Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Recipes of 2013

The year is already over! After this upcoming semester, I will be a senior (which is terrifying)! This year has been full of good food, drinks, friends, and other wonderful people. I am really looking forward to a new year to make better habits, for my health and education. So here is a look back at the best things I cooked this year! What was your favorite dish that you made in 2013? 

1. Wonder Fries with Miso-Mayo 

 2. Tofu Curry Laska + Rice Noodles

3. Edamame Hummus 

4. Harissa-Miso Roasted Fingerling Potatoes + Delicata Squash 

5. Pad Thai 

6. Peach, Arugula + Lentil Salad with Roasted Jalapeno Vinaigrette 

 7. Cauliflower Crust Pizza

8. Pumpkin Pie Squares with Graham Cracker Crust 

9. Rustic Chickpea Vegetable Soup

10. Hottie Black-Eyed Peas + Greens with Fried Cornbread 

11. Zucchini Fritters 

12. Garden Corn Chowder with Coconut Milk, Chives + Lime 

13. Sweet Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Bleu Bird


Monday, December 30, 2013

December Favorites

It amazes me that December will be over tomorrow! And it scares me that school will be back in two weeks. This will possibly be my hardest semester yet, since I am taking 5 classes, and one of them goes until 6:30 PM. That being said, I am trying a new method of planning a month of recipes instead of by the week, to cut down on time I spend during the semester planning meals. We'll see how it works out! Next month I am cooking from: Appetite for ReductionOne Dish VeganThe Great Vegan Bean BookFresh From the Vegan Slow-Cooker, and 101 Cookbooks Blog. Stay tuned for tomorrow when I post my Top 13 recipes from 2013!

1. Quinoa Caesar Salad with Chickpeas + Super Briny Dressing
It's funny how many things I never dreamed of eating when I wasn't mostly vegan. The thought of a caesar salad was enough to make me gag. But now, I daydream about a vegan caesar dressing made with briny capers, mustard served over crunchy cold lettuce. This dressing is amazing, but incredibly garlicky. Like vampire-slaying-worthy-garlicky. But I seriously can't recommend it enough. This comes from Isa's latest book (aka my bible), but the recipe can be found here.

2. Tofu, Kale + Red Rice Bowl with Curried Peanut Sauce
What was my life before peanut sauce? Or more importantly, before this peanut sauce with curry powder? Nothing. That's what it was. This sauce is the star of this amazingly easy dish that comes together in 30 minutes or less. //Isa Does It

3. GF Tagliatelle with Slurpy Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
Okay, so I'm obviously a little obsessed with Isa's new book, but this spicy slurpy spaghetti sauce is stupidly easy and delicious. You caramelize the onions in a little brown sugar, then add lots of red pepper flakes, which creates the most perfect sauce. We tried these GF egg noodles, which were incredible, but definitely only for special occasions because they're not cheap. //Isa Does It

4. Wonder Fries with Miso-Mayo (side of Bourbon Pumpkin Spice Apple Toddy)
If you take anything away from this post, read this: make these fries as soon as possible. I can't even explain how delicious these were. They take a little effort, but believe me, they are worth every penny and second you spend on them. The process creates the most perfect, crispy, yet fluffy fries. Oh, and the miso mayo is life-changing. Plain and simple. //Food 52

5. Breakfast Kale with Eggs Over Easy, Avocado + Hot Sauce
This has become a well-loved staple for breakfast in our house. It comes together quickly, it's nutritious and sooo flavorful. The ingredient list is short and the possibilities for additions are endless! //here! 

6. Chipotle Soyrizo + Potato Hash with Tahini-Miso Sauce 
One thing that drives me crazy (in a good way) about Isa's recipes, is every time I try a new one, I always claim its "her best recipe yet". But I say this about every single thing I've made from her...but this, might take the cake. Miso apparently makes every sauce instantly incredible, so don't skip it. The potatoes don't need to be boiled beforehand, which is shocking because they get cooked so perfectly. So yes, make this as soon as possible. //Isa Does It

7. Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup
There is nothing better than a big pot of soup on a cold day. The red lentils cook down into the basmati rice, making a thick and delicious soup. The arabian spices and lemon tie this soup together in the best way possible. It also comes together quickly, with plenty of time to rest while it simmers on the stove! The recipe originally comes from this book, but I found the recipe online too: here.

