Girls on Food

Recipe

Valentine Pretzels by Bonnie – Feel The Love!

 

bonnie val pretzel

Yikes! Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  How about baking homemade treats that are sure to make you the most popular Valentine around? Oh, I can hear the excuses now: “I don’t know how to bake.”  “I don’t know what to make.”  “I don’t have time.”

Thank goodness you came to me.

If chocolate, caramel, and salty pretzels sound good, then I have a fool-proof recipe for you that can be put together in minutes. Yes, minutes!!! VALENTINE PRETZELS!

A popular version of this recipe uses small pretzel twists. The problem is the candy melts through the holes. So I found the perfect solution:  a product from Keebler called Town House Pretzel Thins with sea salt (No, they’re not paying me). Not only are they the right taste and construction – THEY’RE HEART SHAPED!!!

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VALENTINE PRETZELS

  • Keebler Town House Pretzel Thins – sea salt flavor
  • Rolo candies (or other caramel filled candy)
  • pecan halves, lightly toasted

You’ll need one of each per VALENTINE PRETZEL.

Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

valentine pretzels directions

Place crackers salted side down on ungreased cookie sheet. If you forget and lay the salted side up, don’t worry – I only place the crackers salted side down so that your tongue gets bathed in salt as you bite into the chocolate and caramel.

Top with unwrapped candy. Bake for approximately 4 minutes, until candy is soft but still retains its shape. Remove from oven.

Press one pecan half into each softened candy, firmly enough that the pecan embeds into the candy, but not so hard that the caramel comes squirting out.

Let cool either on the counter or briefly in fridge.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Bonnie’s Sweet Potato Soup – Without The Cream!

 

sweet potato soup text

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup WITHOUT the cream? What?  How can this be?

Oh – it be!  Thanks to your handy-dandy blender.

We’ve just finished trudging along Weight-Gain Road – that period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Parties, Potlucks, and homemade goodie plates! Stop the madness!!! It’s time to prepare ourselves for a guilt-free Valentine’s Day, not to mention swimsuit season.

Soup is one of my favorite diet tricks. Besides warming the cockles of my heart, it fills me up without a lot of calories. Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is one of my favorites.

bonnie & yam soup text

Which brings me back to the blender. (See how I did that?  I returned us seamlessly to the beginning of the blog.) Did you know if you purée soup in a blender it gets creamy, even if there’s no cream in it? It makes you feel like you’re indulging in something decadent.

NOTE: As far as the coconut milk goes, you can use either canned or powdered (See photo below).  Canned is more accessible in my town, but I prefer the powdered, so I just order it online. If you use the canned, you’ll need to decrease the amount of vegetable stock since there’s water in it already. By using the powdered, I can play around with how much coconut goes into the soup. Also, I can make half the recipe and don’t have to worry about what to do with the remaining half. Plus the powder takes up less cupboard space. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as far as taste is concerned which you choose.

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ADDITIONAL NOTE: The sweet potatoes need to be cubed for faster cooking (about 1″ squares). This is important: no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, DON’T stack the sweet potato slices to cube them. They’re very hard and very slippery. If you do, the top slice is liable to slide under pressure, yielding a nasty cut on your finger. Resist the urge; one slice at a time!

sweet pot slicing

FINAL NOTE (I promise!): I always peel my sweet potatoes.  But, since this soup is blended, you can try not peeling, if you like, to benefit from the nutrients in the skin.

sweet pot peel

SWEET POTATO SOUP – makes 10 cups

  • 9 cups sweet potatoes or yams, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1½ tsp dried cumin
  • 1½ tsp dried coriander
  • 1/3 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk powder (or 1  14 oz can)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 2¼ cups if using canned coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • few twists of pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • optional:  toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and sauté the onions about 5 minutes – until they begin to brown.

onions sauteing

Add the cumin, coriander, ginger, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir for another minute to bring out the flavors.

sweet pot soup spices

Pour in the sweet potatoes, coconut powder, and vegetable stock. If you’d like to make your own stock (which I ALWAYS do), you can find my recipe by clicking on VEGETABLE STOCK. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender – about 20-30 minutes.

sweet pot soup add yams

Let the soup cool down a bit and REMOVE THE BAY LEAF (Notice the caps – this is important!).

sweet pot soup remove bay leaf

Pour into your blender (in batches, if need be) and purée. Serve either hot or cold.

sweet pot soup pureeing

Toasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty topping – and they’re visually appealing.

