Category Archives: Vegan

Lentil Meatballs & Veggies in Spicy Coconut Curry

Wow.  This fierce cold weather feels like the coldest, eyelash blistering cold I have ever experienced.  And they’re threatening tomorrow will be worse.  Doesn’t that mean I don’t have to leave my house? No?!? Ah well in that case I need to make something to eat while I’m at school that I know will warm me up.  Lately it’s been all things lentil meatballs well because I love real meatballs but I don’t love eating meat right now.  Oh and I prefer doing little to no work- enter this recipe and why you will love it once you try it.

stew 2Plus when you make your own “meatballs” you can hide things in them, like vegetables 😉

This looks like a lot of work but it is truly very easy and so worth it so get to it!

Ingredients for Meatballs:

***if you don’t have all these ingredients just find a good curry powder you like

1 cup lentils (I used yellow & brown), (soaked for minimum 6 hours)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 10oz package mushrooms

1-2tbsp coconut oil

1/2 zucchini

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground coriander

few dashes dried basil and oregano

2 tsp worchestire sauce IF you want to have more meaty flavor

1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

1 egg

up to 1/4 cup quinoa flour (or other flour to help bind)

*optional 2 tbsp tamarind for sweetness or 1 tbsp honey



-Rinse lentils well and add to pot with 1 cup vegetable stock.  Bring to boil, then simmer with lid on till all liquid is gone.

-Meanwhile, pulse the mushrooms in a food processor and then add to bowl.  Pulse zucchini, garlic & onion and don’t overfill your food processor and make more work for yourself.  I find it’s easier just to do them one at a time.

-Add onions to large pot on medium-high heat and add all the spices.  Saute for 3-5 minutes till soften.

-Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes, careful not to burn.

-Add all the vegetables and saute until softened. Season to your taste and adjust spices as needed.

-Remove from heat and once cooled slightly add egg, lentils, flour & oats.  Your consistency may have more or less water so add the oats and flour in smaller amounts as needed. You can lightly mash half the lentils to help bind also, or do quick spin in food processor.

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees, use 1/8 cup measuring cup and kitchen gloves to roll meatballs. Should make at least 12. Bake until brown all over about 30 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes.

Ingredients in Coconut Curry:

1 onion, chopped

2 yellow & 2 red bell peppers, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced (use the food processor!!)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 can lite coconut milk (or full fat if you prefer)

1/2 cup vegetable stock

fresh chopped cilantro to taste

*optional red pepper flakes


-Over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp coconut oil to same large pot you used for meatballs & add onion.

-Add all your spices. You should be tasting as you go and adjust as needed.

-Add bell peppers & carrots, stir to coat.

-Add garlic & ginger, stir for 2 minutes.

-Add can tomatoes, coconut milk & veggie stock. Bring to boil and reduce with the lid off for 10-15 minutes.

-Season to taste.  Take your meatballs and crumble into curry and garnish with cilantro.



Ramen Remix

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  I hope yours was as good as mine.  Taking two days off from papers, studying and all things responsibility was the perfect way to recharge for the last leg of the semester.  Oh and I made my first pie.  Which was also my first gluten-free pie.  Pie crust- intimidating enough not to mention the no gluten part.  And of course I’m going to keep that a secret until after everyone has eaten and enjoyed it.  Thank goodness for King Arthur flour.


Luckily this was a success and a pie to make Paula Deen proud.  Pecan Pumpkin Pie infused with blackstrap molasses rum.  Although if I had came up with the original recipe I would probably call it Butter and Brown sugar pie with a smidge of pumpkin. Since it was Thanksgiving though I don’t feel guilty about eating a weeks worth of saturated fat.  Plus the bf really wanted pecan pie so this was my compromise.  I got the recipe here.