8. Chickpea Piccata with Caulipots + Sweet 'n' Salty Glazed Carrots
I've never had chicken piccata before, but this chickpea piccata was incredible! We served it with cauliflower mashed potatoes and these delicious roasted carrots. The sauce is made with lots of garlic and white wine, creating a delicious meal to be served on these caulipots. I loved how fancy this meal made me feel, but it took only an hour to pull everything together! //Appetite For Reduction

9. Golabki (Polish Stuffed Cabbage)
I never thought I would ever be able to make vegan stuffed cabbage. But it was so easy and delicious! The filling is made of TVP, lentils, pecans, and other delicious and simple components. They take a little effort, but if you prep the lentils and tomato sauce in advance, these come together quickly! I was surprised at how authentic the filling tastes, despite not having any meat. //Vegan Yack Attack

10. Caramelized Cauliflower Soup with Croutons
This soup sounds complicated, but it's actually very simple. You basically roast a head of cauliflower, then make a simple broth with some garlic and other ingredients, and then blend everything together. It makes a perfect soup for a winter day, especially topped with croutons and toasted almonds. Also, don't skip the white balsamic. It truly makes this soup perfect. Plus you will put white balsamic on everything once you taste it. It's regular balsamic's lighter, less-syrupy cousin. //Sprouted Kitchen

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

13 Best Breakfasts

Here's a secret you may not know: breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! It's one of the few things that I feel comfortable playing around with in the kitchen. When I first went GF, breakfast was a confusing whirlwind of expensive cereal and frozen waffles. Now I know that the possibilities are literally endless! I am more of a savory person, so I don't do waffles or pancakes too often (unless I get a waffle iron for Christmas!) but I eat eggs almost every day. So here's my round-up of my favorite, easy breakfasts from the year!

1. Scramble up some eggs with dried thyme and a few pats of vegan butter for extra decadence. Isa's Brooklyn home fries from Vegan Brunch make a perfect addition! Boiled potatoes get pan fried with peppers and onions, then doused in ketchup (post photo taking). Here is my favorite slow-cooked, creamy scrambled egg recipe!

 2. Make a tofu scramble with things in your fridge! Crumble tofu in a pan, mix with some hummus/mustard and other spices, then later add chopped kale and vegetables. We served this with leftover baked sweet potatoes since it was the day after Thanksgiving!

3. One thing I love doing is taking leftovers from dinner and using it for breakfast. We had some leftover wonder fries and avocado from dinner. We paired it with our usual polenta grits and pan fried some very tasty Italian tofu. Or put it in a wrap and drizzle with miso mayo! The possibilities are endless. Also, creamsicle mimosas are a must.

4. Leftover greens hanging around in the fridge? Cook them for breakfast! Seriously. Kale has become a staple of our weekend breakfast feasts. I posted the recipe here, and you will not regret it! Runny eggs and hot sauce doused kale are a perfect match. 

 5. Fritters, patties, whatever you want to call them. These are a great addition to any breakfast! I had some leftover turnips from the farmer's market, so I used them to make these turnip potato patties! We usually make oven fries to go with breakfast, but fritters have been a nice change. I've also grown fonder of eggs over easy lately, as opposed to our usual scrambled ones.

6. Omelets! Yes this is the folded version, because I can't perfect the French triple-folded one, but it's still delicious. Here are my favorite combinations: 
mushrooms, thyme, vegan butter//harissa paste, cilantro, sauteed onion//sauteed onion, kale, garlic//fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic//mushrooms, garlic, soy sauce, dash of sesame oil. 

 7. If I haven't annoyed you already about how good this Cajun grit bowl is, and how stupidly easy it is, you should definitely make it. This is one of the few things I can pull together before classes start. I'm also mildly obsessed with polenta corn grits and eat them all the time. 

8. I have to admit, making pancakes just isn't my forte. But these flourless pumpkin pancakes are ridiculously easy to make! Even before class! The eggs will also keep you full, unlike regular pancakes which just make me sleepy. One can of pumpkin puree will give you pancakes all week! 

