Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Eats Two (1/18 - 1/24)

I was craving something hearty and healthy, so I settled on this amazing vegan Caesar salad. I have made a few different vegan variations of this salad - but this one might by my favorite yet! All it takes is prepping some chickpea croutons, cashew Caesar dressing, and vegan nut parm. Then all it takes is tearing up some up lettuce and kale for individual salads! To streamline the prep even more, I made the parm in my mini food processor and then made the dressing in the same one to reduce clean up and make things easier. If you want to bulk up/stretch these salads even more, add some cooked vegan chick'n scallopini (which happens to be gluten free and vegan) to your salads. They cook up quickly and make a delightfully protein rich addition to this dish!

This one-pot pasta not only required little equipment, but the ingredient list was short as well, making it ideal for any weeknight. I was slightly skeptical about the coconut milk-tomato sauce, but it was perfect with a ton of garlic, Italian herbs, and red pepper. My only forewarning about this dish is watch it closely! It can go from good to burnt very quickly. I would honestly just stand over the pot with tongs, turning it every couple of minutes, to ensure even cooking and no burning. I am definitely planning on doing this next time :) Overall, a very flavorful, easy pantry meal that goes great with garlic bread!

You must know by now - I will use any occasion to bake something for anybody. To celebrate the birthday of one of my best friend's, he requested these exquisite, but easy to make cookies. I know they sound ridiculous, but trust me - they are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. To make gluten/dairy free, I used; vegan butter in place of the butter & a mixture of (1/2 C sorghum flour, 1/2 C tapioca starch, 1/2 C millet flour, 3/4 tsp xanthan gum) for the flour. I dare say these turned out much better than the first time I made them, and everyone was raving over them the first time around! 

Since last year's five day snow and ice storm, I've declared it a tradition to make waffles the first morning of the storm. Last year I made chocolate chip buckwheat waffles, so naturally this year I went with straight up buckwheat waffles. These come together in a flash and hold up to any toppings you'd like! I love the gorgeous dark color that buckwheat flour gives baked goods. We topped ours with vegan butter, agave (forgot the maple syrup before the storm!), and maple sugar. Do you have a dish that you make during snow days? I'd love to know!

Dinner: Vegan Queso Blanco Bowls with Pintos, Crispy Kale + Brown Rice

This recipe comes from Isa Does It, or what I will forever refer to as my Vegan Bible. I am trying not to eat out as much lately, so I decided to make our Mexican food this week instead of going out for some; this also had to do with us being snowed in for 4 days. The bowls consist of brown rice, pinto beans (made from scratch), diced tomato, crispy kale, and the most outrageous vegan queso blanco made from cashews. I've made this queso once before as an appetizer and it's nothing short of perfect. These bowls come together quickly and will gladly satisfy any Mexican/Chipotle cravings that you might be having! 

Overview: I stuck to my meal plan (yay!) and cooked every meal this week, except for one outing the night before the snow storm. I spent a minimal amount on groceries at the store, using all of my tips from work plus a very small amount of cash. This is in part due to cooking my beans from scratch instead of buying organic canned at the store. Tip: I cooked these overnight in my mini slow-cooker while I slept (takes between 8-10 hours), so it was hands-free to make these basically! The only thing I would like to improve upon this week is making more snacks to take to work.

Ideas for this week: apple pie granola bars & Cajun hummus for snacks; crunchy black bean tacos; tortilla soup; spicy tofu stew over polenta; miso-curry roasted delicata squash with kale and tofu over jasmine rice

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