Try This: Radish Chips

I think radishes are totally underrated.Radish Chips 002I haven’t always felt this way.  I certainly did not grow up eating radishes, and while I do remember that they were one of “those things” that Daddy liked but “we” didn’t, I have no memory of ever actually trying them.

The first time in my entire life that I was ever aware of eating a radish then was last spring when I did a 3-day detox meal plan from Maria Marlowe, and one of the salad recipes called for them.  At that time, I discovered that I actually like these crunchy, peppery little guys!

If radishes aren’t yet a part of your rotation, give them a shot!  My favorite way to eat them these days is what I call Radish Chips.

Radish chips can be either raw or roasted.  As is the case with most root vegetables, roasting makes them more tender and sweet than their raw counterparts.

To Make
All you do is slice a handful of radishes thinly and toss them with olive oil and salt.   I like to eat them raw at this point, but if you want to roast them, you can do so in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side (or a little longer if you want them pretty crispy…just be careful not to burn them!).

Roasted Radish ChipsAnd of course you can add your seasonings of choice, to either the raw or roasted version!  Pictured above are roasted radish chips with the following seasonings (clockwise from top): cumin, plain (just salt), oregano, and turmeric.

Weigh in on radishes in the comments–do you love ’em or hate ’em?

This post is part of a series on the blog called Try This, providing new or interesting ways to prepare and enjoy a staple vegan food.  They’re not really recipes, just fun ideas!  Other posts in the series:
Try This: Banana Breakfast “Burritos”
Try This: Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Try This: Tofu Bacon

Have a great weekend everyone!  Go Seahawks!

Football Party Pie

Remember two weeks ago when I promised I’d reveal what those weird boomerang-y things covered in coconut whipped cream were?

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No?  Me neither.  I can barely remember what happened 2 hours ago.

Well anyway, they were the edges that I cut away from my pumpkin pie to make it into a FOOTBALL PIE!!!

Football-Pie

To see all the steps for making a pie that’s also a football, check out my guest post on Chic Vegan.

Even though my beloved Patriots are no longer in the running for this year’s championship, I’m obviously still going to watch the Superbowl.  I’ll be rooting for the Seahawks, mainly because their kicker is a local guy, but also because I really have run out of patience with Prince Peyton, his forehead, and his stupid pizzas.

I haven’t quite settled on what to bring to the party that H and I are going to on Sunday.  It’s a complete certainty that I’ll be making Becky’s Spinach Artichoke Dip with Garlic Cashew Cream (after all, I have sworn to never again host [or in this case, attend] a party without it), but apart from that I’m undecided.  I figure I’ll wait a couple more days for the blogosphere (and Twitter, and Pinterest) to beat me over the head with ideas before reaching a final decision 🙂

Go Seahawks!

Shameless Indulgence: Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

Over the weekend, I was incessantly hungry, and so I ate.  A lot.  I don’t know what was with me, but I would eat and then be hungry an hour later no matter what.  So I indulged, and it was glorious.

One such indulgence was this VEGAN Spicy Chicken Quesadilla, made with good old-fashioned commercial store-bought products.

I’m doing a juice cleanse later this week (for a review), so when I’m detoxing like crazy, I’ll know where to point the finger of blame…

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas 006…right here^

Here is how I made it:
1) I sauteed 1/2 a yellow onion (diced), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/3 of an orange bell pepper (diced), and 1/2 a jalapeno (minced) in 1 tsp. of coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.  I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.
2) When the veggies were starting to get slightly tender, I tossed in 6 strips of Beyond Meat southwest style strips (cubed) and browned everything together, another 3 minutes or so.  [Note: this makes enough filling for two quesadillas.]
3) I removed the veggies from the pan and set them aside.  In the same pan, I placed a corn tortilla (I use Trader Joe’s) and topped with about 1/3-1/2 cup Daiya pepperjack style shreds.  I warmed it for a minute until the Daiya started to look slightly melty.
4) I scooped the veggie and “chicken” mixture on top of the Daiya, then covered it with another corn tortilla.  I warmed it another minute, then flipped it and cooked it 1-2 minutes more until the Daiya was totally melted.

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas 002

5) I used a pizza cutter to slice it into four wedges, then topped it with salsa and feasted.

Is it 100% whole foods?  No.  Is it oil-free?  Negative.  I’m okay with this.  Hell, I’ve got a lot more Daiya and Beyond Meat to finish up so I’ll probably make it again (maybe after the cleanse though).  It was delicious.

Now for some real talk.

Sometimes I just need a little vegan junk food in my life.  I don’t have to feel shame when I indulge or when I buy and cook with convenience food.  Instead, I’m choosing to celebrate this weekend’s shameless indulgence by sharing it with all of you!