9. My favorite snow day breakfast: tea, toast, mushroom green onion egg scramble + garlic roasted sweet potatoes.

10. Tofu scramble will forever be the easiest thing to make on a lazy weekend morning. This tofu puttanesca scramble is easy, delicious, and filling. I love the mix of capers, olives, and tomatoes with garlicky salty tofu. Serve with buttery grits for a complete meal!

11. Sometimes I just want a smoothie for breakfast because it's too hot to cook (or I'm too lazy). Over the summer, I fell in love with this strawberry lime smoothie and made it almost every day. I find that lime juice is just enough to flavor it, and no, the citrus doesn't curdle the almond milk. It's the most refreshing smoothie out there!

12. I love taking seasonal produce and using it for breakfasts. Here, I sauteed some zucchini, onions, garlic and kale, then scramble with eggs and topped with cilantro. Avocado toast makes it the most perfect breakfast, of course! 

13. I looove oatmeal. It kills me that so many people think it's gross. But homemade oatmeal, which I only started making this year, is so easy and not mushy like packaged oatmeal. One of my favorites is blueberry chai, or here is orange blueberry almond. Slow-cooker oatmeals are also perfect, because it's done right when you wake up for breakfast! How awesome is that? Kathy Hester's blog (and recipe books) are chock full of wonderful vegan slow-cooker oatmeal recipes!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Breakfast Style Kale + Eggs

Breakfast is definitely one of my favorite meals of the day. On the weekends, we make slightly indulgent breakfasts with many components. One breakfast I've been making off and on is this kale and eggs. I will eat kale ANY time of the day, in any form, and breakfast is the perfect way to get in some dark leafy greens! I eat a lot of eggs too, so they are obviously my pick for breakfast. I'm not a big sweets person because I feel like the sugar wears me down in the morning, but sometimes I want pancakes too.

This dish is so easy to make, delicious, and hearty. It makes no sense to go out for breakfast when you can have whatever you want in your own kitchen (plus mimosas!). What do you enjoy having for breakfast?

Breakfast Style Kale + Eggs
Serves 1
  • 1-2 eggs per person
  • paprika or Old Bay 
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • 1/4 yellow onion, very thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 3 cups of kale (you don't have to measure, just eyeball)
  • lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • for serving: sliced avocado, hot sauce, mimosas, grits, GF toast; whatever you enjoy with breakfast!
  1. Preheat a pan on medium high. Add a thin slick of oil. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, until slightly caramelized and light brown.
  2. Add the kale to the pan. Stir around a bit. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice or just a splash of vinegar (vinegar is more acidic so use a little less). The pan should sizzle, so stir everything around. Add a heavy pinch of paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Stir again. Add a little more lemon/vinegar and stir.
  3. When the kale is wilted, dark green, and seasoned to your preferences, remove to a plate.
  4. Wipe the pan out. Spray a thin layer of oil and crack 1 or 2 eggs away from each other. Push the whites together as much as possible, to make it easier to flip. 
  5. For a runnier egg: cook until the whites are almost completely set, then flip and cook 30 seconds more. Flip again, then remove to the plate with kale and add toppings.
  6. For a firmer egg: cook until the whites are completely set, then flip, and cook 45 seconds more. Flip again, then remove to the plate with kale and add toppings.
  7. Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Favorites

Wow. This year is passing quickly! I can't believe December is already upon us. Classes are done, exams start this week, and Thanksgiving is over. I will discuss below how I planned Thanksgiving and I might even do a post on how to eat with allergies during the holidays. 

1. Sweet Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with Sweet & Sour Tempeh)
I can't stress this enough: you have to make these Brussels sprouts. Just trust me. I've made them at least four times since this time, and one of them was for Thanksgiving. They were a huge hit! Even Mike's 4 year-old niece Abby ate them, which made me very happy! These will fall apart in your mouth and they are so easy to make //bleubirdvintage

2. Sweet Potato + Broccoli Bowl with Miso-Tahini Sauce
I did a lot of experimenting with flavors this month, it seems! I tried a lot of different Asian flavors like miso and sweet chili sauce, and fell in love with Tunisian sauce called harissa (which will be discussed below). This meal is dead simple, wholesome, and delicious. The tahini-miso sauce will become your new best friend, alongside toasted sesame seeds. This would be great for a post-holiday healthy meal! I used purple sweet potatoes and red rice for a splash of color! [note: my sauce is darker because I used a different type of miso] //smitten kitchen

