Sunday, January 15, 2012

RECIPES: What the Happy Nurse & I Are Eating This Week! Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Lentil Spread, Olive & Tomato Biscotti, Caesar Salad & MORE!

Ok so I was sick with the flu the whole first week of the New Year and then my husband succumbed as well so no bulk cooking again this week--just throwing things together in the slow cooker and the Cuisinart with as little fuss as possible.  You'd think that with that lack of effort we'd be eating pretty sad food this week--quite the contrary actually!  The meals this week have been seriously yummy--I'm sampling from a bunch of different new cookbooks :-)

What are all of you eating this week?!  Any favorite meals or recipes to share with everyone?  :-)

Main Dishes

HGK's Sri Lankan Kale
Healthy Girl's Kitchen's Sri Lankan Kale (leftovers!  YUMMMMMM!!)--great flavor, perfect & surprising lime taste makes this recipe delicious!!

Butternut Coconut Squash from "Appetite for Reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (leftover yumminess--made it super quick compared to the recipe in the book because I was running late to work--threw basmati rice in with cooked butternut squash, 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract, a handful of chopped walnuts and oat milk until the mix was moist.  YUM)

Sweet Potato-White Bean Soup, Coconut Pumpkin Soup
& the stuffed Acorn Squash halves!! YUM!
Sweet Potato-White Bean Soup  from  Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester:  Excited about this because it included swiss chard which is super nutritious!

Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup from the  Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester:  This looks amazing--I used the Healthy Librarian's coconut milk trick for this (oat milk + coconut extract) to reduce fat.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cranberry & Brown Rice Medley from the  Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester:  Who knew you could cook a squash in a slow cooker?!  That is why I love this new cookbook--awesome ideas!

 Romaine & Avocado Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing from the Party Vegan by Robin Robertson   this dressing is fabulous.  I cut the oil by 3/4 and used water instead--it tasted just fine!  In fact, I may just use water totally next time because the cilantro is such a strong flavor that you really don't notice the lack of oil!

Vegan Caesar Salad with Healthy Girl's Kitchen's AWESOME No-oil Caesar Salad dressing!  Ok let me just explain how good this salad dressing is--way too good!!  I seriously could almost eat it by itself with some crackers :-) She uses chickpeas to thicken the sauce.  The only substitutions I had to make were I added oat milk instead of the soy sauce & a second bottle of capers (I think it needed it because the soy sauce is a strong flavor & a bit saltier so the capers compensated.)  YUM!

Sandwiches, Snacks & Side Dishes

Lentil Spread:  Sandwiches with sliced cherry tomatoes and this AMAZING lentil spread that I found on The Healthy Librarian's site.  Its SO good!  Be careful with the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce--I misread the recipe the whole time and thought it said "one CAN of the chipotle peppers", not ONE pepper!!"  Suffice to say, with one tiny bite I nearly burned my mouth off and had to throw out the first batch!  Once that trauma was over though and I remade it properly, the actual spread was so so so delicious!

Biscotti Dough!
Green Olive & Sundried Tomato Biscotti from the Party Vegan by Robin Robertson:  Surprisingly easy to make!  And SO good!  I made it for the first time with full fat (i.e. all the olive oil) but I'm going to try to repeat it in the future & try different substitutions for the fats!

Hummus with Rice Crackers (the hummus is my own recipe, thrown together from a bunch of different tahini-free hummus recipes--green onions, a tiny bit of adobe sauce with chipotle pepper, dijon mustard, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, garlic, water and vegetable broth.  No measurements.  Sounds crazy but it is crazy good!)

Spiced Rice-Lentil Squares by the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen--looking forward to FINALLY trying these--always need more bars for on the run & I couldn't make them the last time they were on our plan because I didn't have any allspice!!

Happy Herbivore's Pumpkin Bread from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon: Ok, this is a really delicious bread & super easy to make!  Just be careful slicing it because I was careless and managed to cut myself pretty badly with the knife when I sliced my loaf!!  :-( After that disaster was addressed, I happily enjoyed the spice of the bread. Instead of the whole wheat pastry flour, I substituted All Purpose Gluten-Free flour (which bumped the fiber and protein content of the bread considerably).  Instead of pumpkin pie spice (which I didn't have) I substituted cinnamon, ginger & allspice.  I wish I had ground cloves b/c I think it would have been even better.  If you make this, the only thing to remember is that her baked items tend to cook for a LONG time--when it says an hour, plan on an hour and 15 to 20 mins in actuality!

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  1. I love, love, LOVE that Sri Lankan Kale and have made it five times since it was posted on HGK! Getting ready to soak my pinto beans for the night and then will throw them in the crock pot in the morning so I have fresh beans for burritos and soup all week. I plan to try some of the oatmeal recipes fro the Vegan Slow Cooker a try, too. The chocolate one looks/sounds good, but not for breakfast...maybe dessert!

