Autumn Pasta with Roasted Squash( Vegan, GF)


I love fall. Omg I love fall. I love fall for so many reasons but mostly because fall hosts my three favorite holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also had a particularly difficult summer so I welcome a new season with open arms. New season means a fresh start, right? Seeing signs for pumpkin patches and pumpkin flavored everything at the grocery stores, have filled me with more happiness than I’ve felt in months. Also fall means comfy stews!
Unfortunately, I still live in Los Angeles for the next few months. So it’s still hot. I bought butternut squash last time I went to Whole Foods and I have spent three days dreaming up what the heck I was going to do with it. Every time I’d lurk Pinterest id find stews stews and more stews. Too hooooot. So I combined the power of autumn and the last gasps of September heat to create this pasta dish, to usher in change ever so gently. It’s vegan and gluten-free. I used:

3 cups cubed Butternut squash

3 zucchini, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 package brown rice pasta

1 can white Cannellini beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh spinach

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cloves chopped garlic

Oregano

Olive Oil

Fresh pepper to taste

Set oven to 400

Place squash and zucchini on baking sheet or on foil lined with olive oil.

Sprinkle more olive oil on top and toss to coat veggies. Add oregano and fresh pepper.

Roast for 40 minutes, tossing half way through to cook evenly.

Cook pasta according to package ( I prefer al dente especially with brown rice pasta)…rinse in cold water and set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet fry brown onion and garlic. Add tomatoes and paste. Add spinach and beans last and simmer low, stirring occasionally.

Remove roasted squash from oven. Assemble and layer as you like. I did pasta, veggies, sauce on top. Or section like a Buddha Bowl. Maybe top with vegan or non- vegan cheese. Boom! Buh-bye summer.



Xoxo

Tofu & Sweet Potato Mexi Scramble (Vegan)

One of my FAVORITE ways to cook, when I am at my most creative, are the times when there isn’t much in the house and I have to whip something together using the humble remains of my last shopping trip. That’s the fun stuff right there! I made this scramble for dinner though it would obvi make an excellent vegan breakfast.

It all started with a package of extra firm tofu and some pre-sliced sweet potato. You can use a veggie spiralizer or sharp knife to prepare your own with peeled sweet potatoes. I started with sautéing the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes in just a little bit of olive oil. Then adding 1/2 cup of veggie broth and cooking for 20 minutes more or until tender while adding pepper, salt and garlic powder. Then I added some raw spinach.


If I had an onion I would have definitely chopped and tossed that in but sadly I did not. 

In a separate small pot I heated up a can of organic, vegetarian refried black beans.

Back in the skillet I added the firm tofu, chopped in cubes, chili powder, hot sauce and jalapeños. It was REALLY spicy so adjust to your own taste buds, bud.


I broke up the tofu with a spatula and I cooked on a high flame, keeping it moving.

Experiment: Success! I would have just added a chopped onion and maybe some fresh peppers instead of chili powder but I was happy with it and so was my friend who gobbled it down…


Xoxo

Freshest Oil-Free End of Summer Salads

Hot days make me want cool salads and I don’t do creamy dressings. I usually go with a balsamic or oil and vinegar type of deal. I had been reading a lot of blogs and articles about whether or not oil is the devil and while I don’t think I could ever be convinced that olive oil is nothing less than liquid magic, I have recently grown suspicious of coconut oil, which I have previously used pretty liberally.

I didn’t miss the oil at all in these super fresh salads tossed in nothing but fresh squeezed lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, fresh ground pepper and my secret weapon by Flavor God: 


Love this stuff and if you are watching your sodium intake, check them out. Love their pizza flavor too. Awesome on popcorn.

This salad was simply tomato, cucumber onion:


This one watercress, tomato, avocado:


Minimalism, hell yeah.

Xoxo

D

Southwest Millet with Roasted Sweet Potato (vegan, gluten-free)

While I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I am actively trying to eat less meat. Much less. This blog has been a great way for me to experiment with that and this was very much an experiment.

I’ve been fascinated by unusual grains lately and ordered millet, amaranth and sorghum  from Amazon.com. Here is my first attempt cooking with millet.

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2 cups chopped sweet potato

pepper

garlic salt

coconut cooking spray

1 cup millet

80z vegetable broth

1 orange bell pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2 tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup chopped white mushrooms

hot sauce

 

First you are going to roast the cut up sweet potatoes on a baking sheet (I lined mine with foil), spray with coconut oil spray and add fresh ground pepper and garlic salt. Roast on 375 for 40 min, turning over and re-spraying half way.

While those are baking, toast the millet on it’s own in a big sauté pan with a lid for 5-8 min. Add coconut oil and mushrooms, peppers, onions and mix it all up. Add 2 cups of water and cook covered for 30 min.

