Tag Archives: mushrooms

Lentils – It’s What’s for Lunch

Lentils are awesome.  I love the little green ones, the red ones, the big green ones.  They are so versatile and easy to make.  So, the arctic air got its grip on us once again and for some reason, I tend to make the comfort food when it’s cold out.  This was an easy recipe to make:  just a pot of lentils and some veggie sauté to top it off.  It’s very comforting and warm and filling and good for you.  I can work out after lunch and not feel like my stomach is churning because lentils digest very well for me.

The basic recipe for making lentils is a 2 to 1 ratio of water to lentils.  Here, I cooked a 16 ounce bag of lentils in 4 cups of water, brought it to a boil and cooked them on medium low heat for 20 minutes:  very simple.  You may need to adjust the amount of fluid (you can use either veggie broth or water), depending on your elevation.  Some people will say not to salt the water because it makes the lentils tough, but I salt the water and my lentils cook up perfectly fine.  It’s really not brain surgery.  I made a whole pot of lentils so I can have lentils in the fridge to make some lentil burgers, or just to eat cold as a snack.

Lentils with Mushroom Saute

Lentils with Mushroom Sauté

Ingredients:

1 lb Lentils

4 Cups Water

8 Ounces Mushrooms

1 Small Zucchini, chopped

1 Medium Onion, chopped

2 Cups Chopped Kale

2 Teaspoons Curry Powder

½ Teaspoon Powdered Ginger

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Directions:

In a small stockpot, combine lentils and water. Add some salt to the water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, in a hot skillet, add the vegetable broth and vegetables. Sauté until tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Add more broth if needed. Serve on top of lentils. Makes 4 servings.

The Vegannaise Experiment

I’m the type of person that does things my own way. Plus, I tend to be cheap. If I can make something cheaper than buying it, I always take the cheapest option. I figure I can do it better myself anyway. Paying 5 bucks for a little jar of Vegannaise? Um, no thanks. Besides, there’s a ton of oil and other ingredients, that I don’t want, in Vegannaise.
Spring is springing. It hasn’t sprung yet, but it’s springing. It only got down to 36 last night. Yesterday was pretty nice here so we shoveled off the deck Snow on Deck
and made room for the grill. Nothing says ‘spring’ like the smell of grilling in the air. My favorite is grilled portabellos.
To get ready for grill season, I decided to take a crack at making vegannaise, without the oil. I tried a couple of variations. The one with oil in it tasted quite close to real mayonnaise, but it was quite runny. This one, using cashews, turned out with a great texture, but it definitely does taste like cashews. I don’t mind it though. It does have the ‘taste’ of mayo, kind of, but with a nutty aftertaste. I’ll keep working on it to perfect it, but in the meantime, this is still a tasty alternative. Served on a grilled portabello and bun, it’s like springtime on a plate. Hope you like it.
Vegan No Oil Mayonnaise

Ingredients:
¾ Cup Raw Cashews
6 oz. Silken Tofu
1 Tablespoon Almond Milk
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Process until completely smooth and thick.