20121124-192044.jpgI may have had a bit for breakfast today. Pumpkin and pecans are superfoods after all 😉


Switching gears to something a little less artery clogging – my take on one of my old favorite staples, Ramen noodles.  I am even feeling ballsy enough to call this Detox Ramen Noodles since it’s filled with veggies, natural broth and miso.  Sounds pretty contradictoy right?  Well the original is a serious health offender and if you are brave I dare you to check out the video of ramen digestion.  It’s out there- and it’s scary.

20121124-192054.jpgI won’t get into the descriptives of the video but I will talk about how easy and delicious this was.  Plus it is still just as comforting and doesn’t give you an MSG hangover.  Especially with the temperatures dropping it has me craving warm and nourishing meals that I can make quickly.  This has become my new favorite go to for chilly nights and no time to cook.

20121124-192103.jpgFor the noodle sub in I used kelp noodles which I would probably eat everyday if they weren’t a tad costly.  They serve a really similar texture to ramen and if you prefer them softer just add them to the broth sooner.  I like them with texture so I add them once I take this off the heat.  This dish is really simple and versatile so feel free to use your favorite vegetables.


1/2-1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium, gluten free)

1/2 small onion

1 or 2 garlic cloves (I may have used 5. Yes I have a problem)

handful carrots chopped

2 celery stalks chopped

2 handfuls baby kale or other green veg

1/4 cup sliced bella mushrooms

1 tbsp minced ginger, or to taste

1 tbsp miso paste

Dried herbs (I use herbamare)


-Warm broth in deep skillet.  Add onions, carrots, celery and saute till slightly softened.

-Add garlic, ginger, mushrooms & any seasonings.  Saute 2-3 minutes.

-Add green vegetable (baby kale cooks quickly like spinach thats why I added it last.  If you have regular kale it will take longer to cook and should be added with mushrooms.) Add noodles now for softer texture- or

-Take off heat and stir noodles into soup.  Add to your bowl and wait until it is cool enough to eat and then add miso paste.  If you add it to the pan it will kill the healthy bacteria and no longer have good probiotics.

Enough your health boosting Ramen!

Raw Honey Holiday Nuts

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve been MIA for two weeks and I present you with a dehyrated nut recipe? With pretty much one ingredient- named honey in the raw. Well I’ve been up to my ears in test and deadlines so you will just have to manage. Besides these are a holiday favorite.


Thanksgiving is almost here which means lots of school deadlines are fast approaching as well as recipe overload. This is the first year in maybe 7+ years that I’ve had off of work and although I’m excited to finally get to cook for thanksgiving (I know I’m excited but it’s because I don’t have any onbligation to make things- and it won’t be at my place) and I literally cannot decide what to make. It’s so overwhelming the amount of amazing looking delicious recipes that I am about to just randomly choose some.


One recipe that I was able to commit to was honey sweetened nuts.  Who doesn’t love such a sticky, sweet treat that is perfectly healthy in moderation.

  So if you’re like me and don’t know where to start for the thanksgiving feast, make this to nibble on as your scrolling/flipping/scavenging for recipes.


Really? You’re not sure? I’ll assume you’ve already tapped into the eggnog 😉

However much nuts you want to have on hand.  I did 1 pound walnuts, almonds and 12oz pecans.  Soak them all separetly if you have a dehyrator (this makes them easier to digest and more nutrients available)

Each time varies and sources vary as well.  I do almonds for 24 hours, pecans and walnuts about 12, maybe more.

Always use filtered room temperature water.  Some sources say use acid, I didn’t this time.  I did add 1 tsp himalayan salt to each.

Dehydrate under 118 degrees to keep raw and enzymes alive.  Time varies, expect at least 12 hours.

After 6 hours or until no moisture appears on the outside, put your nuts in a bowl with some honey.  Yup, pretty difficult stuff here.  Optional add ins- sea salt, cinnamon, coconut sugar, all spice…etc. Continue to dehydrate until crisp and dry when you bite into almonds. They hold the most moisture.

 I store in mason jars and not in the fridge because my apartment doesn’t get too warm this time of year.