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Be sure and check out my blog:  VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

Bonnie’s Bread and Cheese Omelette Casserole

BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE
BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE

One of the problems, when you’re hosting a holiday dinner, is the holiday breakfast and holiday lunch. Isn’t it enough you have to plan and prepare the dinner PLUS clean the house AND set the table?  And, if it’s Christmas, there are presents to open! Who has time to cook extra meals???

Fear not, I have the perfect solution:  BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE!

You put it together the day before, then just pop it in the oven in the morning and let it bake for an hour. While it cooks, you can open presents or tackle any of the hundred tasks that need to be done before company arrives.

NOTE:  I use this casserole as an opportunity to finish up odd bits of leftover cheeses. (I hate waste!)

BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE

  • 3 cups French bread pieces (about 1″ squares)
  • 12 oz cheese, shredded (your choice – mix it up, if you like)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1½ cups + 2 T milk (I use nonfat)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup scallions, sliced thinly

Butter a 9½” x 13″ casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle on bread followed by cheese.OMELETTE CASS PREP1

In a bowl, put the dried mustard, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Pour in a little of the milk and blend, smashing out any lumps. Add the eggs and beat well with an egg beater or whisk. Add the remaining milk and the scallions. Beat well.

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Pour over bread and cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

OMELETTE CASS PREP2

If possible, remove from fridge about half an hour before cooking. Bake covered at 325º Fahrenheit for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes to allow it to firm up.

BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE
BREAD & CHEESE OMELETTE CASSEROLE

Reno Tastebud’s Remixed Hash Browns

Weekend breakfasts always included hash browns with lots of cheese. I remember my Gramma over the stove with hot oil splattering all over frying up shredded potatoes and browning them to a golden crisp. As much as I love Gramma’s hash browns, I don’t love the weight that has found it’s semi-permanent home right on my butt. Spaghetti squash has become my favorite winter squash because it’s so versatile and well..heathier!

Get the new and updated recipe for hash browns below using spaghetti squash! It’s clean, healthy and tastes just as good.

Remixed Hash Browns 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash Halved (I always recommend keeping cooked spaghetti squash halves in the fridge for easy use)
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Low Fat Cheddar Cheese
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Green onions for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and place flesh side down in a microwave safe casserole dish filled with hot water (only an inch of water or so).
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and then place in your microwave for 8-10 minutes.
  • Be careful when removing the plastic wrap, you will get a steam burn if you pull the plastic back and your arm is in the way.remixed hashbrowns
  • Let the squash cool, until you are able to place the halves on a cut board.
  • Take a spoon, and scoop out the mushy middle, like you would a cantaloupe. It will contain seeds and needs to be discarded.
  • Grab a fork and start shredding the squash. You will notice it shreds in strands resembling spaghetti.
  • Place the spaghetti squash in a mixing bowl, and combine your flour, parmesan cheese, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
  • Mix well with hands. Your mixture will be wet and that’s ok. If there is excess moisture and it’s too wet to work with, add some more flour until you get a dryer, thicker consistency.
  • Form little 1 inch thick patties out of the hash brown mix. remixed hasbrowns2
  • In a stainless steel pan, heat olive oil and wait until you can see the oil separating in the pan. You don’t want the pan smoking, or else you will burn the patty. Olive oil burns easily, so heat over medium heat for approx. 2-3 minutes before placing your patty in the pan.
  • Once you place the patties in the pan and you hear them sizzling, let them cook for 5 minutes on each side. You will notice they will firm and brown around the edges, (similar to pancakes) and that is when it will be time to flip.
  • When the hash browns are finished, turn the heat to low, and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and let melt. You can also top with sliced green onions as well.

 

remixed hasbrowns 3

Summer’s Chocolate Caramel Swirl Bark

‘Tis the season for friends, family and parties! I love Christmas parties and I always want to show my appreciation to the host by giving a gift. I want to give something homemade but not a cookie, something sweet but not too sweet. Something you could enjoy with a big glass of adult grape juice … Enter the bark. Dark chocolate, swirled with white chocolate, laced with caramel dolce and sprinkled with sea salt bark. YUMMO!!

This bark hits all the right buttons, sweet, savory and easy to make. So bust out your mixing bowls, spatulas and lets get started!