Chickpea Burgers with Curry Peanut Sauce

After a couple of months of travelling, and working on the house, I just needed to try something new. Since I was always busy, I was resorting to whatever was quick and easy: soup, chili – whatever I could toss together into a pot and make a lot of so I would have leftovers. The weather’s getting a little nicer around here. It seems like the arctic death grip that has had its hold on our area is starting to lift a bit. So, now I’m starting to think more along the lines of fun food, picnic food, grilling, etc. Today I threw together some chickpea burgers, of course, with some mushrooms and onions in them to raise the nutrient levels. It was a typical burger template: some sort of wet veggie (the mushrooms), with some sort of beans (chickpeas), some spices, and then a binder (the oatmeal). Using that template, you can really adjust your burger to your mood. hmmm…I feel kind of South Pacific today. Okay, so curry it is. I wouldn’t necessarily call this Thai or Indian. The sauce is sort of Thai and the burgers are sort of Indian, but with my own flare (and considering what I had in the pantry). I didn’t have limes, so I adjusted the sauce to taste kind of Thai. I don’t have a lot right now in the pantry, so I just went with what I have.
My daughter ate one burger on bread and the other one she ate off the pan, dipping it in the sauce. I had mine on romaine and red onion with some roasted pepitas on top (I roasted them the last 5 minutes that the burgers were baking). These aren’t that hard to make; it just takes time. So, I worked on other things while they were baking.
Hope you enjoy them.
Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients:
Chickpea Burgers:
8 oz. Mushrooms
1 Small Onion
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
2, 15 oz. Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Teaspoons Curry Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
3 Tablespoons Whole Oats
Lightly Toasted Pepitas for garnish

Curry Peanut Sauce:
½ Cup Canned Coconut Milk
¼ Cup Raw Cashews
3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Liquid Aminos
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Directions:
For the burgers: Preheat oven to 375◦. In a food processor, combine the mushrooms and onion. Process until finely chopped. To a hot skillet, add the vegetable broth. When broth is heated, add in the mushroom/onion mixture. Sauté until broth evaporates and onions are translucent.
Process the chickpeas in food processor until finely chopped. Add chickpeas to the mushroom mixture. Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten out and lightly oil the tops of the burgers. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and thick.

Serve burgers on lettuce, topped with the peanut sauce and pepitas. Makes 10 burgers.

Vegan Flautas with Homemade Taco Sauce and Cashew Crema Fresca

I like Mexican food – real Mexican food, not, like, Taco Bell Mexican food. I love the mix of the spices and the fresh taste. It’s kind of comfort food for me, for some reason. It’s satisfying food. Anyway, Mexican food lends itself well to vegan food. Grilled veggies are a great substitute for the grilled meat. In this recipe, you don’t even really notice that it’s not meat in the flauta. Well, technically, this really isn’t a flauta. A flauta is deep fried, not broiled. I think these would be hard to deep fry and it’s not necessary anyway: they’re tasty without the extra grease.I was excited because this recipe makes 8 burritos and I thought I would have a few lunches and dinners, but my kids ended up eating all of them so, alas, I don’t have any left overs.

This may seem like it has a lot of steps, but they’re easy steps and worth the time. The homemade taco sauce is tasty and the crema fresca really adds that tangy, slightly sweet taste and the fresh taste of the tomato and avocado on top adds a little pop to it. I hope you enjoy it.

Vegan Burritos

Ingredients:

Taco Sauce:
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
1 ½ Cups Water
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dry Minced Onion
2 ½ Teaspoons Cumin Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
¾ Teaspoons Salt
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ Teaspoon Turbinado Sugar
¼ Teaspoon White Pepper (can use cayenne for more heat)

Burrito:
2 Cup Cauliflower Florets
6 Ounces Mushrooms
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Black Beans
½ Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Bell Pepper
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Mexican Oregano
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Salt, to taste
8 Corn Tortillas
Chopped Tomato and Chopped Avocado for garnish
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Cashew Crema Fresca:
1 Cup Raw Cashews
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Canned Coconut Milk
1 ½ Teaspoons White Vinegar
½ Teaspoon Salt

Directions:
For Taco Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes.
For Burritos: In a food processor, combine cauliflower and mushrooms. Process until well chopped (resembling about the size of grains of rice). In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable broth until warm. Add in the cauliflower mixture, black beans, bell pepper, onion, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Heat until the vegetable broth soaks into the mixture and the water cooks off of the mushrooms (a little over 5 minutes).
Warm the tortillas until pliable (I heated them in the microwave for about 20 seconds). Place ¼ cup of the vegetable mixture in the center of each tortilla and roll up. Place on broiler pan and spray oil lightly. Broil about 2 minutes until the one side is slightly crispy.
For the Crema Fresca: Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender or food processor. Process until very smooth and slightly thick. Adjust salt and vinegar as required. It should taste a bit like runny sour cream.
To assemble the burritos: Place the tortilla on plate. Top with tomato and avocado. Drizzle with taco sauce and crema fresca.