Purple Cauliflower, Carrot & Two Lentil Curry

Some cosmetic changes here- what do you think?  I think I’m pretty content with it considering my severely limited technical skills.  I’m not even going to tell you how much time I spent on it.  I guess I have “Sandy” to thank for this. Or “Frankenstorm” or whatever they’re calling this wicked rain for the next 5 days?!? I hope everyone is in a safe and dry place.  Do I really need to fill my bathtub with water??

I am loving all things lentils right now.  I feel like I need to make up for lost times we should have had together.  So I will do my best not to put up 100 lentil recipes in the next month but I can’t promise anything.  I am the type of person that when I find a new ingredient or a forgotten favorite, I eat it relentlessly until I get sick of it.

I’m loving lots of cauliflower lately too.  It’s such a modest vegetable with its white, lackluster appearance you would never know it is a “superfood”.  Packed with nutrients, fiber and oh this lovely purple variety has anthocyanins which are scientifically proven to eat up cancer cells.  Who doesn’t love that?

So if you’re a regular visitor of my blog you know I’m a huge Indian food fan.  I have spiced up my eggs, sandwiches, and desserts with Indian spices like ginger, cumin, coriander and the latest favorite is fenugreek seeds.  I have mentioned them once before since they are filled with lots of health benefits you would never suspect.  Some health benefits in just 1 tbsp is they have 20% RDA of iron, 3 grams protein, 3 grams of fiber, and trace amounts of copper, calcium, zincmanganese and magnesium.  They have also been used medicinally for hundreds of years to improve those lovely female symptoms, as well as digestive troubles.  It has been clinically proven to help with insulin sensitivity and to have cardiovascular benefits.  So with the endless list of health benefits I have begun to add 1 tsp of seeds to my smoothies in addition to the regulars like turmeric, occasionally red maca powder and matcha green tea powder {typically not all together} With all the other ingredients you can’t even taste in a smoothie but be sure you have a good blender because you wouldn’t wanna chomp down on these tough little seeds.  Alternatively, you could grind to a powder first and then add.

But I digress from this lovely, very easy curry which I made to have ready for lunches or dinners.  It’s what you might call a “one pot wonder”.  Curries may seem quite intimidating with the sometimes lengthy list of ingredients and foreign spices, but it really is such an easy dish to make.  Plus then if you are not a huge spice or heat fan, you can lessen the amounts to suit your taste.  I definitely encourage you to dabble in Indian cuisine if you have not yet tried, it can be extremely healthy and comforting without much skill required.  Did I mention crazy delicious?!? Plus curries are so versatile you can make it with practically any seasonal vegetables.  I used carrots and cauliflower but feel free to use some of your favorites!

To prepare lentils:

1/2 cup red lentils, soaked at least 8 hours

1/2 cup green lentils, soaked min 8 hours

1.5 cups vegetable broth

small handful curry leaves

Directions:   {red lentils cook faster than green lentils, so if you need the “perfect” texture keep them separated from soaking to cooking.  I don’t mind and didn’t notice that one was more/less cooked than the other.}

Rinse them in a colander and check for stones or debris.

Soak them for at least 8 hours in filtered water- {this is not required but I soak all nuts, beans, seeds and grains to reduce phytic acid and make easier to digest}

Rinse again in a colander till water runs clear.

Put 1.5 cups vegetable stock in large pot and bring to boil.  Add lentils and reduce to medium simmer with lid on.  Check and stir.  You may need to add more broth depending on how you like your lentils.

When all the liquid is gone, add curry leaves and pour into a small bowl, set aside.

Ingredients for Curry:

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1 tbsp butter or ghee

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 sweet onion chopped

1-2 cups baby carrots chopped roughly

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp red chili powder

3 garlic cloves

1- 1 inch piece ginger minced or grated

1/2 can tomato paste

1 head cauliflower, purple or regular chopped

1/2- 1 cup vegetable stock


 Use large pot and add coconut oil, butter or ghee.  Add fenugreek seeds and once fragrant add chopped onion and carrot, saute for 3 minutes.