*I got all of my ingredients at Trader Joe’s

bark ingredients

Chocolate Caramel Swirl Bark

1 Pound Plus Dark Chocolate bar
1 Bag of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1Bag of White Chocolate Chips
1/2 a Jar of Caramel Dolce Sauce

Break up the dark chocolate bar (I used half of it).
Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. stirring half way through.

Dark Chocolate

While the chocolate is melting cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.

remove the dark chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Place the the semi sweet chips in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir until completely melted.

Place the white chocolate chips in a bowl and repeat what you did with the semi sweet chip.

white choc swirlswhite choc swirls

While the white chocolate is melting spread the dark chocolate and semi sweet chocolate evenly onto the wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Remove the white chocolate from the microwave and stir until evenly melted. Plop spoonfuls of the white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate. Take a spatula and swirl through.

Scoop out half of the jar of Dulce de Leche and microwave just to soften for about 30 seconds. Plop the caramel by the spoonfuls onto the white, dark chocolate base and swirl through.

Carmel Sauce

Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the fridge until completely cooled (about 2 hours).

Break the bark up and enjoy!

Merry Christmas!!

me and bark

Jillian’s (Vegan & Gluten-Free) Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Coconut Creme Fraiche

chocolate sweet potato cake

chocolate sweet potato cakeOh heyyy there, don’t mind me drooling/crying over this mouthwatering cake situation ? Maybe you’re thinking that I’ve finally lost my marbles because chocolate and sweet potato are two foods that you would never imagine mixing together. But wait! ✋ Let’s stop and think about this for a minute. After making the most delicious confections using beets as my secret ingredient (Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes, Vegan S’mores Fudge Brownies, and Chocolate Chip Chia Beet Scones), I began to wonder what else I could bake using earthy root vegetables, because they make baked goods moist & amazing without tasting like earthy root vegetables.

Around this time I also began binge eating sweet potatoes in many forms, but mostly in the form of these Sweet Potato Fries with Magic Sauce. Let’s just take a minute and give sweet potatoes a shout out ????

What I came up with was a moist chocolate cake with a subtle sweetness, topped off with coconut creme fraiche and fresh mint ? You can thank me later.

chocolate sweet potato cake

Here are the ingredients you will need for this vegan and gluten free cake:

Dry Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato, roasted
1 tsp vegan butter, melted (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup roasted pureed beet
3/4 cup organic sugar, very fine (can pulse in coffee grinder)
1/4 cup cashew milk (or other non dairy milk) – add more if needed, I ended up using 1/2 cup the first time I made it

Poke some holes in your sweet potato using a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the skin once the potato is cool. This recipe also calls for roasted beet. I would say it’s optional, though. To roast the beet, clean it and cut off the stem, then rub a little coconut oil all over and wrap up the entire beet in aluminum foil. Place on a small baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour. When it’s cooled off, place in a blender and puree, adding water if needed. If you don’t use beets in this recipe and the batter feels too dry, just add a little more milk.

Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients together with a hand blender or regular blender until you have a velvety texture. Pour wet ingredients into dry and gently mix.

Line a small loaf pan (mine was about 8×4 inches) with some vegan butter or oil. Pour batter in and smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.

chocolate sweet potato cake

Coconut Creme Fraiche

Leave a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, upside down. Pour out the liquid content (can use for smoothies). Put the solidified coconut milk in a bowl with 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Mix with beaters (or hand blender) until you have a thick, yogurt or sour cream like consistency. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

 

 

 

Slice and plate your cake and add a dollop of creme fraiche when you’re ready to serve it. You can also add a sprig of fresh mint or dust cocoa powder or cinnamon on top. You can definitely bypass all those things and eat this cake just as it is because it doesn’t need all the fancy extras, although coconut creme fraiche can only enhance anything you put it on by a million percent.

chocolate sweet potato cake with coconut creme fraiche

If you roast the sweet potato and beet ahead of time, the cake itself is super quick and easy to make. Perfect for a fancy party, or for eating in your jammy jams with tea or coffee ☕️

Jillian ♥

Bonnie’s Vegetarian Christmas Lasagne

When one walks around with a surname like ‘Antonini’ there’s a certain expectation of Italian-ness. (It probably comes from all the vowels.) Even though there’s actually not a drop of Italian blood coursing through my veins (I married into the name), I do find myself talking with my hands and cooking lots of pasta.

