Next-Level Portobello and Eggplant Stacks

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Weather forecast: It will be one billion degrees, and wicked humid.

Me: Yessss! Let’s roast vegetables and boil water for pasta, so my kitchen can be one billion and one degrees.

Sometimes when you don’t have a grill because you live in the city, you have to take one for the team (that would be all of you guys on Team Booyah) to create something extra fabulous to go with your leftover pesto. Yesterday, I said a prayer as I turned my oven on to pre-heat at 500Β°F, because it was already 93Β°F in my kitchen. I knew I had to create something beyond stellar to make it worth standing in that furnace for an hour. Guess what? I did it! I think I also lost 10 pounds in water weight in the process, no biggie.

I wanted to think of a way to showcase the stunning heirloom tomatoes I picked up at the farmer’s market, and somehow combine them with the last little bit of pesto I had, without distracting from the fresh tomato flavor. The answer I landed on seemed simple: combine the fresh tomato and pesto with grilled portobello mushroom caps and grilled eggplant! YES! Except…I don’t have a grill.

The easy way to do this would be to grill the portobellos and eggplant, but since that wasn’t an option, I roasted mine instead. (I recommend you grill yours).

Next Level Portobello & Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients:

  • 4 portabello mushroom caps, destemmed
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • Leftover Ang’s Basil Pesto
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Step One: Fire up your grill or pre-heat oven to 500Β°F. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both the portabellas and the eggplant with olive oil on both sides.

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Step Two: Grill or roast your veggies. Eggplant will take about 20 -25 minutes, and portobellos will take 5 – 8 minutes.

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Step Three: Create your stack! Stack portobellos, eggplant, and tomato. Drizzle with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar, if desired. Sprinkle a bit of freshly ground pepper and sea salt over stack. Top with a small dab of pesto.

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Step Four: Serve as is, or add a stack right on top of a bowl of pasta and pesto. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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I served my Portobello and Eggplant stacks with leftover Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and kamut wheat fusilli, and I made a second batch of Spicy Tempeh. I also sprinkled a little bit of Vegan Parmesan Cheeze on top for good measure. It was absolutely delicious. Because of how beautiful and impressive the stacks looked, these would be perfect as apps for a dinner party or dining al fresco with your boo. Lots of bang for your buck here: you’ll be able to pick up fresh tomatoes and eggplant at your local farmer’s market. Both eggplant and tomatoes will still be in season from now until about October (in New England), so keep that in mind if you’re grill-less like me and are relegated to roasting the veggies. The leftover pesto adds just enough flavor impact to this dish, while still allowing the in-season tomato and eggplant to shine. YUM!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Buon appetito! πŸ˜€

With warmth (but not like, 93Β°F and humid – that’s just too much),

L

Ridiculously Easy Spicy Tempeh

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Spicy Tempeh served over Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Zood-Noods.

I made this super delicious and super easy Spicy Tempeh recipe to go with my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and boy was it GOOD. I knew I wanted something quick – a no-brainer recipe that I could toss together quickly and then turn my focus onto tackling the mound of basil I had purchased and turning it into pesto. This dish was SO freakin’ flavorful, I am definitely adding it into my meal rotation permanently. I’ve previously touted all of the great things about tempeh, but if you want a refresher, check out my Mexican Quinoa and Tempeh Salad post where I sing its praises. This recipe has a long list of ingredients – but fear not, most of them are dried herb/spices and pantry staples. If you’re not as much of a spice lover as I am, you can adjust the seasoning to taste, and swap out the cayenne pepper for a milder chili powder. You can also switch out the Sriracha for a milder hot sauce, or simply use extra mustard in its place. Likewise, if you don’t have fresh lemons, you can use apple cider vinegar (or your favorite vinegar). It’s all up to you and what you like; I feel that this recipe has a lot of room to play around and adjust the flavor to your personal tastes and preferences. However, if you like spicy food as much as I do, you’re going to LOVE the originial recipe I’ve created and shared below. πŸ˜€

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Booyah Tip: I like to whisk my marinades in a Pyrex glass 2 cup measuring cup. Why? Well, my mom always did it, and it makes it super easy to pour over whatever you’re marinating (and measuring, if you’re making a lot).