Add dry spices and stir well to coat.

Add cauliflower, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and vegetable stock.  Stir everything well and put lid on with medium simmer.  Check in 10 minutes for the cauliflower to be fork tender.  Taste and season as you like.

You could add fresh cilantro but I didn’t want it to overpower the curry leaves so I left it out.  You could also make it richer with canned coconut milk which is always delicious.


Now all I need is some fresh naan…yummm.

Dark Chocolate Pancakes Topped with Cinnamon Apple & Almond Butter

Yes, Dark Chocolate HEALTHY Gluten Free Pancakes. And as you can tell by the title, the fun doesn’t end there. Slices of cinnamon dusted apple & roasted almond butter. For dinner.

Oh and do yourself a favor and leave your guilt at the door– because this is barely 300 calories. Scouts Honor.

Unfortunately I am not the genius who came up with this recipe- Katie is. I snagged from her Brownie Batter Pancakes which I have made many times, but this time I used buckwheat flour. (I’ll just tell you there is a reason she doesn’t use buckwheat flour for desserts…but I really like buckwheat and I needed to use it up).

I have been craving chocolate like my life depends on it lately and I generally don’t get strong cravings for things. So I had thought earlier today that I will satisfy my craving and find a 70%ish chocolate bar with minimal sugar to eat as a meal. That’s a perfectly good rationale right?

Chocolate really does have considerable health benefits consisting of antioxidants, ability to lower heart disease risk by increasing blood flow and increases your happy hormones 🙂 Luckily I did not impulsively dive for the first chocolate bar and went on through my day because I decided I didn’t want to start on a sugar spiral. Boy am I glad I did because this was WAY better than a chocolate bar. Plus, no sugar crash, no guilt, just a big happy grin at the end of my day. Oh yes, this was my dinner- and I’m not gonna lie I think it might happen again tomorrow.

I used Katie’s ratios for making the pancakes but I use

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

5 tbsp almond milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 secret tsp matcha green tea powder {it’s a secret from your taste buds ;)}

1 packet stevia

4-5 drops vanilla stevia

Then I just fry them up in a smidge of coconut oil as about 5 small or (you can do 2 large). If you stop there with the recipe it’s only about 130 calories. But why would you stop there?

In the past I have used her banana peanut butter to top these off but I am obsessed with all things apples lately- literally have to eat 1 everyday.

Oh and I’m really sorry if this is your first time hearing about Katie’s blog. Not only because you have been missing out on some seriously delicious eats, but now you probably won’t sleep tonight because you are reading all of her posts. Don’t worry we’ve all been there.

Now it’s time to indulge in a sinful but not sabotaging dinn-ert 😉

Sprouted Lentil Loaf with Sweet Potato & Mushrooms, Vegan,GF

Say what? Lentils? Sprouted? Do I plant it?

I am guessing those who are new to lentils and sprouting are thinking some of those thoughts. Well, if lentils and sprouts are new to you, allow me to introduce you. Lentils are a seriously underestimated “superfood”. They are packed with protein, iron, b vitamins, fiber and lovely properties to help balance your blood sugar and lower cholestrol. Yeah I know, you have been missing out on a seriously healthy food. Plus it gets better. When you “sprout” things you can triple the amount of nutrients in them- without lifting a finger. No it’s not exactly magic, but just nature doing its thing.

You can sprout any seeds like sunflower or even quinoa as well as beans (not outta the can silly- gotta be uncooked) and lots of other things. All you have to do is soak the grain or seed overnight in filtered water, drain and rinse it well the next morning, and let it chill on the counter in a jar or mesh strainer. You can get a fancy sprouting jar but it’s not necessary if you have a strainer. Those lentils sprouted for I think 3 or 4 days, which just means every few hours I rinsed the lentils (which is especially why I like using mesh strainer) and just let it hang out on my counter in the strainer.