    1. Your recipes always sound great and inspire me. I slow cooked pintos yesterday. Blacks and chicks are on the list for today. Then I can do chili, Chana Palak Masala, Chick Pea Tacos, Lasagne Rolls with beans instead of tofu, Black Bean Burgers, Black Bean Loaf with caulipots and mushroom gravy, and No-oil Caesar Salad dressing. The pot of chili is large to use as lunches and finally chili potatoes. Plus, I'll make a pot of lentil soup. Of course salads and steamed, seasoned vegetables are served as well. We don't go in much for sweets around here. I really want to get one of those three pot slow cookers.

    2. Thanks so much for sharing Ginger!! I'm so glad it inspires you! I love to hear what other people are making b/c it inspires me too!!

      Actually, Ginger, before I forget I was wondering if you could give me your email address so I can email you to ask for soy-free, gluten-free vegan recipe ideas as you offered! If you aren't comfortable posting it in the comments, please feel free to email me at Thanks!!

      Have you tried the ChickPea Tacos and the Lasagna rolls before? They are so so highly awesome!! When you make the chickpea tacos I used the homemade seasoning mix she recommended on her recipe online & it was amazing! Throw some extra chickpeas in with the ones you plan to use b/c they are really great snacks during the week! Crunchy, salty yumminess.

      On the Lasagna rolls I think the marinara sauce flavors are so key but I cannot WAIT to hear how using the beans instead of the tofu works--that filling is so delicious it would be awesome if the beans worked as well b/c I really miss that dish. When I make it I get lazy about the rolls part and just layer the noodles with the sauce and filling in a frying pan!

      How do you make chili potatoes? That sounds great! I absolutely LOVE lentil soup--one of my favorite foods ever so that sounds great!:-)

      The 3-pot cooker thing is just such a fantastic thing to have--seriously you can buy it at Walmart for less than $40 and it saves you so much time!!

      Thanks for commenting!!

    3. Janet, that is hilarious that you love that Kale as much as I am loving it!! I overcooked it a bit the last time & when ate it as leftovers I ended up combining it with some uncooked mustard & collard greens & made THE most amazing salad with it--the flavors were just so harmonious and yummy! Then I threw some of the extra kale into the Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup & the lime flavor of the kale was just amazing in that soup!

      I think Wendy's recipes are delicious b/c they are very versatile--like that--I can eat the dish as normal and then mix it with other stuff & its still delicious!!

      Pinto beans are such a great idea--both you and Ginger are doing that & I have to admit I don't eat pinto beans very much but its such a good idea for Mexican food--will have to put them on the list for next week!

      Yes, I'm super excited about those oatmeal recipes too! I probably won't do the chocolate one but I desperately need more breakfast food. I'm so bored with my raw oats and fruit with oat milk breakfast! This week I might try making the Healthy Librarian's Pumpkin Oats (I think the Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook has something similar as well!)

      Let me know if you get any ideas for other great soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free breakfasts!! I'm VERY interested :-)

      Thanks for commenting!!

    4. Dr. Cat, I made that chocolate oatmeal last night, and really did not care for it. I give it a C+. What I highly recommend tho, is the oatmeal from the Healthy Librarian: steel cut oats, with sun dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast and KALE! I eat this nearly every morning. Being that I live in New Mexico, I also add some Chimayo red chili powder or some chopped green chile. Also, I buy a 25# bag of pinto beans fresh from the farm every fall. Once you eat fresh pintos, you will never go back to canned!

    5. Thanks Janet so much for the tip on that oatmeal! I have been wondering about trying that recipe--it sounds so strange for breakfast but as I regularly eat leftovers from dinner the night before for breakfast it will probably be perfect! I will try it next week! :-)

      New Mexico is a fabulous state--one of my favorite trips in the States was to Carlsbad Caverns--amazing! Very jealous about your access to fresh pintos!!!]]

      Thanks! :-)

  2. I know you've said multiple times that you are sugar-free. I'm striving for that as well and was wondering what you used as a substitute, like in the HH pumpkin bread, or if you just omitted it all together? Thanks!

    1. Great question Jessica!

      Some people when they are sugar free still use splenda, agave, stevia etc. I've tried agave in the past but I think it leaves a bit of an aftertaste I don't care for (from what I've heard though no one else seems to have this issue so I may be unique!). I like to use fruit juices, dates & pureed fruit to sweeten things and when I'm baking I use a lot of oat milk. The oat milk has no added sugar but its sweet and tends to nicely sweeten the baked item. I also substitute in pureed pears (I find they are sweeter than apple) for applesauce & add extra apple or pear sauce in place of half of the sugar, then I increase the flour for half of the sugar as well.

      I'm not a chef but what I usually do is experiment a bunch of times with a recipe. When I remove sugar I know I'm removing a dry ingredient, so just substituting more apple juice, pear puree or oat milk usually leads to the batter being too wet. What I do is I just add more flour until the batter is appropriately thick. You can also use fruit juice sweetened jams. For dates, you can use fresh mushy ones, chop them finely and mix them in water if you like or just put them in instead of sugar. It is delicious. I don't do that super often though b/c the dates have a really high gylcemic index and I like to stay level.

      Hope that helps!!

  3. Your food looks amazing - some more books to go on my list!

    Kay :)

    1. There are a lot of brilliant plant-based chefs out there!


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