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Open the lid after 30 min and add black beans, chopped tomatoes, veggie broth and 1/2 cup more water if needed, depending on whether you like a more al dente or porridge-like texture. Cook an additional 15 min. Add hot sauce to taste.

xoxoxo

D

Review: Sun Cafe Organic Studio City, CA (Vegan, vegetarian, raw, GF, organic)

I have been wanting to try this place since I began curiously stalking Vegans on Instagram backin December. Though Little Pine is still my favorite Los Angeles veggie restaurant, Sun Cafe Organic easily takes the #2 spot. It’s also bigger and more inviting than Little Pine and better for more casual dining. I also found the food to be on the heather side as opposed to say, Doomie’s Kitchen. Just off Ventura Blvd, you enter through its airy and shady  outdoor seating. My companion and I dined inside because it’s the middle of summer in the Valley and it’s really, really, REALLY hot but I made a mental note to come back on a cooler day and sit outside with a nice book and one of their green juices or smoothies that I didn’t get to try first time around. 


Like I said, I wanted to try ALL THE FOODS but settled on a BBQ cauliflower appetizer and the pizza of the day, Fig and Tempeh Bacon pizza, topped with a generous portion of fresh arugula which made it more like a refreshing pizza salad, perfect for hot day. It was delicious and the first time I had tried cashew cheese and tempeh bacon. Both these flavors went amazing with the fig. I find myself craving it days later. The BBQ cauliflower was excellent as well and not battered and fried which I liked. A little lighter and more flavorful then similar dishes I’ve tried in other restaurants. 


As much as I wanted to try one of their smoothies, it would have been too much with this meal, however I did try their ginger Kombucha which was so good and more like a crisp cider. I swore I felt a buzz though I think it was in my head.


Folks on IG were raving about the desserts so I couldn’t leave without a bite. We split the raw cookie-dough cheesecake which was pretty decent and I had their Chai tea which was so delicious I didn’t need almond milk or sweetener. It paired perfectly. 

Definitely planning a Round 2 before I leave Los Angeles for good in Feb. Stay tuned! 

Xoxo,

D

Vegan Creamy Pesto Sauce


I don’t have much to say about this recipe except that it’s my new favorite sauce everrrrrr and I love my Vitamix. Saw a lot of variations on this sauce on the net, here was my swing at it…

– 2 ripe avocados

-4 whole peeled garlic cloves

-1 cup parsley 

-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

– juice from half a lemon 

– 1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

– Cooked pasta of choice ( I used brown rice pasta)

Cook pasta, rinse in cool water, set aside.

Put everything else in the Vitamix. Blend on low until smooth.

Mix into pasta. Bam! Vegan. Amazing. So so so easy.

I paired it with a salad; butter lettuce, red beets, chilled steamed asparagus, balsamic and pepper, that’s it! Try it now. Right now.

I imagine this would also be an awesome vegan creamy salad dressing or alternative sauce for a Benedict recipe. 


Xoxoxo

D

The Most Hurried of Curry

I love love love curries and stir-frys because they are such a super easy and fast way to eat healthy and the possibilities are truly endless. I mentioned in a previous post my recent craving for tofu so I decided to make an awesome curry skillet dish with a fresh brick of firm, organic tofu. I didn’t make the sauce from scratch and I feel guilty, my last post wasn’t a scratch sauce either…though I like to add my own extra goodies to pre-made sauces. I do promise that my next recipe will have a totally, completely homemade sauce. I swear!

I started with the base veggies. It’s all about the base. Onions, GARLIC, zucchini, mushrooms and a red bell pepper I found in my fridge, on it’s last legs. I’ve been all about olive oil lately, I think there is something to that magical stuff, I mean look at how beautiful Italians are. But since the curry sauce I was using already had a coconut base, I decided to use coconut oil to stir-fry the veggies until lightly tender. I knew i’d also be simmering them in the sauce so didn’t want over cook…plus I like my cooked veggies crisp, soggy veggies are gross.

 

 

When that was all nice and browned I added my precious super firm organic tofu and gave it all another little toss before sprinkling VERY generously with lots of TURMERIC and pepper.

 

I also tossed in some of my favorite nutrient packed goodies that you barely even notice are in there but your body thanks you like, way later. Right now super into hemp seeds. I use this brand, got it on Amazon.com

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Then I added the curry sauce (I picked a yellow Thai curry, thanks again Whole Foods) and let simmer covered on LOW while I cooked the noodles. I have been super into rice noodles and pastas for the past couple of years and it’s pretty much the only ones I buy now.