So when you are sprouting you are actually re-activating enzymes that had these “enzyme inhibitors” on them otherwise they would be sprouting all the time and go bad very quickly. That is another thing- when you sprout the amount will double in size and they only last about a week so make sure you are going to eat them!

So with all of these sprouts I thought I was going to do a sprouted lentil hummus but then I changed my mind and decided to try a lentil loaf. Which is kinda funny since last week I made a Spinach Turkey Meatloaf even though I didn’t show you guys 😉 Plus I just got lots of great produce like sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms so the decision was made! Oh and you know I’m going to tell you this was super easy right? And I don’t think I need to tell you how healthy carrots, sweet potatoes and mushrooms are…

This is the perfect lunch or dinner for the week and if you have a food processor you just made your life a whole lot easier. Oh and did I mention it’s boyfriend approved? Yes I was not even going to ask him to try it but he did- and then took another taste. And then asked if he could have some for lunch. And we know he is a mans man when it comes to all things “loaf” so I encourage you to try this on your picky men. And if you don’t want to put the tiniest bit of effort in and sprout your lentils then just cook them according to the package. There are lots of different kinds so make sure you follow the directions! 🙂


(If you sprout, take 1 cup raw lentils and follow the sprouting directions– will make 2-3 cups)

**Ignore the broccoli in the photo above, it didn’t survive

2 cups sprouted or 2 cups cooked

1/2 sweet potato, grated

1 cup baby carrots or regular

1 white onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

1 package preferred mushrooms, I use baby bella

1 tbsp butter or butter sub

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup cashews

soy sauce

Chili powder, cumin and coriander to taste


-Preheat oven to 350, grab loaf pan and lightly spray with non-stick

-Chop mushrooms, carrots, garlic and cashews by placing in food processor and pulsing till roughly same size as the lentil. If its powerful enough do your sweet potato as well, but I grated mine by hand.

-To a large, deep skillet add butter, oil and veg broth to medium-high heat. Add white onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add all processed vegetables.

-Season well with salt and pepper. I also added chili powder, dash soy sauce, cumin and coriander but feel free to season as you wish. (I had wanted to use sage and thyme but I have neither right now.)

-Pulse your lentils to desired consistency, I did it till them were fairly broken up but not completely. Add them to the skillet and continue to taste and season. No perfect measurements with these things just do what taste good 🙂

-Press into loaf pan and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. {I bet this would be great in muffin tin to make perfect portion size! I would double the batch and freeze the rest!}

– It will crisp the top but the inside will remain soft. If you want a crispier loaf, I suggest using day old bread as you would with bread pudding or how I make regular meatloafs using Stoufers Stuffing Mix. I would use half of the package and just mix it in at the end, you may need more liquid so add small amounts of vegetable broth. ( I can’t vouge for results though I haven’t tried this, just a suggestion)

* I wanted to keep mine gluten free so I didn’t use any bread or bread crumbs.

This would be a great vegan option for Thanksgiving!

I sliced about 7 large slices and have my lunch packed for the week now. Yummy and comforting vegan superfood! I am going to try a BBQ version of this soon so stay tuned! 🙂

I am thinking of making some mashed cauliflower to go with this.  Talk about a nutrient dense meal!


20121021-144832.jpgI am loving fall right now, how about you?

Green and Glowing from the Inside-Out

So yes it’s been awhile since I posted.  But you can forgive me because last week was lots of midterms.  I’m still alive though, and cooking, and especially eating.

Plus I have a few new tricks up my sleeves and they don’t exactly involve eating but there is a recipe.  Actually you will be wearing it. If you want gorgeous, glowing and smooth skin.

It involves a little of this.

And this

and a little scrubby.

