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Chickpeas, Quinoa, and Kale

31 May

So I’m finally settled in my new apartment and I’m getting used to my new kitchen. I figured I’d try something brand new for my first big meal.

I found a book my cousin, Kristen, gave me for Christmas. It’s called The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott. As I was flipping through, I found the recipe section in the back for Moroccan Chickpea and Kale Tagine with Quinoa. My three favorite superfoods in one recipe! I ran to Whole Foods during my lunch break to pick up some ingredients.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tagine

1 tbsp safflower oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, cut in 1/4 inch rounds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bunch kale, cut in strips

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 (14-oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (14-oz) can of diced tomatoes

1 vegetable bouillon cube

2 cups water

1/2 cup raisins

Quinoa

1.5 quinoa, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

Preheat a large stockpot over medium heat, add the oil, then the onion, garlic, carrots, and cinnamon. Add the kale in handfuls, tirring to combine each batch. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to soften for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper; stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Dissolve vegetable bouillon in boiling water. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, raisins; then bring to a boil. Cover when boiling and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the tagine simmers, prepare the quinoa. In a small pot, add the quinoa and water, then cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the water was absorbed (15 minutes). Remove the quinoa from the heat and keep it covered until ready to serve.

After the tagine has simmered for 10 minutes, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for 10 additional minutes, allowing some of the liquid to absorb. Turn off the heat and serve over a bed of quinoa.

It was unbelievably delicious. I couldn’t help myself from tasting all throughout the process. I wasn’t even hungry and I ate a full bowl. I can’t wait for leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Baby Bok Choy and Bikes

3 Jan

I bought a bike this weekend!

(Looks like a falafel photoshoot in the background)

My parents wanted to get me one for Christmas, but we couldn’t figure out how to get from NY to DC. So they gave me some money and told me to buy one down here.

I was really nervous about getting the right one and I was all ready to head over to a pro bike shop. But first, I stopped in Target to get a helmet.

But I wound up finding a bike that was in my price range there. It was already assembled, so I just rolled it out of the store and took it home on the metro.

I took it on a test run and the bike is a good ride. However, I am bad at riding bikes. I’ve only ever ridden kids’ bikes, ones with one gear and brakes when you back pedal. So my new bike will take some getting used to, especially on hills.

 

And now for dinner, falafel served over baby bok choy.

Now this might seem like a weird combination, but trust me, it was delicious. It all started with a trip to Whole Foods. I’ve been wanting to try some of the more exotic vegetables for a while now. So I picked up a head of baby bok choy and figured that I would find some way to use it.

When I got home, I decided that all I wanted was some falafel. But I didn’t have any canned chickpeas (I’ve been trying to soak my own beans lately –saves money and tastes better). However, I did replenish my stash of chickpea flour and figured that I could use some of that.

After a little bit of internet searching, I found this recipe by Bob’s Red Mill. This is the company I buy my chickpea flour from. Everything they make is good.

What you need:

1 cup Garbanzo Bean Flour (also called Chickpea Flour)

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/4 Coriander

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 cup Boiling Water

2 tbsp Olive Oil (for frying)

How you do it:

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Boil the water (I used a microwave) and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined.

In a frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Form dough into patties and press down on the top with a fork. Place patties in oil and fry until golden brown.

As for the bok choy, I just sautéed it in a frying pan with some garlic.

Result: pure deliciousness.


How to survive the winter- recipe roundup

23 Dec

‘The days are getting longer. The days are getting longer.”

It’s my mantra for the  less wonderful time of the year. I repeat it to myself when I wake up in the morning and the sun’s not up. I say it when I walk out of work at 5 and the sun is setting. I think about it when I get off the Metro and it’s pitch black.

“The days are getting longer. At least the days are getting longer.”

When the sun stays up for 4 seconds, I think to myself “Tomorrow it will stay up for 5 seconds”. It gets me through the long winter months.

Something else you have to deal with during the winter is the lack of lighting. When I get home from work, the sun’s not out so my food pictures come out blurry and dark.

But I realized today that I don’t have to take pictures in my dining room, where there’s a tiny lamp in the corner. I can hold my plate under the light in the bathroom or my bedroom and the pictures will come out ten times better!