Sprouting – Lentil Sprouts

So I had one of those ‘where-have-you-been-all-my-life’ sort of moments this morning. But, let me back track a bit to give you the back-story of how I got to this moment.
In my paleo days, I started sprouting brown rice. Anything that would heal my gut was a ‘you had me at hello’ deal. I started reading about sprouting because there’s a compound in grains and legumes called phytic acid. Phytic acid not only inhibits the way enzymes work in your body, but it also binds with calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. Since I was having a tough time absorbing minerals (I’ve been in a pernicious anemia state now for a few years, even though I’m relatively young), I was in for sprouting. Mainly I was doing brown rice because my family likes halvah bars and I was making a gluten free version with sprouted brown rice flour (which you can’t find in my neck of the woods). I also tried mung bean sprouts because my husband likes Chinese food with sprouts in it.
I had heard of lentil sprouts and it sounded tasty. I wasn’t a huge fan of alfalfa sprouts, at least not the ones you find in the store, because I always thought they had a bit of a moldy taste to them. But I gave lentil sprouts a try. Lentils are so cheap that if I didn’t like them, it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans (haha): I could just compost them. They were ready last night and I ate a handful right out of the jar, after I had rinsed them off. I don’t know what it is about them that was so good, but they’re really tasty. They’re a little peppery andBreakfast Porridge with Lentil Sprouts nutty. I really love the taste. After eating a couple of handfuls more, I decide that they’re definitely a keeper. So, this morning I threw a couple of handfuls into my mushroom quinoa breakfast porridge, along with some kale. It’s seriously good. I’ll probably add them to some soup for lunch and some stir fry for dinner: they’re that good. My youngest is eating them by the handful as well. There’s just something about them.

Here’s how I sprouted: I was sprouting brown rice in a mason jar with some cheesecloth over the opening, but now my husband bought me a sprouting jar which I like a lot. Not only is it more roomy, but it drains easily. But, if you want to try this today and you have no sprouting jar, the mason jar works fine. Or, if you’re crafty and have some plastic needlepoint fabric around the house, you can insert some of that into the mason jar lid ring and that will work very similarly to the sprouting jar. Put whatever you’re sprouting into the vessel of your choice and cover with twice as much water (when I did mung beans, I used very hot water) and let it sit overnight. Drain and rinse the next day. Rinse and drain again and let sit at a sideways tilt to allow air flow and good drainage. Rinse and repeat a couple of times a day until they start to sprout (mostly within 2-3 days). If you’re sprouting rice, you don’t need for it to get long sprouts: the sprouts on rice will be fairly short (to make rice flour, just dehydrate the sprouts and then grind them). For other sprouts, once the sprout comes out, you may want to put it in a window so the leaves will start to appear. You don’t have to wait for leaves to appear, though, to eat the sprouts. My lentil sprouts have very tiny leaves on them. If you’re looking for a more salad-y type of sprout, then leave them in the window for a few days after they sprout. There’s not a real science to it. It’s all about your personal taste. I hope you give it a try. It’s fun for the kids and good for you and tasty as well.Lentil Sprouts