I have been doing this 1-2x week and it’s awesome! Literally it’s like having a seaweed spa facial but paying a fraction of the cost and getting immediate results.  A word of caution though, if you have never eaten spirulina or tried it on your face, make a very small amount of this and try on your hand or arm to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.  You may see some redness and it made my face itch slightly while I was wearing it for the first time but this is from the high amounts of Vitamin A that is removing those superficial layers of skin.  Another word of caution is this is slightly messing when rinsing off so if you are not doing this in the shower, make sure your not wearing or near anything that you can stain.

And absolutely wear sunscreen when you go outside.  Your skin becomes more vulnerable to sun damage because you are removing those top layers of skin and exposing the deeper layers.  Damaging these layers can cause more harm and aging so wear your sunscreen!

To Make Rejuvinating Spirulina Mask:

Mix 1/2 tbsp spirulina with a few dashes of olive oil and a pinch of your usual face cleanser OR 1 tsp sugar.  If this is your first time I suggest only wearing it for 5 minutes and work your way up to 15 adding 5 minutes each time.  I also recommend a splash of raw apple cider vinegar which can help remove any build up and has 100’s of wonderful uses and benefits.

Once time is up remove with water and if you use any type of toner or makeup removing cloths in order to remove everything.

You can use a pinch of your typical moisturizer, but to really reap the benefits, cover your face with avocado oil (not dripping) and before you go to bed just lightly pat excess so you don’t drench your pillow.  The vitamin E works to remove the redness the mask may have caused and is extremely anti-inflammatory for your face.

I only do the mask 1-2x week, but I am using the avocado oil every night and it is amazing.  It is healing any pimples I may have and picked (oops!) rapidly faster and the texture of my skin is much smoother.

Ok there is a recipe, I couldn’t help myself 😉

Now to really cure this skin problem from the inside out, I recommend the delicious Glowing Green Smoothie by Kimberly Synder.  I have become addicted to this and I know it sounds crazy putting cilantro in your smoothie but it is one of those don’t knock it till you try it. Picture from Kimberely’s Blog.

I have altered it a bit and I use

1 celery stick

1/2 an apple

2 cups spring mix or baby spinach

small handful cilantro

1/2 cup seedless cucumber

water to blend and ice

occasionally 1/2 frozen banana

I also add a few things to bump up the anti-inflammatory factor even more like 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp raw unpasterized and unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp spirulina.  I occassionally also add wheat grass (not the liquid the real thing-yes it does taste awful so only use a little bit) matcha green tea powder and fun toppings like goji berries, honey bee pollen granules, hemp seeds, avocado, oat bran or granola of course. (Not all at once)

You can of course personalize and create your own green smoothie but I recommend trying the original first, it will surprise you how good it really is and how good you feel after.  Check out Kimberly’s Blog for all the health benefits plus lots of other great info!

Raw Sweet and Salty Mocha Almond Cacao Truffles

Quite a wordy title eh? Well I could probably use another 1000 different adjectives and it still wouldn’t do these truffles justice. If you are a chocolate, sweet, salty, coconut, nutty, chewy, crunchy, mocha, did I mention chocolate?- Lover, then you are at the right place because these are insanely good. And easy, which can mean trouble. So if I’m referring you to- slim down this recipe to 1 serving {1/4 cup almonds and figure out the rest} But if your like me and you are attempting to test your will power by putting these in the freezing and repeatedly saying I will only eat 2 at a time, then by all means start making these!!