3. Miso Harissa Delicata Squash Salad with Kale
Alright, I have a confession to make. I don't ever say this, but...this could be it. The best thing I've ever cooked. This dish is an umami flavor explosion! Salty miso, cumin laced spicy harissa all tossed with tender fingerling potatoes, soft delicata squash and beautiful kale. All topped with some toasted almonds. This is one salty dish, in the best way possible. I craved this for days after I made it. Each bite incites an auditory "Mmmm" moment and pure bliss. This is my first time using harissa and I think I'm in love with it now //101 cookbooks

4. Italian Lentil Soup
Ah, simplicity. Where have you been? This is the easiest, most wholesome lentil soup ever. The flavors are complex, but with out the lengthy ingredient list. Bake a nice loaf of bread to serve alongside, slathered in plenty of (vegan) butter. This soup is perfect for a cold winter day, which there are plenty of lately in the South //vanilla bean blog

5. Lemony Pasta with Brussels Sprouts + Mushrooms
I realized something this month: I can't eat portobello mushrooms. I just can't do it. The texture is too much for me, but somehow regular mushrooms are fine. This pasta is delicious but I changed a few things from the recipe: at the end of cooking the mushrooms, I added a pat of vegan butter and some white wine to cook until they absorbed the liquids; I pan-fried the Brussels a little longer until golden brown and crispy; I added a lot more lemon juice, zest, and more vegan butter at the end for more flavor. This could be a new favorite //martha stewart

6. Agave-Jalapeno Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Black Beans + Kale
I've been on a weird "trio" kick with food: making one main component, then adding two or three sides. This dinner was simple to pull together, wholesome, and scrumptious. The roasted acorn squash gets brushed with an agave-jalapeno-garlic mixture, then served with black beans and quinoa, then hot sauce/onion flake kale. What could be easier or healthier? Acorn squash is super easy to prepare and delicious[note: for vegan, sub agave nectar for honey]  //naturally ella

7. Pepperkakkor (Swedish Gingersnaps)
I have some very exciting news that I can't elaborate too much on, but: I'm a recipe tester! It's for a project I don't know everything about, but this is the first recipe I've tested. And man, were they just perfect!

 8. Pumpkin Pie Bars with Graham Cracker Crust
This is the dessert I chose for Thanksgiving. They're portable, easy to make, and can be refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. I used these GF grahams to make my life a little easier, and they were awesome! Everyone raved over these and couldn't grasp that they were vegan and gluten-free, which is a home-run to me! I served them with rice whip, again, to make things easier and travel-friendly. This might be the best pumpkin pie filling I've tasted yet, and I'm definitely making them again [note: I didn't want to buy brown rice syrup, so I used agave nectar instead. They turned out perfect!] //oh she glows

9. Baked Sweet Potato + Spicy Kale Hummus Tofu Scramble
I've discovered that a great way to keep tofu scramble moist and "eggy" is to use hummus! I know, it's strange, but it really really works. I just cooked tofu in a pan (no oil), crumbled it, then added some jalapeno-cilantro hummus (Trader joes) and spices. Then cooked until more "eggy" and added chopped kale, pickled jalapenos, hot sauce and chopped tomato. Served with a baked sweet potato spread with cinnamon/earth balance, and this was an awesome breakfast!

10. Surprise Birthday Dinner!I turned 22 this month, which is a little hard for me to grasp! My wonderful friends and boyfriend surprised me by making me a huge dinner and CAKE! They made all of my favorites: sweet potato fries, applesauce, chocolate zucchini cake (using this mix), and cauliflower pizza crust topped with ALL my favorite vegetables! Pizza crust recipe was this one. I was seriously blown away that they took so much time to plan a special dinner for me, that I had no idea about. It was a very delicious combination!