Spicy Tempeh

Ingredients

  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp low-sodium Tarmari
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • coconut oil, for frying

Directions

Step One: Whisk together all ingredients minus the tempeh in a small bowl. Add the diced tempeh to a shallow plastic container or ziploc baggie, and pour the marinade over the tempeh. Shake or stir so that the tempeh is fully coated on all sides. Set aside for 30 minutes, or place in the fridge overnight.
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Pour the marinade over the tempeh.

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I simply sealed the top of my plastic container and gave it a good shake to evenly distribute the marinade over all of the diced tempeh.

Step Two: Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the marinaded tempeh to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it is browned.
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Make sure those edges get nice and crisp. πŸ™‚

Step Three: Serve over pasta or enjoy straight out of the pan. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

I cannot tell you how easy this was. It took only about 10 – 15 minutes to whisk together the marinade, pour over the tempeh, shake, (then it sits around and chills for 30+ minutes), and it takes only 5 minutes to saute it in the skillet. AH-MAZ-ING. I think I ate about half of it directly out of the skillet because it was so tasty. And you would not believe how flavorful it was after only marinading for 30 minutes! That’s just ridic – how easy it was. Maybe I should call it No Excuses Tempeh, because there is literally no reason why you can’t have a delicious, flavorful, filling and nutritious meal with minimal prep time. As I said above, I served this over my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and (even though the mixture of flavors, pesto + spicy did not seem intuitive) it was BEYOND. The creaminess of the pesto was really balanced by the spicy tempeh, and the boldness of both flavors together was stellar. Best of all, it added a ton of protein to the pesto and zood-nood dish I made. Noms all around.

I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as I did. And seriously – this would be a rad dish for tempeh non-believers because it is just that freakin’ noms-y. Yum!

Happy Thursday, everyone! YAY almost Friday! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

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Good morning all! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Passover/weekend. In the spirit of spring FINALLY arriving, I whipped up this delicious vegan dish before my week-long hiatus (I traveled to DC for my race, then Maryland for work but I’m baaaack!). Operation Fridge Clean Out was in full effect and I had three zucchinis, an avocado and a lemon that still needed to be consumed (in addition to a mango, a couple kiwis, bananas – let’s just say that I had a very large fruit salad for dessert that night). This dish was inspired by the OG/Goddess of all Vegan Blogs Oh She Glows 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. I added my own B & B spin by incorporating a few additional ingredients and tossing it with hot zoodles – it was AMAZING. Let me just say, if you do not have a Veggetti – YOU NEED ONE PRONTO. I was a little intimidated at first, and made my veggie noodles by hand up until this point, but the Veggetti is the easiest thing EVER – you literally shove a zucchini in there and twist – voila! Zoodles. BAM. You need one. They aren’t even expensive ($10.99 on Amazon right now). If you aren’t convinced, you will be after reading this super easy/mega delicious recipe (literally takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish). You definitely need this in your recipe arsenal – it’s gluten free, vegan AND paleo to boot! YUM. The avocado sauce was out of this WORLD delicious, it tasted creamy and decadent, with the additions of lemon and garlic to balance the richness of the sauce. And since you toss the sauce with zoodles (clocking in at about 60 calories per serving), this dish is refreshing and skinny jean approved, but still filling and SUPER flavorful. So. Damn. Good. Without further ado:

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Everything you need for Creamy Avocado Zoodles: zucchini, garlic, olive oil, lemon, avocado and parsley.

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (plus more to taste or thin the sauce consistency if desired)
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 handful of parsley, stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (~1 Tbsp, if I had to guess)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Prep! Start a pot of water to boil. Pit your avocado. Wash your parsley and pat dry. Tear off a handful of leaves and remove the stems (doesn’t need to be perfect – do the best you can).
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I thought it was important to note that I was wearing my Zubaz pants while making this delicious creation. Even in the off-season, I still support my team. Go Bills!

Step Two: Make the sauce. In a food processor, blend together the avocado, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, oil and salt and pepper until a creamy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Set aside.
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Avocado sauce before blending…

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…and after blending.

