5 0
Vegetables – Celery Sticks(4sm=1ser), 8 small stick 24 4 0 0
Carrot Sticks – Raw, 8 stick 8 2 1 1
Vegetable – Cherry Tomatoes, 4 tomato 12 4 0 0
Totals 674 113 14 35
Your Daily Goal 1,200 165 40 45
Remaining 526 52 26 10

 Provided I stick to this I should be down a few sizes 😀

Mmmmmm miso soup

I was home yesterday with a kid with a very upset tummy. Since we obviously aren’t chicken noodle soup eaters (though we do have “chikn” soup mix) I whipped up a little of Haley’s favorite soup, miso.

If you’ve never made miso soup you probably don’t realize just how easy it is. The following isn’t a traditional miso soup, so feel free to sub veggies or add noodles! This is what I had on hand and what I knew would make an upset tummy happy!

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped seitan
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp mellow white miso paste
  • 1/2 chopped green onion

In a sauce pan soften carrot and celery in a few drops of olive oil. Add seitan and saute until browned. Add water and miso, stir well to dissolve miso paste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with green onion.

Creamy pasta with seitan

This recipe really couldn’t be easier. The cashew creme is the product of my first failed attempt at making cashew cheese. If all failures will be this tasty then YAY!

This dish is really rich and creamy with a load of protein – and wicked good comfort food!

Cashew Creme

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups water, salted

Soak raw cashews overnight in salted water. Drain soaking water and reserve. Blend soaked cashews and nutritional yeast in a blender or food processor, adding enough soaking water to achieve a thick and creamy consistency.

  • pasta
  • 1 package seitan
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.

Saute onion and seitan in a non-stick skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil until both are carmelized. Browning brings out the flavor!

Add cooked pasta to skillet. Toss with cashew cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale chips

This is our new favorite snack!

If you want something crispy and a little salty, ditch the potato or tortilla chips and add some serious goodness with kale chips!

Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory.[1]

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.

Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[3][4] Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.[5]

Potatoes and corn can’t hold a candle to that!

 Chop up 2 large bunches of kale, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes – until the edges of the leaves turn brown and they are thoroughly crunchy.