Kale chips are so easy to make! Just rip some kale leaves into small-ish pieces, season with olive oil, S&P, garlic and onion powder, nutritional yeast, etc.

Toss the leaves on a baking pan and cook at 400F until crispy. Serve with hummus!

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Carrot-Ginger Soup is next on the list of food I’ve made this week. This soup is perfect for those cold winter days when all you want is to warm your soul. Think of it as the chicken soup for the vegetarian soul.

What you need:

2 pounds of carrots

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

spices

How you do it:

1. Sauté the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic with the chopped, peeled carrots.

2. Bring vegetable broth to a boil.

3. Once they are soft, add the carrots, onions, and garlic to the boiling vegetable broth.

4. Allow to cook for 30 minutes while adding spices to taste.

5. When the carrots start to break apart, put the soup in a food processor and blend until smooth.

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Add shredded carrots to your zucchini chickpea pancakes when you accidentally buy four pounds instead of two!!

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Lots of people are going home for the holidays, myself included. That means that you want to use up all the food in your fridge that might go bad.

For me, that meant inventing something with my open package of tofu.

I found some salsa that belonged to one of the girls who lives in the apartment normally. She told me I could use any of the food in the fridge while I’m “apartment-sitting”. (In reality, she’s doing me a huge favor by letting me stay there over Winter Break. Thanks Cynthia, you’re the best! <3)

 So I grabbed my tofu, put it in a baking pan, covered it with the salsa, and let it bake for 15 minutes.

Then I pulled it out, topped it with nutritional yeast and tomatoes, toasted some pita bread, and cut up some carrots.

Easy, delicious, and I got to eat it all with this wacky fork.

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I hope you all have wonderful and fantastic holidays. I’m so excited because I’m going home tonight after work. I’m catching a ride with my uncles up to New York, where I’ll spend a whirlwind 3 days singing, giving gifts, loving on my family, and most importantly, eating.

Quinoa Kale Soup

17 Dec

Easy cold weather recipe –quinoa kale soup.

Look at the steam coming off of that soup!

I used a vegetable bouillon cube, some sautéed kale and carrots, and half a cup of quinoa.

Served with a side of fried tomatoes and sprouted toast with nutritional yeast.

 

TGIF. I plan to spend the rest of the night watching The Daily Show and knitting my scarf. And catching up on my sleep 🙂

Butternut Squash Ravioli

17 Dec

Yesterday afternoon marked the first snowfall of the season.

And as the snow got heavier, the roads got worse and the bosses got more inclined to let their staff members go a little early.

American sidewalks can’t stand up to the quick snowplowing efforts of the Japanese government.

After a bitter cold walk home from the Metro stop, I knew exactly what would warm me up on this cold winter day – butternut squash ravioli.

I found this recipe on IowaGirlEats.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baked butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • package of eggroll wrappers

According to this recipe, it should have made about 40 small ravioli. I had over 80. Not sure how I ended up with so many.

But before we get into the recipe, I want to first talk about How-To Cut and Cook a Butternut Squash (without removing any fingers).

1. Start with a large butternut squash.

2. Use a small knife to pierce the bulb of the squash four times (one on each side). Microwave the squash for 3 minutes on high. This will make it easier to cut.

3. Next, cut the top and bottom off of the squash.

4. Then, cut the squash down the middle, making sure to keep the knife straight. GO SLOW. This is the part of the tutorial where people start cutting themselves.

5. When you’re done, you’ll have two halves of the squash. The bulbs will be full of seeds, so you’ll want to scoop those out. Looks like I let mine sit for a little too long.

A little plant started to grow inside!

6. Then, arrange the halves on a baking sheet. Cover them in oil and bake in the oven at 400F for about 50 minutes.

I seasoned these guys with a little salt and pepper.

7. Now, scrape the squash away from the peel. The peel is edible, so it’s not the end of the world if some gets into the food. It just tastes better without it.

You will now have 3 cups of cooked butternut squash.

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Now, on to the ravioli.

1. Chop and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add onion, garlic, cooked squash, and cinnamon to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well blended.

3. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl, adding more salt and pepper to it if necessary.