Food guilt is something I’ve been pondering a lot recently.  Laura recently wrote a post about letting go of food judgment and I think it was one of the things that set my wheels turning.  The trigger for me to finally write my own follow-up to her post was the minute of hesitation I felt today about sharing this not-terribly-healthy, semi-homemade “recipe,” worried about the reactions it would get.

As a food blogger, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and writing about food.  I am perpetually reading other people’s blogs and viewing glimpses of the food they eat and lifestyles they lead through the lens of my computer screen.  In turn, I open up on this forum and share parts of myself, my kitchen, my home, my marriage, with people all over the world.

I never consciously compare myself to others but lately I’ve wondered if it’s possible to not do it at least a little bit on a subconscious level.

We all have to make choices every day that pertain to our diets, our health, our work, our lifestyles.  These choices depend on our individual needs, body composition, constraints on our money and time, and any other number of things.  There is no one perfect model or perfect solution.   What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Another blogger isn’t “better” or “worse” than you because he or she uses Daiya in recipes, or doesn’t.  Another blogger isn’t necessarily “healthier” than you because he or she drinks a green smoothie for breakfast every. single. day.  We all should do what works for us as individuals.

It’s also important to keep in mind that what you see on someone’s blog or website is only what they choose to share publicly, and represents a very small portion of who they are.  Just because someone chooses to do, say, a themed week of salads on their blog doesn’t mean that they only eat salads and are somehow more “virtuous” than you.  I mean, maybe they do/are.  Or maybe they’re just picking a theme and sharing some nice recipes.  Either way, it’s not a contest of who is “better” or “healthier.”

I think we need to let go of food guilt and food judgment once and for all.  I don’t exactly have a solution for how to do this, as I’m clearly still working through it myself.  But I’m certainly ready to confront it, and I welcome the dialogue.

Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far!  As always I would be interested to read any of your thoughts in the comments section.

It’s Cold, and I Want Curry

Um.

Really, I’m not even going to complain about how cold it is.  But I do just have a few remarks/casual observations.

1) On my walk to the train this morning (which takes all of 15 minutes), the part of my scarf under my chin literally had effing ice crystals on it from where my breath froze onto it as I exhaled.
2) The heat was not on inside the train.  #MBTAfail #unsurprising
3) I wore a dress to work today, and in the process I was forcefully reminded that tights, no matter how cute they are, do not protect against 1° climes.  Ski pants would have been more appropriate, though possibly frowned upon.

I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside, all I want is spicy-hot food.  A good curry always does the trick.  And thank goodness for that, because as luck would have it, I have this beacon of all that is right and warm with the world awaiting me for lunch today:
Curry 015Black Eyed Pea Curry with Collards & Potatoes, from the Post Punk Kitchen (click for recipe)

As promised, on Tuesday night I managed to haul my sorry ass up from the pits of my post-AFC Championship despair and cook some dinner.  It was this dinner.  And it was good.  So, so, SO good.  Spicy, saucy, filling goodness that will help you thaw out no matter what it’s like outside.

I made this curry extra-hot by using a green chili pepper that I bought at the Indian grocer in place of the two jalapenos the recipe calls for.  When I was checking out, the cashier studied me for a moment before stating, “This pepper is very hot,” and I was all, “Yahtzee,” and seriously, the chili was like less than half the size of my pinky finger but good gracious did it pack a punch.  Curry 014Like all good curry/stew/soup recipes, this one makes leftovers for days!  One thing to note about leftovers is that after the curry has had some time to sit, it seems to want a bit more salt.  I attribute this to the potatoes soaking up additional flavor but what do I really know.  Just something to be aware of.

H also loved this curry, telling me that I can add it to the list of vegan dishes he’ll always eat.  At this point, I’ve discovered that this list of his is mainly populated by curries.   Other favorites include this Coconut Red Lentil Curry from VegNews and the Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon (our all-time fave).  [I believe you can find the recipe online, but I will not post a link because the author has not chosen to publish it for free on the web.]

So now I’ve been thinking a lot about curry (because, after all, all I do all day is think about food).  There are so many different types!  There are Thai-style curries with their signature coconut milk base, hints of tamarind or lemongrass, and added flavor of different colors of chili (red, green, yellow, etc.).  And of course Indian curries, flavored with that incredible yellow spice mixture, whose possibilities to me are limitless in terms of what you can add in.

The recipe shown above is a great example, because any of the ingredients can be substituted with something else; kale for collards, chickpeas for black eyed peas, etc.  I bet cauliflower would be incredible in this as well, either as an addition or a substitution for the potato.

As such, I think this recipe, as well as the general food group that is curry, provide a great example of how incredibly flavorful and versatile plant-based cooking can be.  It warms both my heart and my tummy 🙂

Stay warm out there friends!