A favorite vegetarian holiday pasta dish in our family is Christmas Lasagne (aka Italian Flag Lasagne the rest of the year), which sports festive red, white, and green layers.

Christmas lasagne & Bonnie
BONNIE MAKES VEGETARIANS MERRY!

I’m a wee bit picky (some might say ‘neurotic’) about what I feed my family.  I like to make as much from scratch as I can so I know what’s in our food. I’m also on the frugal side (some might say ‘cheap’), so cooking from scratch saves me money. Always a bonus!

That being said, doing everything yourself takes time. For my Christmas Lasagna, I make the pasta, pesto, marinara sauce, and buy fresh spinach that I wash, de-stem, and chop in the food processor. Not gonna lie: it’s work. But if you choose, you don’t have to do any of that. You can purchase lasagna noodles, pesto, frozen chopped spinach, and marinara sauce. While it’s probably tastier to make the spinach/pesto and marinara layers from scratch, the main feature of this recipe is the Christmas colored layers – and you can still get the ‘wow’ factor from store-bought ingredients.

As the self-proclaimed Queen of Freeze, next time I prepare Christmas Lasagna, I’m going to make several batches of both the spinach/pesto and marinara fillings, then freeze them in portion sized containers. That way in future when I make this as Italian Flag Lasagne, all I’ll have to do is make the noodles and ricotta filling.

THIS IS IMPORTANT (you can tell because I used all caps):  For best results, make Christmas Lasagna the day before serving. After baking, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The layers will then solidify. To serve, slice into serving sizes, and microwave until warm. If you don’t do this, the layers won’t be as pert, and you’ll lose the layer effect. The bonus is all the work is done the day before so you can concentrate on all your other dishes the day of. Yay!

CHRISTMAS LASAGNA – makes a 10″ x 7″ x 2″ lasagna

Spinach/Pesto Filling

  • 9 cups packed fresh spinach (or 1¼ cups frozen chopped spinach)
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1¾ cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2/3 cup pesto (recipe below)

Chop spinach in a food processor by pulsing several times, or use kitchen scissors.

Blanch broccoli by turning burner on high and steaming for 3 minutes total. (See photo). You want them firm to help support the green layer.

steam broccoli

In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add in spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook until spinach is wilted and liquid is extracted. Don’t be shocked when the spinach wilts dramatically. Turn off burner and tilt skillet, pushing the solids uphill so the liquid can drain. Mix together the drained spinach, broccoli, and pesto.

– Pesto – makes 2 cups (freeze what you don’t need!)

  • 5 cups fresh basil, pack down the basil when you measure
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 T lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 cup + 2 T Romano cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup + 2 T pine nuts, toasted

Put all ingredients in a blender.  Depending on your blender, you will probably have to start and stop quite often in order to reposition the ingredients. Be very careful not to press down with an implement (such as a wooden spoon) while the blender is running. As tempting as it is, I’ve had to throw out a few batches of pesto when the wooden spoon went too far down and got caught in the blades. Wood chips in pesto = not good!

Ricotta Filling

  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg

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Beat egg in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the ricotta and Romano.

Marinara Sauce

  • 4 cups Roma tomatoes, drained and chopped (I used canned, removing the stem end and any flaws)
  • ½ T olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1¼ cups fake ground beef

In a skillet heat olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add in the tomatoes, oregano, and wine.  Bring to boil, then lower flame and simmer sauce uncovered until it thickens (about 20 minutes). Stir in the imitation ground beef and simmer another 5 minutes. Make sure you use a fake meat that offers structural support to the layer such as Morningstar Meal Starter Griller Crumbles, which come in a pouch in the frozen food section. (See photo).

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Marinara layer, ready to go!

Cheeses

  • 1 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

– Homemade Noodles

NOTE:  If purchasing lasagna noodles, you’ll need 11 noodles.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ T olive oil
  • water, as needed

Into a food processor put the eggs, flour, and olive oil. Blend until most of the flour is incorporated. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you can form a ball with your hands, but dough is not wet. Roll dough into 8 balls, 2 of them should be about 2″ in diameter. Let rest in covered food processor 30 minutes.

Start boiling the water to cook the pasta. Run the two large dough balls through the pasta machine working your way to #5 setting.  They should be about 5″ wide and VERY long.  These pieces will form the bottom layer and will run up the sides.  The extra length is to wrap around the lasagna to form the top layer.

