use your noodle.

IMG_1856.JPGPeanut noodles are a crowd pleasing, easy meal to have up your sleeve.  Plus, they look so pretty and impressive.  You can really make this with any noodles you fancy: udon, soba, julienned/spiralized carrot, cucumber or zucchini, even spaghetti.  I made this with bucatini I found in bulk at Rainbow Grocery and it was great!  Feel free to adjust as needed- sub almond butter, add tofu to make it more substantial, add crushed peanuts, lime, thinly sliced jalapeños, cabbage etc.  Make it your own!

peanut noodz (loosely based on this recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup creamy PB

1/4 cup tamari

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 inch or bigger chunk of ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup sesame oil (can sub water or use 2T mirin +2T water for oil free)

 

8 oz noodles, I used bucatini

5 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal

2 teaspoons korean chili flakes (or sliced fresh chiles, sriracha, other spicy thing)

METHOD:

Start a pot of water boiling for your noodles.

Meanwhile, add the PB, tamari, vinegar, agave, garlic, and ginger to a food processor.  Blend till smooth, then with machine running, drizzle in the oil to emulsify it.

Boil your noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water.  Toss sauce with noodles and then add in all your other ingredients.

Done!  This recipe holds up well in the fridge for a lunch the next day too, or make a double batch of sauce and keep the extra in the fridge for a quick dressing, dip, or drizzle.

 

 

 

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lentil bolognese

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This lentil bolognese turned out so flavorful!  I had some lentils lounging in the fridge that needed to be used, so as usual, I planned my meal around them.  I always like to cook a legume on the weekend to have in the fridge to build meals easily- lentils go so well in grain salads, green salads, soups and more.  They are perfect little gems: gorgeous, easy to digest and packed with protein and iron.  Plus they have a nice hearty texture and can hold their own in this sauce.  Crimini mushrooms and tamari add a little umami, and plenty of aromatics make everything pop.  YUMMM let’s get to it.

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lentil bolognese (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil for sautéing

1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

1/4 cup minced carrot

1/4 cup minced celery

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

4 cloves chopped garlic

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

3 cups tomatoes- you can use chopped fresh or canned

1 tablespoon tamari

1.5 cups cooked lentils- I used French green; you can use any EXCEPT red lentils which will turn to mush

1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley + more for garnishing

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven.  Add in the shallot, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened- about 7 minutes.  Add in the garlic, dried herbs, and chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add in tomatoes and tamari, stir, and simmer 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened.  At this point I pureed half of it before returning it to the pot; my kids prefer a smoother sauce.  You can do that too or leave as is; up to you!  Add in the lentils and basil and let cook minute or two to heat through.  Toss with pasta or zoodles or spaghetti squash, plate, and sprinkle with more chopped herbs and a generous sprinkle of my crumbly vegan parm .  Yum!  Keeps well in the fridge too.  Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did!  If you make it, I’d love to see!  Tag me on instagram @mamaeatsplants .  Have a lovely weekend friends! xx A.

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squash your dinner plans.

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Tonight I checked the fridge and saw that one of my cilantro bunches was on its last legs. So I decided to make a dinner around it to use it all up, so it wouldn’t go to waste.  I decided on a cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto I used to make years ago with salmon.  Original recipe here .  Immediately I thought of roasting squash to complement it- the sweetness contrasts the herby brightness of the pesto.  So I made it, threw some chickpeas in the oven at the same time as the squash, and had a mostly hands off, easy dinner perfect for fall.  Here are the recipes:

Roasted squash with cilantro pesto and crispy chickpeas (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

2 small acorn squash

1 delicata squash

2 small sweet potatoes

oil for roasting if desired

——

3 cups or so chickpeas (I’d guess 2 cans worth if you’re using canned)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

——-

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, both leaves and stems

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lime, juiced

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 clove garlic, peeled

optional: avocado and sliced chile to serve

Preheat the oven to 425.  Slice up your squash into wedges about 1/2 inch thick and toss with oil if using, salt, and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and pop in the oven.  Place chickpeas on a clean dish towel and pat dry.  Dump them onto a separate baking sheet and toss with oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Pop those into the oven as well.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until crispy, then pull the chickpeas out of the oven (keep the squash in).  Meanwhile, pull out your food processor and put in: cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and coriander seeds.  Pulse until it looks like pesto texture.  Taste and adjust for seasoning as necessary.  By this time your squash should be done- tender and browned.

Plate the squash first, then chickpeas, then drizzle the pesto on top.  Garnish with avocado and chiles.  Coconut yogurt would make a nice addition here too!  Enjoy xx

crumbly vegan parm

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Sometimes you just need a hit of salty, umami flavor to finish a dish.  This crumbly, nutty vegan parmesan is just that + it’s made from healthy ingredients.  It’s super easy to whip up and lasts indefinitely in the fridge.  The perfect garnish for pizza, pasta, soups, roasted veggies and more.  Mix it into vegan burgers/meatballs, sprinkle it over avocado toast, garnish a simple arugula salad with it.  Pull out your food processor and let’s go!