Moving On

Well, it’s Tuesday morning.  The Patriots’ season is over and it’s time to move on.  Go ‘Hawks, I guess.

I know, I know, it’s just football and it’s entertainment and not a real life problem.


“I just want to tell you that some people have war in their countries.” 

But yesterday I spent my day off from work basically in mourning.  Normally I would be so excited to have an entire day available to spend in the kitchen making yummy stuff.  Instead, I made exactly one thing and I did so only in the interest of stuffing my face with sweets.

Rice Krispie treats 003

Rice Krispie treats!  I got this ultra-simple and delightful recipe from Becky of Glue and Glitter.  The coconut oil totally elevates it.  Try this; you won’t regret it.

With that, here is the complete, unabridged list of what I accomplished yesterday:

1) Made coffee.
2) Turned the knob of the dishwasher to “on” (probably the most useful thing I did actually)
3) Melted some stuff in a pan and called it “cooking” (seriously though it’s a fab recipe and I recommend it) 🙂
4) Ate a whole bag of baked Tostitos scoops.  Also almost an entire jar of salsa, plus my lazy bastardized version of guacamole where I take an avocado and mash it with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
5) Watched five movies.  Actually almost six, but one of the free movies On Demand that I started was too scary and also stupid to continue.

And no, I never got dressed.

But like I said, today I am moving on!  Step one:Rice Krispie treats 006This one was a real winner: 1 cup water, 1 frozen banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, and 2 collard leaves, plus 1 cube of coconut water that I had frozen in an ice tray.  I cribbed that brilliant idea from Kathy of Happy Healthy Life.

Step two: tonight I actually will make dinner for myself and my dear, sweet, loving, patient husband.  I’ve got this Black Eyed Pea Curry with Collards and Potatoes from the PPK on my mind.

See you next season ❤Rice Krispie treats 001Yes, I do have a calendar of “Football All-Stars” that you color yourself.  This was a Christmas gift from my sister, whose ingenuity in gift-giving knows no limits.

Try This: Banana Breakfast “Burrito”

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Easy as 1-2-3, for those mornings when you can’t possibly handle more than that.  

1) Cut the banana and your wrapper of choice (I used a brown rice wrap from TJ’s but any kind will do) in half.

2) Spread peanut butter (or any other kind of nut/seed butter) and jelly across the wrap and place the banana in the lower half of the wrap.

3) Roll it up and go!

Tip: for more texture, use chunky peanut butter, or add a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top of the peanut butter.

This seriously travels so well and has become my go-to for a healthy, filling breakfast on the fly.

This post is part of a new series on the blog called Try This, providing new or interesting ways to prepare and enjoy a staple vegan food.  They’re not really recipes, just fun ideas!  Other posts in the series:
Try This: Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Try This: Tofu Bacon

Have a great weekend!  

Oh and GO PATS!!!

Easiest Lentil Soup and Quick Homemade Croutons

It’s still January.  It’s still cold and gross outside.  So I’m still eating soup every single day.

Sometimes I’m lazy though and all I can muster the energy to make is this lentil soup, which is in all seriousness one of the easiest recipes anywhere.  And, because I almost always have the key ingredients (dried lentils, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and vegetable broth [or bouillon cubes in a pinch]) in my kitchen already, I am also saved a trip out into the ick for any groceries.

Lentil Soup 004

Easiest Lentil Soup
Yield: 6-8 servings
Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free (just check your broth!)

Ingredients
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dried brown or green lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Couple dashes cayenne (optional)

[Ingredients note:  I included the cumin, thyme, turmeric, and cayenne because that is how I make the soup, but if you don’t have one or any of them, I just want you to know it’s okay! You can get away with using only salt and pepper as the seasoning for this soup, and it will still be delicious. ]

Directions
Line the bottom of a large stockpot with water and begin to warm it over medium-high heat.  When the water begins to steam slightly, add garlic and onions and saute until onions soften, about 5 minutes.

Add carrots and celery and saute another 2-3 minutes, until softened.  (If anything is sticking, add a few splashes of water or broth to unstick it.)

Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, stir, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for as long as it takes your lentils to cook.  This can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.  You will know they’re done when the lentils are very tender (but not mushy!) and much of the liquid has been absorbed.

Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Serve as is, with a side of crusty bread, or with Quick Homemade Croutons.

Meal Plan 001
To Make: Take two slices of whole wheat (or gluten-free!) sandwich bread (preferably sort of stale, but this is not strictly necessary), brush each side lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and dried oregano, and toast in a toaster or 350 degree oven until crispy and browned.  Cut into squares and use to garnish soup or salads.

This recipe for lentil soup has been given an enthusiastic omnivore seal of approval by H!  He loves to take leftovers with him to have for lunch at work.

What is your go-to soup recipe?