Assembly

Grease the sides of the lasagna pan. Spoon some of the liquid part of the marinara sauce onto the bottom of the pan and spread to cover. Boil one of the long pasta strips about 1 minute. Remove and drop into bowl of cold water. Put the other long strip into the boiling water. While that’s cooking, take the cooled strip and cover one side and half the bottom of the pan. Remove the other strip, put in cold water, and lay that one on the other side.

Spread the spinach/pesto filling evenly on the pasta. Top with ½ cup shredded Romano.

Prepare 2 more pasta balls. Roll them to #5, making them 3″ wide. Boil them together 1 minute, drop into cold water, and layer them on the spinach/pesto filling.

Spread the ricotta filling evenly on top.

Prepare 2 more pasta balls as above. Layer on top of ricotta filling.

Spread the marinara filling evenly on top. Top with the remaining ½ cup Romano.

If the bottom pasta strips are long enough that they can fully cover the marinara layer, you don’t need to use the last 2 pasta balls. Prepare them, if needed. Wrap the bottom strips around the marinara filling.

Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, cover with foil (making sure it doesn’t touch the cheese). Bake at 350º Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer.

Bonnie’s Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is coming up in the United States and grocery lists are being compiled for the big feast.

Is cranberry sauce on your list? The jarred kind, or – yikes! – that jellied canned stuff? Cross it off RIGHT NOW! Instead, write down bagged whole cranberries (they’re in the produce section).

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If you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce because all you have to do is boil water, cranberries, and sugar together for 5 minutes. Done!

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Even non-cooks can make this. Remember, every time you buy prepared food, you give power over what goes inside your body to someone else. It’s time to take control!

 

CRANBERRY SAUCE – makes about 2 cups

  • 8 oz whole cranberries, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (or, white sugar, if you prefer)
  • optional: zest from one orange (I never do this)

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. When cranberries begin to pop, remove from heat.

CRANBERRIES BOILING

Refrigerate until serving time. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Sauteed Veggies & Gravy

quinoa with sauteed veggies & gravy

quinoa with sauteed veggies & gravy

I think I can say it’s officially fall in Texas, which means I can use all autumn related emojis… ? ? ? ☕️ ??

While other states have already gotten snow and freezing temps, I’m down in Texas like… it’s November ? ??

Here in the Lone Star State we like pumpkin spiced everything & cozy sweaters just like the rest of you, and the thought that maybe-just-maybe we’ll actually get to use our fireplaces at least once this year. It may have hit 75 degrees yesterday where I live, but that won’t stop me from making delicious, seasonal dishes that make me feel like we have autumn for more than two seconds in Texas.

Cue today’s post ☝️ because how fall/autumn does this dish look?! Quinoa with Sauteed Veggies and Gravy – I mean, how often do vegans get to eat gravy, am I right? I created this recipe after buying a box of Pacific Mushroom Gravy for the first time and then realized I had no idea what to use it for ? Then I came up with this yummy, filling (not to mention healthy) entree. It consists of fluffy quinoa with sauteed garlic, onions, squash & mushrooms, and all simmered in savory mushroom gravy ? ?

quinoa with sauteed veggies & gravy

Start by soaking 1/2 cup of quinoa in a sealed container with filtered water. I like to soak it overnight, or you can start soaking in the morning if you aren’t making this dish until dinnertime. Soaking the quinoa in water allows the removal of acids and makes it easier for your body to digest it and absorb the nutrients. When you’re ready to prepare the dish, rinse and drain the quinoa.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the quinoa, and turn down to low heat. My quinoa cooked freakishly fast, probably because I soaked it for longer this time (about a day and a half), so keep an eye on it while cooking and turn down to the lowest setting if necessary. Normally it should take about 20 minutes. You want the quinoa to be nice and fluffy.

quinoa with sauteed veggies & gravy

While the quinoa is cooking, dice up a couple slices of yellow onion and mince a few medium cloves of garlic. In a large sauce pan, heat up a little coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Toss in the onions and when they start to become translucent, add the garlic. Once they both start browning, add one sliced squash and a handful of sliced mushrooms. You can sub any veggies you like, I just really like the squash and mushroom combo. Cook on medium heat and add liquid as necessary (water, chickpea broth, etc).