Step Three: Prepare your zoodles! I utilized my super handy Veggetti for this (woo woo!). I left mine whole so they were easier to remove from the boiling water, but you can chop your bunch in half, so they are a little easier to manage.
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Watch out…she’s got a Veggetti and she’s not afraid to use it. πŸ˜‰

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So. freakin. EASY!

Step Four: Once your water is boiling, blanch your zoodles for 1 – 2 minutes (seriously – don’t leave that pot, or you will end up with mush and it ain’t pretty). Oh sidenote: you can also cook your zoodles in the microwave but I was really weirded out by that so I just blanched mine. Do what you want. πŸ˜€
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Warning: Do not leave zoodles unattended.

Step Five: Toss! Drain your zoodles well and toss them with the creamy avocado sauce. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!! πŸ˜€

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This was seriously so delicious. You will not regret trying the recipe. A few things to note: you can add/substitute basil for parsley a la Angela from OSG, but I didn’t have any so I just used what I had. Also, it’s pretty garlic-y, so if that’s not your scene, start off with one clove of garlic first and taste, then add the second one if necessary. You could add some sprinkles of red pepper flakes if you want to spice this up a few notches. Also, just like Angela’s original recipe did, you can use actual pasta instead of zoodles if you prefer, I just really liked the creaminess of the sauce with the freshness of the zoodles. This is going to be the perfect quick summer dish, I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Happy Monday, all. I hope you have a great week. πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

Vegan Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

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Fettuccine alla Puttanesca – literally, “fettuccine of the whores” in Italian. Rumor has it that the ladies of the night would whip up this dish with their windows wide open, with the spicy/tangy/garlic-y aroma of the sauce used to lure men into their establishment off the street. Another version says that the ladies of the night favored this dish because all ingredients were pantry storeable and a batch could be quickly whipped up in between appointments (how delightfully convenient!). Regardless, this classic Italian dish is one of my absolute faaaaves (and that’s coming from a half-Italian chick who cannot talk without using her hands and likes pasta a lot). Fettuccine alla Puttanesca combines pasta tossed in a delicious sauce of tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers and red pepper flakes (yum!). Traditionally, it also includes the use of anchovy paste, but since your girl don’t roll like that, I amped up the flavor instead by using fresh parsley and lemon, and added my own vegan friendly twist: roasted cauliflower, which adds an earthy, nutty flavor. Not only is this dish astoundingly delish, but it’s easy (heh πŸ˜‰ ), quick and you can pull it all together with just a few pantry items. I added a little bit of extra fiber and protein by swapping regular pasta with whole wheat fettuccine with milled flax seeds (which I found in the pasta aisle of my grocery store). If you really want to go for it, add a can of chickpeas/diced tempeh or swap the cauliflower for a roasted vegetable of your choice – I’m hard pressed to think of something that wouldn’t taste phenomenal in a puttanesca sauce. It’s full of flavor and bold, and incredibly satisfying; perfect for a crowd. Now that you know how good it is, let’s get slutty! (Sorry, Mom).

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Everything you need for Fettuccine alla Puttanesca: cauliflower, kalamata olives, garlic, capers, olive oil, fettuccine, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon (those eggplants got prepped for roasting but never made it into the oven because L had to bounce and get a gel manicure).

Vegan Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Ingredients

For the cauliflower:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fettuccine:

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile flakes, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounces (3/4 lb) of whole wheat fettuccine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, juices reserved
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

Step One: Preheat the oven to 400Β°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove top. While things are heating up, prep your cauliflower by quartering and coring it. Discard the core, and cut your cauliflower into 1/2-inch thick slices and place onto a lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, and then sprinkle with about two pinches of kosher salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Roast the cauliflower for about 20 minutes (flipping halfway through), or until tender and golden in spots.
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Cauliflower, ready for roasting! πŸ™‚

Step Two: Once the water has come to a boil, start the sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 1 – 2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant, stirring constantly.
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Do not burn the garlic! It will not taste as awesome if it’s a little crispy.

Step Three: Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, and cook until al dente (follow the instructions on the box, but make sure the pasta still has a little bit of chew left to it). Add the tomatoes (including juices), olives and capers to the skillet and crush the tomatoes by hand using a spoon or spatula. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, or the amount of time it takes the pasta to reach al dente.
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Tomatoes, olives and capers added to the skillet.