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds or pine nuts

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon kosher salt**

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion flakes or 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

optional: 1/4 teaspoon of porcini or shiitake mushroom powder (adds umami but perfect without it too)

** this makes it pretty salty- just like a real parmesan is very salty. This is meant as a garnish and not eaten on its own.  You can start with less salt and add more as you see fit if you are sensitive to sodium.

METHOD:

Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture looks fine but still crumbly, as shown in the below photo.  DON’T over-process or leave the processor running because the nuts will turn into butter if you do.  That’s it!  Store in a jar in the fridge.

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loaded carrot soup

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The other night I came home from work starving and exhausted.  I guess this is where normal people order takeout, but I don’t think I’ve done that in years.  Too much work, plastic, money, and I can cook something way better at home.  Not to put down anyone who does get takeout, it’s just not my style.  Cooking things myself is self-love, a way I give love to my family, and a creative outlet.

Surveying the fridge, I saw a jar of carrot soup that I’d pulled out from the freezer that morning, and decided to make my meal around that.  The result was so easy and delicious that I made it for dinner the next night, too.  Here’s the recipe.

loaded carrot soup (serves two very hungry people)

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of roasted carrot soup – this recipe is so simple and tastes amazing.  I double or triple cook it and then freeze in mason jars.

1 cup of quinoa

2 small or 1 large zucchini (other green veggies would work well here, too- like brussels or broccoli)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons seeds- like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower or a mix

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

any other toppings you’d like- fresh herbs, chili flakes, green onions, flaky sea salt, cherry tomatoes, dollop of coco yogurt, the options are endless.

METHOD

Place quinoa in a small pot with 1.5 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour the soup into a small pot to heat.

Chop up zucchini and heat oil in a skillet.  Add in zucchini and a sprinkle of salt and let sear without stirring for a minute or two on high.  Stir and let cook another minute or two until tender.  With broccoli or brussels, cover the pan at this time to let it steam a bit.  Pull off the heat, add in the garlic, and stir quickly to incorporate, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Toast the seeds in a dry pan until popping and toasty, about 2 minutes over med-high.

Divide soup between bowls and dollop the quinoa (you may not use it all) in a pile towards the side so it doesn’t disperse all the way into the soup.  Add the zucchini.  Add the avocado, seeds, and any other toppings and serve!

*also, the first picture is from when I made it the second night and wasn’t rushing.  This picture below is from the first night and arguably is even prettier.  REAL fast food.

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Easy superfood dark chocolate bark. (5 minutes!)

chocolate bark vegan pomegranate superfood

I have been making a batch of this chocolate bark every week and keeping it in the fridge, enjoying a few pieces each night as an after dinner treat.  Silky and rich, with tons of different flavor nuances just like a good wine.  With lots of polyphenols and antioxidants, dark chocolate is a healthy treat.  Just make sure you’re eating 70% or higher cacao content to ensure that you’re reaping all the healthy benefits chocolate has to offer.  Cacao has a specific antioxidant, epicatechin, that lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.  Some researchers even consider epicatechin an essential vitamin.  It reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and elevates nitric oxide in the blood ( this is what Viagra does- no wonder chocolate is considered a love food) .

This bark is infinitely customizable and only takes about 5 minutes to put together. The one I made today was sesame seed (gives a savory quality to it, almost like chocolate covered pretzels), coconut flake, hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, flaky sea salt, and almonds.  Almonds are my favorite nut to use because they give the biggest crunch payoff.  Get a pretty tin to put it in and it makes a wonderful last minute gift, too.

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Superfood Dark Chocolate Bark.

8 ounces or so (2-3 bars) dark chocolate, preferably 70% or above and organic (I prefer Scharffenbergers (not organic but no-gmo soy lecithin) or Green&Blacks)

Any or all of these healthy toppings:

hemp seeds

coconut flakes (toasted or not)

sesame seeds

almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or cashews

pomegranate arils, freeze dried raspberries or strawberries, dried cherries, goji berries, etc.

flaky sea salt (like Maldon)

Rig a double boiler: fill up a large saucepan halfway with water, then place a heatproof mixing bowl over the pot.  Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  Start the water boiling and chop up your chocolate.  It doesnt have to be super tiny pieces, just a rough chop will do fine.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (aka the best invention ever) or parchment paper.  Now put all your chocolate in the bowl of your double boiler.  Stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly melted.  Pour your chocolate onto your lined pan.  Spread the chocolate out with your spatula until it is the thickness you desire.  I like it thin so I spread it out a lot.  Sprinkle all your desired toppings over.  Pop in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up.  Peel the chocolate carefully off of the silpat/parchment and break into coarse pieces.  Store in the fridge or freezer for a snappier chocolate, or keep at room temperature (no hotter!) in an airtight container.  If you give it as a gift it would be a good idea to seperate the pieces with parchment paper so they dont stick together.