Season the cooked quinoa with salt, pepper, garlic powder and about 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast (if you like). Once the veggies are all cooked and browning, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I like to have my veggies resting on a comfy bed of quinoa as opposed to a heaping mess of savory goodness (nothing wrong with that but for photographing and serving purposes I like to be fancy ?). Scoop the veggies out of the skillet and set them aside. Line the pan with a layer of quinoa, lay the veggies over, then pour gravy over everything like you just don’t care ? If you want to be real fancy, you could make your own mushroom gravy.

Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it sit for a few minutes to heat the gravy and let everything simmer together. Chop up some parsley for garnish and it’s ready to serve! It tastes best served fresh but if you eat it as leftovers later, I would suggest adding a little more gravy because it soaks into the quinoa after sitting. This recipes serves two, but it’s super easy to double or triple!

quinoa with sauteed veggies & gravy

Other suggestions: Substitute the quinoa for millet, which has a similar texture and taste, as well as numerous health benefits. Add some tofu for a heartier dish. Serve straight from the skillet and top with some generous sprinkles of nutritional yeast.

quinoa with sauteed veggies

This is the perfect dinner recipe for a crisp autumn night, or if you live in Texas, a humid semi-autumn night. Either way, it’s delicious and easy to customize. And dat gravy ?

Jillian ♥

Renotastebud’s Zoodle Pho

“Are you Pho real?” Is what I asked the Dr. when he told me if I didn’t start cleaning up my eating habits I would have a stroke by the time I was 40. I was born to eat rich, decadent food. This is what I know, what I do for a living and what I am good at. Healthy food…seriously? Like cardboard brown rice and some bullshit vegetable? While it’s definitely ok to indulge and enjoy life, with my personal lifestyle and family genes, it’s best I clean it up a tad and behave myself.

I did research upon research and I discovered a program called the Whole30 through a fellow Girls On Food sister, Alex.  I have been on a Whole 30 approved lifestyle the last 20 days and have to say I am extremely impressed with the results and the options you have to choose from and how delicious my food still is. It has brought the chef back to life forcing me to create healthier dishes that are still flavor indulgent.  Today I was in the mood for a little Pho, but knew if I went out, I would have no clue what was really going into my bowl.

With that being said, I created my own clean version. Instead of using noodles, I grabbed a few zucchini’s, spiraled them with my fabulous Vegetti, and made “zoodles” instead. Check out the recipe below!

Renotastebud’s Zoodle Pho

Ingredients:

  • 1 Yellow Onion – Medium Diced
  • 1 cup shaved Carrots
  • 1 lb Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Zoodles (Using a spiraler, or vegetti, twist two medium sized zucchinis into the tool and get “noodles”
  • Roasted Chicken (optional)
  • Cilantro- minced
  • 1 cup Bean Sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Basil leaves
  • 64 oz. Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 bunch Bok Choy

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Preparation:

In a stock pot over medium heat, pour 2 tbsp. of olive oil and sauté chicken, diced onion, sliced shiitake mushrooms and carrots. When the vegetables start to turn translucent and release their juices (approx. 4-6 mins) add salt and pepper. (To taste, I use a generous pinch) Gently add your zoodles, and bean sprouts, and then chicken stock. Bring to a gentle boil, we don’t want to break the noodles. Keep the heat at medium low, so you can continue to develop the flavors of the onion, mushrooms and carrots for approximately 30 minutes. The last 5 minutes, add your bok choy, you will want to this to remain a bright green color.

Carefully spoon the pho into a bowl, and then top with minced cilantro, diced green onion, basil leaves and lime wedges.  Enjoy!

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Summer’s Spooky Halloween Peppers

With Halloween only a few days a way I wanted to bring you a fun, healthy way to celebrate. Yes halloween is a day full of sweets and treats but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little healthy option in there as well. Allow me to present to you Franken pepper and Jack-o-pepper. Basically they’re stuffed bell peppers with cute little faces carved into them.  You can celebrate in the festivities and maintain a clean diet with just a little bit of creativity. My recipe is just a guideline. You can add whatever you want to the filling. I like to keep mine grain free but if you like rice or quinoa add some freaking rice or quinoa.

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Here is my Halloween stuffed pepper recipe.