 

It’s very important to not overcook the noodles, ESPECIALLY with rice noodles (I always undercook by a minute or two) and then IMMEDIATELY drain and run under cold water so they don’t stick together into one gnarly noodle blob monster. I separate them with my fingers while I run the cold water through them and then set aside for when I was ready to add them to the curry and veggie skillet, just long enough to mix it all together but not cook the noodles too much.

I topped with this funky coconut/peanut stuff my mom turned me on to used on Indonesian dishes (fusion, ok?) but you definitely don’t have to and “as is” this bomb dish is vegan and gluten-free. Woot!

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xoxoxo

D

Pinterest Score: Paleo Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Let me start off by being clear that this is NOT my recipe. I found it on Pinterest trying to figure out what to do with these two cans of organic pumpkin I got from Thrive Market months ago, and have been sitting in my cupboards taking up space. I have always been more of a cook than a baker, I don’t have the scientific mind (or patience) but I have been trying to improve my baking skills.

The recipe is by Wholesomelicious.com

I am not Paleo but I prefer to bake Paleo because I feel like it’s healthier, in that there is no refined sugar or dairy. And I love baking with almond flour!

Here is the photo of the finished cookies from Wholesomelicious:

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I was pretty sure this wasn’t going to come out well, as my last two baking attempts were meh. There wasn’t any egg in the recipe which made me suspicious and I was sure they probably wouldn’t come out very pretty…but I was down for the challenge. And now I can’t wait to try more recipes on this blog because my cookies came out pretty freakin’ awesome. I enjoyed two and let my bestie gobble down the rest. I love that they are small too. I also loved the texture…nice and chewy but soft on the inside. The recipe suggests forming into ping-pong sized balls, rolling them in the Snickerdoodle coating mixture and flattening with a glass. I’m classy so I used a champagne glass. 🙂 Please ignore the state of this old cookie sheet, my favorite one needed to be washed and I was lazy today…

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But even with an ugly pan…I was very pleased with how they came out. Success!

I bet these would be amazing during the autumn months. I would definitely make these again. They are going in the favorites vault!

Get the full recipe here. I want to try her grain-free dark chocolate raspberry brownies next wowowowow: 

http://www.wholesomelicious.com/grain-free-pumpkin-snickerdoodles/

xoxoxo

D

 

Veggie Forbidden Rice Ramen

Comforting, Nourishing, Filling, Easy, Vegetarian (with a Vegan option) AND Gluten-Free. Niiiiiiiiice.

This was my first attempt at making a ramen soup and though this is far from a traditional ramen recipe, I was pretty proud of how it turned out, both in taste and aesthetically. 

I’m crazy so I made this on a hot night in the middle of summer but it was worth it.

I found these Forbidden Rice ramen noodles at Whole Foods and knew I had to make something with it. Black noodles for a former goth girl, too cool. And though I am far from vegetarian, I was having a killer craving for tofu.IMG_0113IMG_0114I

I used extra firm tofu which I highly recommend. Another item I had that I was excited to use were these kelp flakes I found on Amazon.com. I was reading an article about the health benefits of kelp and immediately ordered a giant bag. I LOVE Amazon for finding food items not easily found in grocery stores. I swear they have everything. Everything. Some benefits of kelp: regulation of thyroid, promotes healthy skin and hair, packed with potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Even said to aid in burning excess fat. Hell yeah!

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So here’s what I did:

Boil the Forbidden Rice ramen according to the package, drain in the strainer then VERY QUICKLY run cold water threw the noodles, separating with your fingers. When the noodles feel nice and cool, set them aside.

Fill a large pot with about 4 cups of water and let boil. Once it’s to a nice rolling boil add:

  • Three packets of miso soup mix
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 2 bunches bok choy
  • 1 cup white mushrooms (or really any mushrooms you want)

Allow the soup to boil on low. While that is going down:

Soft boil two eggs (approx 7 minutes) drain and let sit in cold water. 

Chop into cubes:

  • Extra Firm Tofu

Peels the soft boiled eggs and set aside. Add the tofu to the soup mixture. Cook another 10 minutes.

Now my FAVORITE part. Presentation! I love this part. I love seeing a person’s face when I present them with pretty food.

I kept the noodles separate so they didn’t over cook. I use a lot of rice noodles and pasta and I can tell you, it is extremely easy to overbook them. Mushy noodles are gross.

So assemble your ramen bowls by grabbing your desired portion of noodles, I did about a handful and place it into the bowl. THEN scoop the broth and broth filling over the noodles with a large soup spoon. Slice the soft boiled eggs in two and place a half in the bowl. Lastly I sprinkled with the kelp flakes. Black on Black! Here’s how mine looked:

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PRETTY! Leave the egg out and BAM…it’s Vegan. Ramen is so pretty. I need to make a gallery post. Send me pics of your homemade ramen!

xoxoxo

D