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Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

I know that there has been a lot of groaning about the weather on this blog lately due to the fact that I seriously dislike the summer. It’s all hot and sticky and I’ll all sweaty and cranky. It’s not my favorite season.

But, I will grudgingly admit, summer has its perks. Ok, maybe just one- fresh produce! I am loving going to the farmers markets on the weekend and getting fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the grocery stores have more selection. I went into Whole Foods this weekend and the produce area was packed. It was like a Produce Utopia! I had to fight to stick to my very specific grocery list  and not buy one of everything, which was really really hard!

With that said, I’ve been eating a ton of salads. It’s so easy just to cut up a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies and dump them in a bowl. This means I’ve been seriously slacking in the hot meals area lately. The closest I come to my stove is to make a big pot of grains to get me through the week and then I avoid it like the plague.

But last week, my new favorite blog, Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth, posted this recipe and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t know why- It’s just a stir-fry. But I think its close enough to my “cut-produce-up-and-dump-in-bowl” theory that I was convinced I needed to make it.

And I’m SO glad I did. It is insanely delicious.

Cashew Ginger Rice Bowl
from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth

 Serves 1

1/2 cup cooked brown rice ( I used brown Basmati Rice)
1/2 cup unshelled edamame
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced (approximately 1/2 of the pepper)
1/2 cup onion, diced (approximately 1/2 of the onion)
1/2 cup carrots, shredded (approximately 1 large carrot)
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth (I use Pacific)
2 Tbsp chopped cashews
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Cook brown rice according to package instructions.

In a medium pan, combine the vegetable broth, soy sauce, and ginger together over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, carrots, and the spinach. Cook the vegetables until they absorb most of the cooking liquid and become tender. Add in the unshelled edamame and stir until cooked. Add the cooked brown rice and gently mix into the vegetables. Top with chopped cashews. Serve hot.

I can’t tell you why I love this recipe so much. Maybe it’s simply because I was craving something hot. More likely though, this recipe just has the right mix of veggies. All the health articles I read say you should eat lots of different colored produce so your getting all sorts of nutrients and this recipe definitely has color!

And if you haven’t checked out RFFMBT, yet, definitely do so. Catherine has a great story to share, yummy recipes and a revamped food pyramid that I love. She also has a section that shows what you should be eating for each meal and what 1 portion equals. For instance, one portion of quinoa is not a bowl full- it’s actually only 1/2 cup. Definitely good to know!

And make sure to keep checking in this week. I was very productive this weekend and managed to actually make more then one thing! Yeah for regular posts on WV again =)

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LASAGNA!

I’m such an old lady.

tofu ricotta

Monday night I had a laundry list of things to do, including post this uber yummy lasagna recipe. What did I end up doing? Having dinner, crawling into my bed (because it was so frickin’ cold in my house that night!) to watch back episodes of New Girl and Once Upon a Time and falling asleep at 9.

…I’m so exciting…

Spinach mixture

I did manage to call Rent-a-center to see about renting a big screen TV. $500!! FOR ONE DAY! I laughed out loud when they told me that because my brother rented a TV from there in December and it was about $25 for two weeks. Talk about inflation. Is that even legal?? So despite practically having already planned out my menu for the Super Bowl, we kind of hit a snag with what we are doing. Ideas are welcome because our TV is really bad.

 

On a different note, I realized while looking over old posts that I’ve been giving you a lot of desserts and a lot of soups/stews. I thought I’d spice things up and throw in a comfort food recipe. After all, what is the winter for but to hibernate…which is clearly what my body is trying to do.

Vegetable Lasagna
adapted from my Mom’s veggie lasagna recipe

Marinara Sauce – homemade or jar (1-2 jars, depending on how saucy you like it)

12 lasagna noodles

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch thick slices

2 TBLS olive oil

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

2 TBLS all purpose flour

2/3 cup non-dairy milk, warmed (I used unsweetened, unflavored almond milk)

2 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 TBLS plus ¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 bowl of vegan ricotta cheese (see below)

1-2 cups of vegan mozzarella cheese

Vegan ricotta cheese
from Healthydiaries.com 

14 oz. box medium firm or firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
dash of black pepper

Mash tofu with a fork. Add all other ingredients. Continue mashing until it has a ricotta-like texture. Set aside. (If you want it super smooth, you could put the tofu in a blender or food processor before adding the other ingredients. I just mashed it with a fork and it came out great.)

Prepare Marinara sauce, if making homemade.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepot, cook lasagna noodles as label directs.  Drain and rinse with cold running water.  Return noodles to saucepot with enough cold water to cover.

Preheat over to 450.  In large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 TBLS oil, ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.  Arrange zucchini slices on large cookie sheet and bake, turning once, until tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 TBLS oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook until garlic is golden.  Stir in flour until blended.  With wire whisk, gradually whisk in warm non-dairy milk with wooden spoon.  Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened and boils, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in spinach, 2 TBLS nutritional yeast and ¼ tsp salt.

Turn oven to 350.  Drain lasagna.