4. Break out the eggroll wrappers.

The original recipe calls for wonton wrappers, but they didn’t have any at Whole Foods. I was told that four wonton wrappers equal an egg roll wrapper, so I cut them in quarters.

Also, it never even crossed my mind that EGG roll wrappers had egg whites in them until I looked at the ingredients. So while these aren’t technically vegan, they could be if you had enough foresight to buy vegan wrappers.

5. Place a quartered wrapper on your cutting board. Moisten all four sides with water and place a small blob of squash in the center.

6. Fold.

7. Repeat until all of the squash is gone.

8. DO NOT pile them all on top of each other. They will stick together and turn into a giant glob like this:

Instead, put them on a wax covered baking sheet and freeze them for 1 or 2 hours. Then, you can put them in little ziplock bags. They’ll keep for 4 or 5 months in the freezer.

9. When you want to eat them, heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the raviolis for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Deconstructed Lasagna

15 Dec

Sometimes, the best things in life are the unplanned ones.

Like when you move into a new apartment and assume there are baking dishes there that are big enough to fit a lasagna without first checking. And when there aren’t, you decide to make two small ones with the little pan you found.

And when that doesn’t work because you didn’t use enough water in the second batch of lasagna noodles and they all stick together–

– you decide to use the leftovers to make a lasagna salad.

And it’s delicious.

I didn’t measure anything for this recipe, which is why I had too much pasta and not enough “cheese” or sauce.

For the “cheese”, I used:

  • extra firm tofu, squeezed dry and crumbled
  • turmeric
  • nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • tahini
  • garlic, fresh
  • garlic and onion, powdered

Next, I sautéed kale, carrots, and onions in some oil and mixed it in with the cheese.

I took the tomato sauce that I made earlier in the year that was in my freezer and used it to layer the noodles and “cheese”.

Then I put the real lasagna in the oven while I made my lasagna salad.

THANKSGIVING

25 Nov

The best food holiday of the year.

Breakfast: Soy yogurt with walnuts, coconut, raisins, and chia seeds


Ice skating on Thanksgiving is our family tradition. Instead of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade like everyone else, we would get up early, don our thermals, jackets, and gloves, and head over to our local outdoor rink. My sister belonged to the figure skating club, so we got into the early morning session. Even after she stopped skating, we still kept our Thanksgiving tradition.

Lunch: Strawberry and Cherry Smoothie, Butternut Squash Soup

So I forgot to take pictures of the soup, but here’s the smoothie.

Making dinner:

Carrots from the garden.

My mom goes “Oh! Those look like legs! Let’s make a little guy.”

So we did.

Julia bought a persimmon from the health food store and we all ate some.

Dinner: Tofurkey Stuffing Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Carrots.

I’m the only person in my family who eats cranberry sauce.

Here’s a stuffing recipe adapted from Veg Kitchen. It serves four people.

Walnut-Apple Stuffing and Tofurkey Casserole

3 cups breadcrumbs

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

3 cups peeled, diced tart apple

3 bunches scallions, minced

1/2 cup black walnuts

2 tbsp rosemary

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

15 slices Tofurkey

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Sauté the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the apples, scallions, rosemary, and walnuts and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Combine the bread crumbs with the onion and apple mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the broth and toss together. Add the broth slowly while stirring to moisten the ingredients evenly.

4. Alternate layers of tofurkey deli slices with layers of stuffing in a clear, medium size pyrex dish.

5. Bake for 20 minutes at 375F.

“Looks gross, tastes great.” –Julia

Orange seems to have been the theme this Thanksgiving.

Dessert: Pumpkin Pie and Cherry Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream

The pumpkin pie recipe is here

I also refrigerated it overnight so the cream hardened up. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it up.

Beautiful, beautiful coconut cream.

Julia took my picture taking privileges away from me after this.

Doesn’t that look amazing!? I need to get a good camera like hers.

I am so thankful the amazing people in my life. Thank you all so much for everything you all do. You know who you are ❤

And who ever made it to the end of this insanely long blog post– thank you. I’m so passionate about veganism and making food and it makes me so excited that people want to share the experience with me. I love when people come up to me and tell me that they read my blog. It means so much to me. Thank you thank you thank you!!