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Puttanesca sauce, ready to rumble (smells soooo good right about now! I would def creep into someone’s house off the street for this dish).

Step Four: Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and set aside before draining the pasta. Drain your fettuccine (no need to rinse), and then transfer to the skillet with the puttanesca sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce, along with the roasted cauliflower. Add just a splash of the starchy water to start (add more if a thinner sauce consistency is desired) and toss well to combine.
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Throw that steaming hot fettuccine right on there and toss it well to combine.

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Add the roasted cauliflower right into the skillet with the pasta.

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Once all ingredients are added, give it a taste and add any additional red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper to adjust the flavor to your taste.

Step Five: Remove the pasta puttanesca from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Top off with freshly chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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photo 5 (2)This dish truly speaks for itself. Last night I met R to get a mani/pedi before our respective weekend adventures (I’m heading to DC on Friday to hang out before my trail half marathon this Sunday), and I brought her a big ol’ Tupperware container of it to try out for dinner (seeing that every time I cook, I make enough for my imaginary Italian family of 8, I had plenty to spare, and really wanted to get her take on it – she’s one of my Omnivore Approvers). Her reaction: “SUCH GOOD PASTA!! It was so flavorful…didn’t even add parm ;).” See? Even the omnivores approve. This dish is pretty much the best/most delicious way ever to start carbo-loading for my half (5 days! Eeeeeeeeee!). And, seeing that it’s Spring Break and all, this is the perfect dish to whip up on the fly for your besties while vacationing somewhere warm and sunny (and you’ll still be able to rock that bikini the next day). Plus, the aroma will lure all the hotties your way. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ Count it! πŸ˜€

I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did. Happy Tuesday, all!!

With warmth,

L

xoxoxo

spring break

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

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L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Here’s what happens when you don’t really feel like using more than one pot, you’ve got some kale in your fridge that you don’t have any epic plans for (/it has been giving you the side eye), and an abundance of useful pantry items: you make this kale salad, worthy of even Beyonce’s adoration. It’s simple, filling, full of nutrients and also just a nice change up from the usual suspects in your dinnertime rotation (soups, chili, stewps – easy one pot liquid-based meals that we all depend on to nourish us through the winter). For whatever reason, yesterday as I was looking outside, it hit me how far away summer is. It’s February. That means it’s *almost* March, which is basically spring, and that means warmer temperatures and not wearing a protective cocoon of sweaters and huge puffy coats everyday. My feeling/internal woe of, “I want summer!” is a little too early in the season and must be dampened appropriately, or it’s going to feel like an eternity before the 5 feet of snow on the ground in Boston transform into the puddles you jump in, wearing your cute Hunter boots, on the way to play Frisbee in the Common. To satisfy my inner lament, I took a summer-y dish and winterized it through this easy food equation: raw kale salad + farro = YES. We’ve already dug into my love for all things farro in a previous post (which you can find here) so I won’t rehash my little farro love fest again. This kale salad however, is another story. It’s full of plant protein – combining edamame AND chickpeas to give you the one-two punch of veggie protein power, along with carrots for color and craisins for a little sweetness. Add this amazing lemon vinaigrette dressing I threw together on the fly last night, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome meal right there. The best part is that because kale is so hearty and cruciferous and stuff, it won’t wilt if you store this salad already dressed in the fridge (unlike those other lame lettuce-based salads that turn into a limp pile of sadness overnight). Um, can anyone say Make Ahead Meal Planning for the Week?? You may have just found the perfect mason jar salad to bring to work/school for lunch – simply divide the leftovers into large wide mouth mason jars, and store in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch (yessss, life just got so much easier). To round this meal out and add some more deliciousness/nutrients, farro is the perfect grain complement to heap on top. Without further ado:

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All the ingredients for L’s Kale and Farro salad: 1 bunch of kale, basil, farro, chickpeas, grated carrot, edamame, craisins, almond slices and mint.