20121006-123736.jpgI rarely ever make treats like these for myself because they can be very high in calories, fat, carb, and sugar dense. But awhile back I bought raw cacao beans because I wanted to make my own raw treats and actually try what real chocolate taste like. Let me do a favor and tell you- it is the most bitter taste ever. Just the smell can blow you out of the water after grinding the beans into powder. But there are some really great health benefits to real raw chocolate, which you have probably heard 1000 times. Or if your like me it is my justification to eating a lot of bitter chocolate. {covered in honey might I add :)}
Oh and I apologize, I cannot figure out why it won’t let me un-italicize, wordpress just doesn’t like me today- maybe because it can’t eat truffles…;)
2 cups ground almonds
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup cold brewed coffee
3 dates
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup coconut flakes
2-3 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp himalayn sea salt
-Soak goji berries & dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften
– Grind almonds in food processor if whole to almost meal-like course
-Add everything else & pulse together till you get a sticky, rollable consistency.
-Grab a cookie sheet & cover with parchment paper
-Grab a small bowl & stir together your garnish
-Take 1 tbsp and roll into a ball with your hands (yes, it’s a messy and delicious job) and then roll in garnish. Place on cookie sheet & once finished place in freezer if your using within a few hours or leave them in the fridge in air tight container layered & lined with parchment. I would estimate they keep for a few weeks in the fridge but use your own disgression.

These bites are packed with MUFA’s from the almonds, lauric acid from the coconut oil, vitamin A & C from the goji berries and antioxidants from cacao!

I use mercola because he cites info from peer reviewed studies.  Now why is it not itializicing here?! Ahh techonology…

Baby Eggplant, Maitake Mushrooms & Forbidden Rice Indi-asian Fusion


I love love love forbidden rice. It is not something I frequently see in the grocery store but I can tell you when I spotted it I scooped it up right away. I’m not even a huge rice person but there is something about the flavor and texture. It has this chewiness that other rices don’t have. Maybe thats why the Emperors made it “forbidden” 100 years ago in China. That’s where it gets its name from and they made it off limits to everyone else. They believed it made them especially strong and that it contained exceptional benefits. Well lets just say they were on to something. Forbidden rice is jam packed with anthocynanins which are like super powered antioxidants that are found in all “purple” foods.  It  actually has a deep dark purple color which you see when you cook it.

So I have had this lovely ingredient patiently awaiting in my pantry for its call into a dish and that time finally came after I made a trip to a nearby Asian grocery store. I picked up some Maiktake mushrooms also known as hen of the woods. They are really pretty looking and they have great earthy flavor.

20120724-200545.jpg Just a few health benefits of these mushrooms is that they can boost the immune system, help you lose weight because they are high in fiber and low in calories, anti-cancer properties by activating macrophages which are your “good guys” in your immune system and they can help lower blood sugar levels.  Just to name a few.

When I was thinking of what direction I wanted to go with this dinner I couldn’t decide between Asian or Indian, so I’m sure you can assume what I did. Yup I combined them. I’m not sure this is for everyone because it had a lot of flavor but I really enjoyed it. I wanted to use some Indian spices that I have had and not really cooked with them much. Some cumin seeds, coriander seeds and a few fenugreek seeds. I wanted to use these because they too are packed with nutrients which I was not aware of before I made this. Did you know 1 tbsp of cumin seeds has 22% of your daily iron needs? Fenugreek seeds too have 20% your daily iron needs as well as almost 3 grams of protein and fiber. Together these seeds have been shown to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, ease digestive problems and help prevent cancer! Who knew these seeds were actually superfoods!


So although I wanted to throw all of these into the dish I also have been loving miso paste lately and wanted it to join the party. I consider this to be another superfood because it is alive with good bacteria to help your tummy. It also taste really good. So I wanted to use a smidge of this with a bit of love from tamari and some chili flakes for heat 😉 But really just a smidge.  In case you have never worked with it before just make sure you add it once your food is taken off the heat so not to kill the healthy bacteria.


-Up to 1 tbs of cumin and coriander seeds

-1/2 tbsp fenugreek (these amounts really depend on your taste)

1/4 cup uncooked forbidden rice

1/4 cup vidalia onion

1 garlic clove

3 maitake mushrooms

1 cup baby eggplant diced

*optional, vegetable stock for healthier stir fry

*optional dinosaur kale leaves chopped

1 tsp miso paste

splash of tamari

sprinkle of chili flakes


-Cook forbidden rice according to package

-Once it is almost done, begin toasting your seeds in large enough frying pan over medium heat.  Toast them until it smells fragrant but becareful not to burn.  You may or may not use oil (I don’t).