Quinoa Mushroom Breakfast Porridge and Seasoning Mix

Lately I’ve been mostly making smoothies for breakfast, mainly because I just don’t know what to eat besides eggs for breakfast. Seriously, when you’re eating on the paleo diet, you’ll eat a lot of eggs: eggs in EVERYTHING. We ate so many eggs that I contemplated raising our own chickens to keep us supplied in eggs. (sorry to all those vegans I just offended) I’m not a huge fan of sweet breakfasts – they just don’t seem to hold me over. I had some oatmeal loaded with nuts and fruit and that was okay, but I just don’t get up in the morning and say, ‘mmmm mmmm oatmeal.’ I was going to make some sweet potato pancakes this morning, but I got up late and, by the time I did my devotions, I was hungry and wanted something quick. This was my solution. I’m not sure if a porridge is technically supposed to be sweet, but I’m calling it a porridge anyway. It’s got that comfort feel of a porridge and the heartiness I like to have for breakfast. This porridge really filled the whole house with a wonderful aroma. This smelled so good that I’m actually drawing my family over to the dark side to eat vegan. My husband loves the fact that it’s so much cheaper to eat vegan, and healthy. My kids just love the things I make. Seasoning The smell in the house this morning had everyone coveting my porridge.
Before I get to the porridge recipe, I’ll give you the recipe for my seasoning mix. Dr. Fuhrman’s recipes use Spike seasoning a lot. First of all, it’s pretty pricey. Second of all, I know it’s supposed to be all natural, but when I read the ingredients, it just doesn’t seem all that good to me. So, being me, I made my own. Here’s the recipe:Seasoning 2
Seasoning Mix

Ingredients:
¼ Cup Salt
1Tbsp. dried onions
1 Tbsp. Dried Garlic
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Dry Mustard
2 Tsp Basil
1 ½ Tsp Turmeric
1 ½ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp Garlic
1 Tsp Onion
1 Tsp. Dill
1 Tsp. Thyme
1 Tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 Tsp. Coriander Seed

Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a spice grinder or coffee mill until well mixed.

This tasted really good in my porridge. I’m excited to try it in more dishes now. I hope you enjoy this.

Quinoa Mushroom Breakfast Porridge
Quinoa Mushroom Breakfast Porridge

Ingredients:
7 Mushrooms, sliced
1 Small Sweet Potato, shredded
½ Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 Tbsp. Flax Meal
1 Tsp. Spike Seasoning
Vegetable Broth

Directions:
In a medium skillet, sauté mushrooms and sweet potato until soft and slightly caramelized (use vegetable broth to keep from sticking to the pan). Add seasoning and quinoa and enough vegetable broth to give it a porridge texture. Makes 1 serving.

Sunflower Chili

Soups and chilis have been my main staple lately. The weather here in upstate New York has been varying between freezing cold, snow, rain, and warmth. Soups kind of just fit the bill for my go-to food. It’s easy for the days that I want to take advantage of the beautiful weather while it’s here (like yesterday) and perfect for comfort food on the raw, nasty days. I try to prepare them like the Dr. Fuhrman book talks about: no oil, nuts for the protein and fiber, lots of beans. Sometimes I’ll add mushrooms and onions as well to satisfy the daily requirements of G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds). I haven’t worked berries into any of my soups yet. Maybe I’ll try strawberries in soup at one point because they do have a tomato-ey type of vibe to them. Maybe a miso soup with strawberries and ginger….hmmmm….maybe when I’m feeling a little more creative. Anyway, I made this super easy chili yesterday. It’s a great detox after the rich food we had on Christmas day and it’s easy so I’m not chained to the kitchen for an afternoon. The sweet potato gives it a little sweetness to the earthy chili flavor. You can add peppers and onion to it as well, even mushrooms. This was just a quick, toss-it-together type of chili. Give it a whir. I hope you like it.
Sunflower Chili 2 copy

Sunflower Chili

Ingredients:
(2) 28 oz. Cans Chopped Tomatoes
14 oz. Can Black Beans, drained
14 oz. Can Kidney Beans, drained
14 oz. Can Pinto Beans, drained
2/3 Cups Raw Sunflower Seeds
½ Cup Vegetable Stock
2 Med. Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
¼ Cup Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Cumin
2 Tsp. Granulated Garlic
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Add everything to a stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour (or until sweet potatoes are tender). Season as desired. Serves 10, 1 cup servings.