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup of farro
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 bunch of kale, rinsed, destemmed, and chopped in salad-sized pieces
  • 1 handful (~a cup) of grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup of craisins
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1 15.5-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • half of a handful each of fresh mint and fresh basil, chopped
  • Sliced Almonds for topping
  • Whatever else you’re feeling

Dressing

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Italian herb blend (mine had oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: First, start the farro by adding the farro and water to a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for 30 minutes, and drain off any excess liquid when it’s done. Now for the raw salad part: after de-stemming your kale, rinse well. To dry the leaves, salad spin or pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.
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Make sure you give the kale a good rinse because it will be eaten raw in this recipe. πŸ™‚

Step Two: Combine the other salad ingredients: carrots, craisins, edamame, chickpeas. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the salad.
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All the salad ingredients ready to go! πŸ˜€

Step Three: Whip up your dressing! Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to emulsify. Side note: The best dressing technique is to add all your “water-based” ingredients and solids first (so, lemon juice, herbs, Dijon and garlic), and whisk those well. Then, add your olive oil slowly while whisking really fast in order to emulsify all the ingredients. Just throwing that out there, but feel free to use whatever technique you want. πŸ˜‰
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Use those muscles to give the dressing a good whisk.

Step Four: Toss to combine. All the beans will sink to the bottom of your bowl/serving platter so make sure you give this a quick toss each time before serving. You can add the cooled and cooked farro directly in the mix, but I didn’t have a bowl big enough (#smallkitchenprobz) so I kept them separate and just heaped my steaming-hot farro right on top, and it was pretty spectacular. Throw a few slivered almonds on top for some crunch if you’d like, too (I keep them separate because, unlike the kale, these will get soggy if stored dressed in the fridge).
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To toss, I used these kind of too-small tongs. I recommend you use actual salad servers (you know – the giant fork and spoon your grandma uses) to toss because then you can really get in there and mix it well, coating all of the ingredients evenly with the dressing (especially bc this dressing is amazing and you don’t want to miss distributing it all over this sal).

Step Five: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
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Kale Salad, completely naked. Looks good, eh? Well let me tell you – it is.

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Salad topped off with a few slivered almonds. Yum.

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Steaming-hot farro thrown right on top. I didn’t really think this through because the slivered almonds are hiding directly below the farro. But they are there – take my word for it.

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Here is my half-eaten plate from last night. It’s nice to heap as much or as little farro as you’d like on top of your salad, because you can kind of continue to toss and mix the two as you eat your dish. Amazinggggg! πŸ˜€

I highly recommend that you listen to the song Flower Sermon by Lotus as you make this salad, and dance around your kitchen like a total hippie at a music festival (I mean, that’s what I did). It’s important to listen to some great jams while you cook because: Life. Enjoy it. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

This salad packs a lot of great things in there, and is really low maintenance and easy to make. The bright pop of the lemon vinaigrette is a refreshing shift from most of the heavier, winter flavors I’ve been eating lately, and I’m really loving the change of pace. Plus, it reminds me that summer isn’t TOO far away. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold music festivals in my kitchen while I whip up some great, delicious meals. Everyone get out your flower headbands and flow-y tops (or if you’re a dude – uh…Rainbow sandals and old concert t’s??).

I hope you guys enjoy this baby as much as I did (and will continue to enjoy at lunch today – woohoo!). It’s a good one. πŸ˜€

Happy Thursday – we are almost there!! Let’s boogie down til we get to Friday. πŸ™‚

With warmth,

L ❀

PS: This.

beyonce kale

This is basically how I felt making this salad last night.

Keep It Simple: Roasted Eggplant and Brussels with Quinoa and Baked Tempeh

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Roasted Eggplant and Brussel Sprouts with Quinoa and Baked Tempeh