 

orange-and-green-pepper-e14461399126711 Orange pepper

1 Green pepper

1  Jalepeno, diced

1 Sweet Onion, diced

turkey-tomato-jalepeno-onion-e14460693689312 Tomatoes, diced

1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 lb. of lean ground turkey

Olive oil

shredded-mozzarella-e1446069288991Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, to taste

1 mushroom, a few slices of red onion, a couple sprigs of brocolini (this is for your garnish)

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a medium pan heat up your olive oil, add ground turkey and season. Once the turkey is no longer pink add your tomatoes, onions, jalepenos and season. Cook on low until onions are transparent and jalepenos are tender.pepper filling

While your filling is cooking take the tops of your peppers off, set them aside. Scrape out the seeds.

I used a small, sharp knife to cut out the faces of my peppers.orange pepper carvedgreen pepper carved

Sprinkle a little cheese inside the peppers.

Once the filling is cooked stuff the peppers all the way to the top. Make sure they are full.

Top them off with more cheese, place the pepper tops back, place them in a  shallow baking dish and place them in the oven. I cooked mine for about 25 minutes. I like my peppers to still be crisp when I bite into them. If you want your a little softer then leave them in a little longer.

While the peppers are baking heat up some olive oil in a small sautee pan and add your garnish veggies, salt and pepper them. Once they are cooked set them aside.

Pull your peppers out. place them on a plate and add your garnish. I used toothpicks to hold the mushrooms on Franken peppers neck. I rolled the sliced red onions up and placed them in his eyes. For Jack-o-pepper I just took the broccolini and placed it on top of his lid. And thats it. Voila halloween dinner is served.

Enjoy!

cooked peppers

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Bonnie’s Beer and (Vegetarian) Sausage Sliders!

BONNIE MAKES A GREAT CATCH!
BONNIE MAKES A GREAT CATCH!

It’s that time of the year again! The BIG GAME is coming up and the gang is getting together to watch.

You may be wondering to which game I’m referring. Sport’s Widows the world over know: no matter where you are or what time of year it is, there is ALWAYS a Big Game.

Snacks are a must. I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of rule that when you watch a sporting event, you must eat. Just watch the commercials before a championship game – enthusiastic friends cheering their team on while consuming vast quantities of food and drink.

Just as sports and food are a natural combination, so are beer and sausage, especially Australian beer. Anyone who loves beer as much as I do will understand how amazing this combination is. Give it a go if you haven’t already, then you’ll see what I mean. So I created a vegetarian slider using beer bread as the bun, and imitation sausage patties as the insides. I also throw in some jalapeño jack cheese for good measure.

FYI, when I use quotation marks around any meat item, it means FAUX (that’s fancy for ‘imitation’)!

BEER & “SAUSAGE” SLIDERS are so tasty even my carnivorous brother raved about them. (I decided not to enlighten him about the sausage being fake – why rock the boat!) One thing I really like about these sliders is the beer bread, sausage, and cheese bond together as they bake, so you don’t have to worry about them falling apart. This feature makes them perfect for grab-and-go eating.

If you’d like to see my video on how to make these, click on BEER & “SAUSAGE” SLIDERS.

NOTE: BEER & “SAUSAGE” SLIDERS freeze well, so make extra!

BEER & “SAUSAGE” SLIDERS – makes 12 sliders

  • 1 bottle beer at room temperature (any kind is fine, just make sure you like the flavor since it will be prominent)
  • 3 T sugar
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 12 imitation sausage patties (I LOVE Morningstar brand!)
  • optional: 12 cheese squares (1″ x 1″ x ¼”) (I use jalapeño jack, but you can use any kind)

Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.

Bake the sausage patties for a total of 15 minutes, flipping them after 7 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.

MORNINGSTAR
MORNINGSTAR “SAUSAGE” PATTIES

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Pour in the beer and stir until the flour is incorporated. No need to knead. (Yes, pun intended!)

SLIDER - BEER BREAD

Put a rounded tablespoon of batter on the bottom of each greased muffin cup. Add the cheese squares, if using, and smoosh them into the batter to spread it out. Layer on the cooked “sausage”. Then top with the rest of the batter. There’s exactly enough batter for 12 sliders, so divvy it up accordingly.

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Pop them in the already heated 375º Fahrenheit oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from pan and serve!

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These BEER & “SAUSAGE” SLIDERS are not only great for snacking, but for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too! WIN!!!

Check out my blog at VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG for more tasty recipes.