-Add splash of oil or vegetable stock,  onions, mushrooms and eggplant and saute over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Add either another splash of oil or more stock and add your kale and garlic.  Cook until wilted.  Season with tamari and chili flakes.

-Once everything is cooked, remove from heat and stir with rice.  Add miso paste and stir well.

*If you don’t want the whole seeds in your dish, use a coffee grinder after they have been toasted and cooled.  Then sprinkle over the onions when you begin to saute and stir well.

Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Hamburger Helper” tossed in Avocado Mac and Crispy Chickpea Nuggets

Seriously Yum and seriously comforting. I created a new word to help best describe this dish- “carb-tastic” I am not really sure exactly how I got to putting this meal together but I am really happy with what I ended up with. The bonus is that it is pretty much as easy to put together as that funky boxed stuff.

Oh and whats that your asking? Crispy chickpea nuggets?? Yeah I know I’m really excited about it too. It is all thanks to VeganMommy with her chickpea tofu that I am so happy to have found! And it is SO easy to make and cheap!

20120724-102617.jpg Since me and soy are not friends so its a bit of a bummer that I can’t enjoy tofu especially since I actually like it. Not that I think all vegetarians or vegans need to eat it to be healthy at all but there are so many cool things you can make with it like dips, scrambles, desserts… which have been off limits to me until now. I am thinking up a lot of cool ways to try this out but I really just wanted to crisp it up for this dish to mix up the textures.


For the “hamburger” part I used my go to millet-mushroom combo and just crumbled it all over. It’s my favorite ground meat substitute and obviously much healthier. Although this is very comforting it is packed with vegetables, vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. I don’t think it gets much better than that.

Oh and what do you think of my DIY food board?

20120724-103654.jpg I’m taking baby steps to upping my photography because I know I am not interested in making dishes I see unless it comes with a great picture. I have been wanting to do this for awhile because it is so easy and really makes a difference in how your photos look. I just love turquoise and now I want to paint everything in this color 😉 I am trying to think of a good color to paint the other side to really utilize it the best I can. I would love a bright yellow but I’m not sure how that would contrast with a lot of food, any thoughts?

Look how much the yogurt parfait pops against the blue background

20120724-104819.jpg I still have a long way to go, but it makes taking pictures with my iPhone more fun, hehe 🙂

For the rest of the dish I used an archived favorite, Avocado Mac & Cheese but I added some scallions, chives and roasted garlic (obsessed). I nixed the goat cheese and used lots of herbs de provence, love that stuff

This recipe comes together really fast ones the spaghetti squash is finished roasting. A recommendation for those somewhat intimidated vegetables like the winter squashes, beets, root vegetables… that seem to require a lot of time are really made so much easier if you roast them soon after buying and then just throw them into the fridge so they are ready whenever.

-Prepare the chickpea tofu unless you can have regular. (If you are like me and not a huge fan of chickpea flour this is not the same and I don’t find it to have that overpowering taste)

-1/2 small spaghetti squash
-1/2 shallot minced
-3 garlic cloves
-handful of grape tomatoes
-handful of zucchini chopped
-1/4 cup tofu chopped

-Preheat oven to 375 and roast the spaghetti squash for at least 30 minutes until it pulls apart easily with a fork.
-Wrap the garlic cloves in tin foil and place on baking sheet to steam and sweeten them. Also throw chopped tofu on with light cooking spray and season to taste.
-While that is in the oven sauté the shallots, grape tomatoes and zucchini for 5-7 minutes till cooked.
-Grab your magic bullet or food processor and blend your Avocado Mac (recipe above)
-Once the squash is done and cooled enough to handle, scoop out the inside with a fork. Blend your steamed garlic with avocado mac and mix with spaghetti squash to coat. Stir the sautéed vegetables and go to your happy guilt-free carb place 🙂

Crispy, crunchy, creamy, meaty, savory, deliciousness!

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