My personal favorite: Scharffenberger 70% cacao.  Their 85% is AMAZING too.  Rich, nuanced chocolatey flavor with NO acrid/bitter flavors that I taste in many dark chocalates from other brands.  Green & Blacks is my second choice, organic, and more widely available.

scharffenberger bittersweet

Enjoy!

Love,

A.

Creamy berry-almond breakfast smoothie.

berry almond butter smoothie

I have been loving this smoothie for breakfast lately!  I love oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast, but sometimes I just want something sweet and creamy.

This smoothie takes 2 minutes to make in the morning (no cutting fruit or anything!) so its ideal for when you’re in a rush but want something good for you too.  It has tons of healthy, filling fats from the almond butter and antioxidants from the berries.

I equally love this smoothie made with a frozen banana instead of the berries.  It is seriously like a milkshake this way- the banana makes it super creamy and sweet.

The hint of almond extract in this is so delicious.  It elevates the other ingredients and makes a basic smoothie a little more fancy.  If you’re not a fan of almond flavor (like my husband), try vanilla extract instead.

Almond breakfast smoothie. (serves 1)

1c unsweetened almond milk

1/2 c frozen berries OR 1 large-ish frozen banana

1 heaping tablespoon almond butter

5 drops stevia OR sweetener of your choice

1/8t almond extract OR 1/2t vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Much Love,

A.

P.s. Kids are into it too 😉

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Simple kale fried rice.

kale fried rice

I love kale.  Its probably my favorite winter green.  Something about it is very comforting, very grounding.  I have a hard time digesting it raw, so I usually cook it lightly and it tastes so delicious.  My kids, on the other hand, will only really eat greens in smoothie form and mild spinach is their favorite.  Im not complaining- my kids are very adventurous eaters- but I would like to get a little variety in them now and then.  Its so beneficial to rotate your greens to avoid a buildup of anti-nutrients and to get a wide variety of nutrients.  Kale is something I grow every fall/winter and it is forgiving of a black thumb!  You can even grow it in a pot.  Also, kale is an amazing, inexpensive nutritional powerhouse that has a pretty mild taste when cooked- unlike, ahem- swiss chard, my most hated green.

This very simple, loose “recipe” is so delicious and will easily adapt to whatever you have around.  This is the only way I can get the kids and husband to eat kale.  Try it at your house and see how it goes over!

kale fried rice.

1 large head of kale, stems removed (I prefer smooth dinosaur kale but use whatever type you like)

leftover brown rice (crucial- freshly cooked rice will NOT be the same)

2 cloves garlic, minced (mince and let sit for 10 minutes to increase allicin, a protective compound in garlic)

1/4c minced onion or shallot

3T coconut oil

2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos– adjust amount to your liking.  I probably used about 1/8c.

Sesame oil, a tablespoon or two

Sesame seeds, for sprinkling on top

Optional add ins: minced carrot, edamame, frozen peas, chopped green beans, minced broccoli, beans sprouts, cilantro- whatever veggies you/your kids love!  Just make sure any veggies are chopped small so that they will cook in time.

First, chiffonade your kale- the thinner the better.  The best way to do this is to stack all the leaves on top of one another, loosely roll them up, and slice very thinly across.

Heat up the coconut oil over medium heat, add the onions or shallots, saute for a few minutes until they are translucent, and then add the garlic.  Stir and saute for about 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant- take care not to burn/brown it or it will be bitter.

Add in the cold brown rice and stir it all up.  Turn up the heat to medium high and let cook without stirring for about 3 minutes.  You want the rice to crisp up a bit but not burn.  Stir the rice, then pile the kale (and any optional veggies youre adding) on top and let cook for another 3 minutes without stirring.  Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions and stir well.  Let cook, stirring every minute until the kale/veggies are softened to your liking (I did about 2 minutes but feel free to cook more)  Let cool slightly, spoon into bowls, and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: This keeps and reheats very well so feel free to make a large batch for the week!

*A quick note:  I have a seemingly endless line of things demanding my attention in this current time of my life.  However, I love the blog and will continue to update it as much as possible.  I am shooting for once a week posts on Monday night, maybe more.  I have a few posts I want to do about natural healing and remedies I have been experimenting with.  Please bear with me as I adjust.  Thank you for reading!  I appreciate all of you.

