Monday, August 5, 2013

Quick and Easy Black Bean Quinoa Tacos

I am trying to find quick meals that incorporate legumes (vegan protein!) and still have a great taste.  Since Mexican food has such great flavors and spice, it's the perfect way to make bland bean yummy, satisfying, and savory.

My favorite homemade vegan meal is quickly becoming tacos.  You can use black beans as the "meat" and add as much spice to them as you want.  Then jazz up the beans with onions, peppers, avocado, and salsa. It's a great meal that really satisfies.

Here is one of my favorite taco recipes:

Quick and Easy Black Bean Quinoa Tacos

Ingredients:
-1 can black beans
-1 C. cooked quinoa
-1/4 C. onion
-1/4 C. red bell pepper
-2 tsp grapeseed oil
-1 tsp homemade taco seasoning
-taco shells

Garnish:
-cilantro      
-tomatoes
-avocado
-lettuce
-jalapenos
-etc.

Directions:
Heat medium skillet over medium low heat.  Once hot add oil, then add onions and red pepper. When onion softens slightly, add black beans and quinoa.  Heat mixture for a few minutes until hot. Follow directions on package to heat taco shells. Scoop mixture onto shell, then garnish as desired.

This would go great with the Mexican chocolate chia seed pudding I'm going to experiment with soon.  I'll let you know how that goes!

Enjoy!







Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Italian-Style Vegan, Gluten-Free Dinner (Quick and Easy)

Being vegan to some people means eating lots of bread and tofu, but I just don't think that's the way to optimize a plant-based diet.  Food has the highest health benefits when minimally processed.

Dinner always seems to be the most challenging meal of the day for me, creatively speaking.  Breakfast is easy. Lunch is pretty simple. But dinner is the time that I make food for both me and the kiddo, so it has to be nutritious and delicious.

On Sunday, I was really craving something fresh and pasta-y (made up words are so hard to get right!). I decided on tomato basil pasta with asparagus.  My mind guilted me about the pasta, so I booted it and substituted with quinoa ("keen-wa") and lentils.  Then I topped with asparagus and homemade tomato basil sauce.

vegan, gluten free Italian-style quinoa


The Recipe:

1 C. Quinoa (preferably sprouted)
1 C. Lentils (preferably sprouted)
1 Container Cherry Tomatoes - halved (or other preferred tomato)
1/4 C. Fresh Basil cut into thin strips
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
1/4 C. Chopped Onion
10 Stalks of Asparagus
Oil (preferably grapeseed)
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste




1. In a large sauce pan, heat a small amount of grapeseed oil on medium low heat (you can use olive oil, but make sure you keep it at a low to medium heat - more on this later).
2. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes have softened and sauce has thickened slightly. 
3. Cook the quinoa and lentils as instructed on package. Set aside, covered.
4. Steam the asparagus.

Once everything is ready, grab your plate and layer as follows:

-Quinoa
-Lentils
-Asparagus
-Sauce

You can also add non-dairy cheese or parmesan.  I served this aside a light salad: chopped romaine with apples, blueberries, nuts, and TesseMae's zero calorie, red wine vinaigrette dressing

A nice glass of white wine would go great with this;) Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Smoothies that ROCK!

Smoothies have been part of my diet now for a year or so.  They are the easiest way for me to sneak awesome greens and superfoods into my diet, as well as the diet of my four year old.

The easiest way to make a truly healthy smoothie is to add one of each group below to the mix.  The only exception to this is the superfoods - you can add as many as you want, though they may rack up the calories and fat.  If you are counting calories, just make sure you take these into account.

1. Non-diary milk* - about 1.5 cups
2. Greens - about 1 cup/ 1 big handful (or as much as you can handle ;)
3. Fruit - about 1 cup
4. Superfood - 1tsp - 1 tbsp depending on the food


Here are my favorite smoothies:

GREEN SMOOTHIE 
from Alejandro Junger's Clean book
2 servings

- 1.5 Cups Almond Milk
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Water
- 2 leaves Swiss Chard or Lacinato Kale, chopped
- 1/4 Avocado
- 1/2 Cup Mango Chunks
- 1/2 Cup Ice

ENERGY SMOOTHIE (aka the PB&J smoothie as we call it)
from Alejandro Junger's Clean book

- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1-2 cardamom pods (or 1 tsp ground cardamom)
- 1 1/2 cup pure water
- 1 cup peaches
- 1/2 cup ice
(The recipe also calls for agave, but I don't recommend agave or any sweetener for that matter. You can read more here.)

CHOCO-NANA SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE (aka OMG I love this smoothie)
this is my concoction, though I have to thank Nicole @ LifeLessBullshit.com for the cheat sheet

- 1.5 Cups Almond Milk
- 2 Cups Swiss Chard or Lacinato Kale, chopped
- 1 Banana (I like to cut it up and freeze it)
- 1 tbsp Raw Cacao
- 1 tbsp Hemp Seeds
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Ice
- flax or chia to your preference (optional)

These are my three go-tos and they are all different and amazing. Plus, they are kid approved by my son.

Oh, and I found this awesome smoothie cheat sheet here: http://www.lifelessbullshit.com/green-smoothie/.  I left out step five, as I don't think most smoothies need added sweetener (and neither do we!).

Enjoy and remember to chew your smoothies!**


*Non-dairy milk is preferred.  I'll write a post about the "why" soon.
**Chewing fresh juices and smoothies activates saliva which helps aid digestion.  Plus, I think it helps you get full faster too.