To be honest, I’m having a hard time finding cooking motivation/inspiration since I lost my grandfather. A lot of days since I’ve been back, after work all I’ve wanted to do is just curl up in a blanket cocoon and focus on anything else. It’s funny, because everyone treats you with kid gloves for a day or so and then everything goes back to normal (I actually appreciate not being asked how I’m doing, I’d rather just try to get along with my day). But those difficult moments don’t just disappear when people stop asking you how you are doing and look at you with concern in their eyes. They come and they go, and I think that’s pretty normal. Sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it’s okay. I try my best to roll with the punches and let myself feel the feels without it preventing me from focusing on the fact that my grandpa would not want me to be bumming out. He’d want me to enjoy my life (specifically – eat lots of food, dance, joke and smile). I’m not really sure why my inspiration is flagging, but I just don’t really want to create anything specific. My mind, when it comes to food, is blank. When I got back from Western New York, the only thing I could think to whip up (so I didn’t starve) was to roast some veggies and tempeh and throw it over a grain – at least I’d be getting everything I needed, nutritionally. I pulled inspiration from my Farro with Tempeh, Leeks and Roasted Brussel Sprouts I made a few weeks ago, and roasted eggplant and brussel sprouts (two of my all time fave veggies) tossed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. I threw the roasted veggies over cooked red quinoa, threw some baked tempeh in there (that I had marinated according to my Baked Tofu marinade/recipe) and topped it off with half an avocado. Voila. Dinner is served.

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Brussels, tossed in balsamic and EVOO, sprinkled with salt and pepper and ready to be roasted.

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Eggplant ready to be roasted. Angie’s Eggplant Tip: Slice the eggplant, lay it out in colander in the sink. Salt it, allow to drain for 20 – 30 minutes and then rinse the slices before marinading. You won’t need as much salt as you put on the brussels for the marinade, and it will help neutralize some of the bitter flavors in the eggplant. Yum.

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Brussels and eggplant after roasting. Yum, yum!

This dish isn’t even recipe card worthy (let’s not reinvent the wheel here, shall we?). πŸ™‚Β  Simply chop your veggies, toss them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper added by eye (I did this in a large bowl, just like in my Farro and Roasted Brussel Sprout recipe) and roast at 400Β°F for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until they are slightly browned. I cooked the quinoa according to the directions on the package, and baked the tempeh according to my L’s Best Baked Tofu recipe. Verdict? Food does not have to be complicated or take a long time to taste delicious. This was awesome, and I actually went back for seconds.

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This was leftover night! I had a broccoli salad recipe I made from Vegetarian Times (more on that soon), and (along with the eggplant/brussels) I simultaneously roasted butternut squash tossed in olive oil and Cataluna spice blend that I talk about in my Baked Sweet Potato and Spicy Black Beans and Corn recipe that I posted back in November. Also a great quick and easy recipe to try!

It’s great to roast a bunch of veggies and veggie protein (like tempeh or tofu) all at once because now I have a ton of delicious veggies and tempeh to top off my salads for lunch, or throw together into a dish for dinner, or just eat plain as sides (or directly out of the container while standing in front of the refrigerator, while “thinking” about what to eat for dinner). It’s great for when you are feeling uber low maintenance (as I am right now) and want something quick, easy and simple – but still nutritious and filling (and with enough nutrients that will power my intense early morning workouts). So, if you’re feeling uninspired like L right now, it’s okay to take a day off from making complicated, labor-intensive dishes and just keep it simple.

judge judy

Thank you Judge Judy, I will.

I hope you guys are all enjoying your Tuesday, and if you’re in Boston Metro – I hope that you shoveled your car out okay and didn’t get stuck! I only had to help one guy get his car unstuck yesterday – it was a record! πŸ˜€

Take care all. πŸ™‚

With warmth,

L

PS: Here I am, Captain of the Shovel Squad, doing a post shoveling victory dance during yesterday’s snow day. Woop woop! We got a bit of snow, eh?

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Green Citrus Smoothie

PicFrame

Good morning!! Happy Hump Day – we all made it halfway through the week! As some of you know, I will be traveling to Florida in only two days time and I couldn’t be more excited. Since I am obviously a mermaid (*hair flip*), you can understand why my return to the Gulf is so exciting. πŸ˜‰ This week (my first week of Veganuary!), I did something out of the ordinary – I bought oranges at the grocery store! Probably the only food that weirds me out (beyond the creepy mushrooms my sister sometimes buys) is PULP. I don’t love it. If I am faced with eating an orange, I will “vampire” the juice (a la Bill and Sookie) and spit out the languid, pulpy wedge (so ladylike, I know). Oddly enough, I LOVE citrus juice. For years, my cocktail of choice was a screwdriver (and I have all the abandoned Nalges with a faint odor of orange juice and vodka, that no amount of dishwashing will remove, to prove it. Hey, when you’re a girl who doesn’t like beer, you’ve gotta be resourceful). I dislike pulp so much that I would rather give a mimosa the side eye than drink it, if it is made with pulpy orange juice (why would someone do something that unspeakably cruel to me, I do not know. I loooooove mimosas!).