Thanksgiving Dinner Plan:

  • Vegan lentil Shepherd's pie with potato-parsnip mash //food52 [note: added a head of roasted garlic to the topping; added fresh rosemary, red wine vinegar and tomato paste to the lentil/vegetable mixture]
  • Pumpkin pie bars with graham cracker crust //see above post^
  • Kale salad with roasted kabocha squash, pecans & cranberry vinaigrette //joanne [note: I made a very half-ass version of this salad by using raw pecans, omitting the brie croutons, and keeping everything else the same]
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts with sweet chili sauce //see above post^
  • Rosemary millet biscuits with cornmeal & honey //80twenty [note: I did not post about these because they didn't turn out as planned and were very dry]

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Favorites

Hey all! It's November (where the hell did time go?!). Here are some October favorites:

1. Vegetable Pot Pie Stew + Mini GF Biscuits 
This stew is from the Happy Herbivore meal plan and I just love it! There's no chopping involved, but the meal is so comforting and delicious. It thickens as it sits, which makes it all the better. I made some GF mini biscuits to dip into the soup//Happy Herbivore

2. Slow-Cooker Peach Blueberry Oatmeal 
Another meal plan recipe! This seriously tastes like peach blueberry pie. I will have to make it when these fruits are in season, but oh man was it good. And there's nothing better than waking up to oatmeal in your slow-cooker.

3. Blueberry Chai Oatmeal 
This is yet another meal plan recipe, but I have to share it. It's too good. Steep a chai teabag in 3/4 C of hot water for 5 mins. Remove bag, put water in a saucepan and boil. When boiling, add 1/2 C GF rolled oats, 1/4 C frozen blueberries (if fresh, add at the end), a dash of cardamom and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix and cook until cooked to your desired consistency. At the end, stir in about a TBS or more of maple syrup. This is the best!!

4. Chipotle Cakes with Lime Crema 
Oh, man. Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce: where have you been all of my life? They seriously bring the right amount of heat and taste better than artificially flavored chipotle stuff. I can't find the recipe for this, but if anyone wants it, leave a comment below! These cakes come together quickly and are topped with a cooling lime chipotle vegan crema.

5. Chai Snickerdoodles
Two of the best things combined: chai and snickerdoodles. I used all brown rice flour here and only 1 tsp of xanthan gum. These cookies will go fast, so be careful! The spices are so perfect and smell exactly like chai//The PPK
6. Brooklyn Style Home Fries (with decadent eggs)
I'm always trying to step up my brunch game, and these home fries are it. They are definitely a labor a love, but well worth it. The potatoes are boiled, then pan fried in canola until golden, along with green peppers and onions. Oh man, these were great. And I highly recommend Isa's book in general. I made some "decadent" eggs to along with them, but a tofu scramble is a great vegan alternative!//Vegan Brunch

7. Miso Soup with Tofu + Kale
This soup is awesome, easy, and great for when you're sick (which I've been dealing with a lot here lately). Nourishing kale meets delicious tofu, amazing sweet potato noodles, and lots of spices. You will be amazed at how easy miso soup really is.//here!

 8. Chunky Celery Soup with Celery Leaf Pesto
Mike and I have both been sick for a couple of weeks now, so when I had energy, I made us soup every night. This one is a keeper. It's dead simple, delicious, nourishing, and all topped with a pesto made from celery leaves. I know, I know. What does it even taste like? It makes a delightful, garlicky pesto that compliments this soup in the best way. I promise it's worth the 30 seconds it takes to pull together!//101 Cookbooks

 9. Thai Hummus-Dilla with Mango Chutney
Okay, so I've been kind of harassed to share this recipe. I made it specifically to serve alongside this soup (which is fabulous), which is why it's Indian/Thai flavored. Here we go:
Preheat a decent sized pan to medium high. Get a brown rice tortilla (soften in microwave if frozen). Spread a generous amount of Thai coconut curry hummus on one side. Add a couple of chopped green onions. Drizzle some spicy mango chutney on top of the hummus and onions (use as much as you can handle!). Fold the dilla over to close. You can use coconut/olive oil to fry this if you're worried about fat, but I generously spread earth balance vegan butter on one side, then put that in the pan (butter side down) to create a DELICIOUS crispy/charred thing going on. Add a little more oil/butter on the side thats up, then flip until crispy/charred. You're welcome.

10. Turmeric Tea
I totally just realized I've been leaving an 'r' out of turmeric for years. Well, damn. Anyways, this is a great anti-inflammatory remedy that's easy to make. It's essentially a paste of turmeric and raw honey, which you mix with hot water, lemon and black pepper. I have been fighting something awful for a week or more now, and this tea seemed to help a lot. You can keep the paste in a jar on the counter, so it's very handy!//101 Cookbooks