Much Love,

A.

kale

Asparagus with an orange-almond pan sauce.

asparagus orange almond thyme roasted

I dont know about you guys, but I LOVE asparagus.  Locally grown asparagus has a short season around here, so when its available I like to eat it all the time.  Its a great source of Vitamin K, B vitamins, and folate AND its on the clean 15 for pesticide residue.  The way I normally always eat it is oven roasted because its fast and easy and requires minimal cleanup.  But tonight I was craving something a little fancier.  Thumbing through my Cooks Illustrated (did I mention this is the best standard cookbook ever?) I found this little gem: a quick orange-almond pan sauce for steamed asparagus.  Uh, yes please?  This came out so delicious: a little citrusy, a little sweet, and a nice textural crunch. It looked beautiful too- would be great for a dinner party side.

orange almond thyme asparagus cooks illustrated

Pan steamed asparagus with an orange-almond sauce: (serves 4)

You will need:

2.5T olive oil

1/4c sliced almonds

1/2 cup orange juice

zest of one small orange

1T white wine

2t minced fresh thyme

2T minced shallot

1t white vinegar

2 bunches asparagus

salt and pepper, to taste

Drizzle 1T olive oil in a large skillet and heat until oil is shimmering.  Add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add orange juice, wine, and 1t thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 2T minced shallot and 1t white vinegar.  Spoon sauce into a bowl and set aside.  Rinse skillet and wipe dry.  Add 1.5T olive oil to skillet and heat until oil is shimmering.  Add half of asparagus to pan and then add the other half, pointing the second halfs spears the opposite way.  This allows the asparagus to cook more evenly.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove lid and plate the asparagus.  Spoon the sauce over the asparagus and zest the orange over it.  Sprinkle the rest of the chopped thyme and serve!

 

Also, my basic everyday recipe for asparagus is below if you’re interested:

Oven-Roasted Asparagus:

Preheat oven to  400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and place washed and trimmed asparagus spears on top.  Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to evenly distribute the oil onto each spear.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, pop in oven and roast for 6-15 minutes, depending on how thick your spears are and how well done you like your asparagus.  Keep checking it and take it out when its to your liking.  I like to squeeze a little lemon on top after its cooked.  Also I sometimes throw a few whole green onions in with the asparagus while it cooks.  They come out a little charred and have a lot of deep flavor.  Cut them all up and toss with some wheat berries or brown rice, avocado, and herbs = a super quick and tasty lunch.

roasted oven asparagus green onion

lemon-lime chia A G U A F R E S C A

chia seed limeade agua fresca natural gatorade

Its been a rough couple of weeks over here, hence the lack of posts.  Storms, eye infections, sprained toes and general want-to-pull-your-hair-out mayhem that comes with having two small children.  This week has been mostly sunny and fairly warm (up to 77 one day!!) and all the fruit trees are budding out.  It seems that spring has come, albeit early.

The warm weather has got me craving a some cool drinks and I have been making a staple of mine- chia limeade.  Chia has so many health benefits (calcium, fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants) and is great to fill you up a little in between meals.  I drink it a lot at work between food breaks.  This drink is easy to make and keeps well in the fridge for a few days.  It is fabulous to take on a hike or run or to drink during/after a workout as it has fiber, water, simple carbs and electrolytes (a great replacement for the artificial gatorade people at the gym like to chug)

chia seed limeade organic natural sugar free gatorade

chia limeade (makes 2 servings, 16 ounces total)Juice of 1 lime + 1 lemon

3 soft medjool dates OR maple syrup to taste, or even splenda to make it sugar-free

2 cups of pure water

pinch of salt, or to taste (optional, this is for electrolyte value if using as a workout recovery drink)

2.5 T chia seeds

1. IF USING DATES, soak them in the water for 5 minutes.  Then pour the dates and the water, plus the citrus juice and salt into a blender and blend thoroughly until smooth.  If you are very picky about texture you may want to strain the resulting mixture.  If your blender is good it should be totally smooth though.  Pour mixture into a mason jar.  IF USING MAPLE SYRUP, simply mix it with the water, juice and salt in a mason jar.

2.  Add the chia seeds to your jar, screw the top on TIGHTLY and shake shake shake shake!  This is crucial to not getting any lumps.  Let it sit for a minute and then shake vigorously again.  Place in the fridge and leave it for at least 30 minutes so the chia seeds can hydrate.

3. ENJOY!  Shake thoroughly before you drink it.  Since it is totally natural the contents will settle to the bottom.

To switch up the flavors:

berry:  blend a handful of berries with the liquid before adding chia.

melon: blend a few chunks of melon with the liquid before adding chia.

coconut: use coco water instead of plain water

hibiscus: brew hibiscus tea, let cool and use instead of water (this makes a lovely pink red color and is full of anti-oxidants, you may be familiar with hibiscus through Starbuck’s ubiquitous passion tea.)

tamarind: add a teaspoon or two of tamarind paste to the liquid and mix thoroughly before adding chia.

Much love,

A.