So now that we’ve established the depths of my hatred for pulp, you can understand how surprising it is that I would pick up a few oranges at the grocery store. I decided it was high time for me to overcome this aversion and hostility – one baby step at a time. I figured I can start off slow, by blending them into my favorite thing on Earth: smoothies. We all love smoothies, they are clearly the best. By now, you may know that I have a little bit of a problem with smoothies (and all of the many varieties). To create this particular smoothie, I blended the orange together with three things I really like: baby spinach, unsweetened vanilla coconut milk and cinnamon. It sounds like an unlikely combination, I know, but it was AMAZING. The coconut milk gives a smooth creaminess, the baby spinach is very mild and the orange gives a gorgeous pop and brightness to the smoothie. The cinnamon, of course, is the little spice that could – it makes everything better, and here it lends a little spicy kick. This smoothie was just what I needed – healthy, full of nutrients and flavor, and the orange makes you dream of sunshine and sand under your toes, even when it’s 15 degrees outside. It’s so simple, and it’s vegan, gluten-free and DELICIOUS!

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The five simple ingredients you need for L’s Green Citrus Smoothie: Spinach, oranges, cinnamon, unsweetened vanilla coconut milk and dates (optional – if you need a little extra sweetness).

Green Citrus Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 orange*, peeled
  • handful of baby spinach (~3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Β Directions

  • Add all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. Enjoy! πŸ˜€
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All of the “dry” ingredients in the NutriBullet before blending. I stuffed as much baby spinach as possible in there.

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The amount of cinnamon I added for reference. I never really measure this, but guesstimate – I loooooove cinnamon, so I would add whatever suits your tastes.

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I added quite a bit of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, probably more than half a cup. Adjust the amount depending on whether you like your smoothies thick or more juice-like – totally up to you! πŸ™‚

*I used Cara Cara oranges. They are a red-fleshed navel orange, sweet and low in acid with a flavor profile more complex than regular navels. Wikipedia says they “[have] been described as evoking notes of cherry, rose petal, orange, and blackberry.” Oooookay, Wikipedia, whatever you say – all I know is they are DELICIOUS, and so sweet that I didn’t need any additional sweetener. If you chose a different variety and your smoothie comes out a little bitter, throw one or two dates in there. That should sweeten it right up for ya. πŸ™‚

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The smoothie after blending πŸ™‚

Um, this smoothie is amazing. It’s so easy and probably takes 30 seconds to make once you peel the orange (and then your hands will smell lovely and orange-y for a bit). The flavor impact is unreal; when I blended it and had my first sip I actually said, “Wow!” aloud in my kitchen even though it was just me and the Nutribullet. The best part? You’ve fulfilled your Vitamin C requirements for the day, half of your Vitamin A, a quarter of your potassium and a third of your dietary fiber. Rock on. It’s fresh and deceptively filling – a great snack, breakfast smoothie or just for a special, fresh treat. Yum.

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Pour that sucker into a mason jar, stick a girthy straw in there and you’ve got yourself a winner. πŸ˜€

I hope that you guys enjoy this creation as much as I did – it is amazing (and if you close your eyes, you might just feel the sun beaming down on you, in the middle of January).

Sending you lots of sunshine today! Happy Wednesday! πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L ❀

PS: I went for a run last night in 18F and snow showers. It was fabulous (dead serious – I actually had a great run!). I recently got a bunch of run accessories to increase my nighttime visibility (both my friend and my bro-in-law called out my all black Ginga Ninja non-reflective winter run gear, and they were totally right – visibility is key in the winter!). If you’re interested, they will be making an appearance in my Friday Faves post. πŸ˜‰

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Rocking my sweet new gear. Also, my nails match my run pullover bc I’m cool like that. Happy Hump Day, all! πŸ˜€