In 13 x 9 baking dish, spread about 1 cup marinara sauce.  Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit.  Spread tofu ricotta mixture on top of noodles.  Arrange 4 more noodles over “ricotta” and top with all of zucchini, overlapping slices to fit.  Spread with 1 cup sauce and sprinkle with half of mozzarella; top with all of spinach mixture.  Arrange remaining 4 noodles on top and spread with remaining marinara sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Cover lasagna with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until cheese is lightly golden, about 10 minutes longer.  Let stand 15 minutes for easier serving.


Fresh Outta the Oven

I was super excited to try the tofu ricotta. It was actually really good. Though, seeing as regular ricotta gives me the heebie jeebies, I was clearly going to favor the tofu version!

Overall though, this lasagna has a ton of flavor. I’m not a marinara sauce kinda gal. I was the type growing up who had her spaghetti with butter and salt…cause I didn’t like the shake from a can parm either.  So, I only used one jar of sauce. It didn’t go very far, though, so if you want your lasagna saucy, definitely pick up two jars.

 

I’m off to go act my age. No more 9 o’clock bed times for me! Er, what do 20 somethings do? Drink copious amounts of alcohol on the beach? Have sex with strangers? Let my vajayjay hang out while I dance on bar tops? I mean, that’s what those Jersey Shore kids do right? That’s totally appropriate behavior for a work night, right???

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This post is dedicated to Amelia…because I stole her recipe… even though her sister gave it to me and told me to try it. Then again, she also put open markers in Amelia’s bed when she was little so maybe I shouldn’t trust her with Amelia’s things…

Anyways, I never had artichokes growing up. I’d never even tried one until I think after college when my roommate ordered it on pizza. I still don’t really get them and I certainly couldn’t make them edible if I was presented with one.

BUT…

I can saute them out of a can and then bake them into a dip! Oh yeah! Mad cooking skills right here! Hollah!

…I’m so cool…

Anyways, consider this part 3 of my Super Bowl recipes- BBQ Chili and Funfetti Footballs being Parts 1 and 2.

Amelia’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip
courtesy of  Theprettyvegan at Food.com

  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (I believe Amelia used fresh and it worked great but I’ll let he comment on that below if she wants)
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 -3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
 
Preheat the oven to 350. Saute the oil, spinach and artichoke hearts over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until the onions are soft. Set aside
 
In your blender, combine the rest of your ingredients until smooth.
 
Pour the tofu sauce into the pan with your spinach and artichokes and mix until fully incorporated. Transfer to a baking pan and bake for 15-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown (the recipe says 15-20 but mine needed the extra 5 minutes. Also, I used a 9″ round cake pan). If your pan is not non-stick, give it a quick spray with cooking spray before pouring your mixture in.

*I have no idea what “marinated artichoke hearts” are. Like I said, I’m an artichoke virgin. All I know is, nothing at Whole Foods had this on the label. So I opted for a can of organic artichoke hearts packed in water, not oil, and salt and pepper. They worked perfectly!

uncooked

This. Is. Delicious. I know my pictures are atrocious because I opted for that awful yellow background (sorry about that) and because quite frankly, artichoke and spinach dip just isn’t pretty! But trust me.

It’s also significantly healthier then a traditional spinach and artichoke dip which has tons and tons of cheese and mayo. It will help you and your friends keep those New Years Resolutions. Yeah, remember those?

In fact, I can’t think of one reason you shouldn’t make this recipe! So there!

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Happy 2012, everyone! I hope you had a safe and happy New Years. I kept things chill. I had dinner with a friend and then we dragged our butts to The Common. We attempted to watch the fireworks but had a meh view. But it was a good evening. I knew I didn’t want to start 2012 with a hang over- I wanted to be productive and start the year on a positive note- so we kept the drinks to a minimum. It was a perfect mix of celebratory and low key.

Now that the new year is here, I’m sure we are all sick of seeing chocolates and sweets everywhere. I know that I am! My body started to revolt against all the junk food the week before Christmas. I just couldn’t take it anymore! Everywhere I went there was sugary confections and big bowls of comfort food. I need something green and healthy, which is why this Green Monster Smoothie (or Green Monstah Smoothie, as we Bostonians call it!) is perfect for your post-holiday, new years-resolution diets.

Green Monstah Smoothies

from Oh She Glows

1 cup  almond milk
1 TBSP ground flax seed
1 TBSP nut butter (I used peanut butter)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 banana, frozen
3-4 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender in that order and blend until smooth. Consume and feel awesome!

I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this smoothly will make you feel great and full of energy. The week of Christmas, when I was working at my retail job after a full 8+ hours at my regular job, I had about 15 minutes to myself from when I arrived home to when I had to leave for my second job. I would make this and drink it in the car. It gave me so much energy that it was actually a problem one night when I was working behind the cash register and didn’t have any customers. I was dancing around my co-worker, John, because I couldn’t stand still. He kept giving me weird looks.  “It’s this awesome Green Monstah smoothie I made!!!” I said . “Did it have crack in it”, he asked. In fact, it does not! But it will help you shed that sluggish, junk food haze and help give you energy for all those New Years Resolutions. Yeah!

Speaking of resolutions, here are mine. I decided to put them on the back of my door so I can check in and see how I’m doing every once in a while.

Do you like number 5? That one comes courtesy of my friend, Haley. We have a $10 bet riding on that one so I definitely have to keep it! lol!

I’m pumped for 2012. I think its going to be great! What are some of your resolutions? You know, besides eat more vegan meals 😉

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