Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie

I was craving something hearty the other night and, after some googling and recipe combining, came up with this version of a Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie.  It could be made vegan by using oil instead of butter for sautéing the vegetables and using a vegan mashed potato topping.  I went the lazy route and used some Costco pre-made mashed potatoes that contained butter and milk.

Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie

  • 1/2 c onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c butternut squash, chopped (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c dry lentils
  • 1/4 c pearl barley
  • 2.5 c vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3 c prepared mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Bring 1.5 cups vegetable broth to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Stir in lentils and barley.  Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

2. In a large dutch oven, melt better.  Saute  onions, carrots, celery, butternut squash and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Stir in flour and stir quickly for about 30 seconds.  Slowly stir in 1 c vegetable broth, stirring carefully to incorporate all the flour.  Simmer until sauce thickens and looks creamy.

3.  Add lentil/barley mixture to the veggie/sauce mixture and stir until combined.

4. Pour into a greased 2 qt casserole dish.

5.  Top with about 3 cups of prepared mashed potatoes.

6.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are just starting to brown and filling is bubbly.

Dinner is served.

Want to know what my kids did while I was prepping this dinner?  They used the rest of the mushrooms to make fungus shot glasses.  They pulled out the stems, poured in water and took shots.  I had to put my foot down when they asked if I had some quarters.

Filling the Mushroom Shot Glass

This was after her fourth water shot.

I didn’t tell them, but they really did me a nice favor by pouring out half the Brita pitcher worth of water onto their table.  It was nice and clean afterwards.


Cookie Dough Oatmeal (Vegan)

Another quote from a great 90s sitcom to follow-up the Seinfeld quote from Monday:

Ross: It tastes like feet!
Joey Tribbiani: Well, I like it.
Ross: Are you kidding?
Joey Tribbiani: I mean, what’s not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!
(from Friends Thanksgiving episode in 1999, Ross and Joey talking about Rachel’s meat trifle)

Oatmeal, good.
Cookie dough, good
Together?  Good.
What’s not to like?
This recipe started with my version of the Cookie Dough Dip from Peas and Thank You.

Cookie Dough Topping

(inspired by Peas and Thank You)

  • 1 c. raw cashews
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 T. almond milk
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
  1. Combine cashews, almond butter, maple syrup, agave, nutritional yeast, salt and vanilla in a blender or food processor and blend to combine.
  2. Add almond milk slowly, until the mixture reaches a peanut butter like consistency.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.

This recipe would also be good with peanut butter in place of the almond butter, that is if you like peanut butter cookie dough.  Mmmmmm.

I made it one night, planning on using it for a dip.  The next morning, however, as I looked at my very plain bowl of steel cut oats, I felt inspired to go a little crazy.  Don’t tell me my life isn’t exciting.
Oatmeal, meet faux cookie dough.  They liked each other a lot.  They may have even gotten a room.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever used as an oatmeal topping?



Kale – What’s Your Beef With Me?

First there was the kale smoothie blender accident.  I assumed it was all my fault.  Seriously, anyone distracted enough to push down something into a moving blender has no one to blame but themselves if they get injured in the act.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried my hardest to find some way to put the blame on my kids, husband and/or the blender.  I tried, but ended up placing the blame on myself.  Until yesterday….

I was having a nice Wednesday afternoon and decided to make another batch of kale chips.  I had washed and trimmed the kale and put it into (my very favorite) glass mixing bowl. As I turned to walk towards the counter, I slipped on some water on the floor, completely lost my footing and slammed my bowl and head into the cabinet as I fell hard onto my knees.  The bowl shattered, sending glass flying all over the tile floor. I froze for a second, reached up to see if my head was bleeding (only a little) and looked down to see blood pouring out of my thumb and forefinger.  I started to get woozy  and try to think rationally about what to do next.  My two year old came running and I yelled for him to stop so he and his cute little bare feet wouldn’t come any closer to the glass shards.  He started to get upset because I yelled and, calling on all my mama strength, I changed the tone of my voice and told him that mama had a big ouch and there was sharp glass all over the floor and could he please go back into the living room (all the while trying to take deep breaths and not freak out at the blood).

Side note – I don’t do blood well.  At all.  I tried to give blood once and literally passed out when they pricked my finger for the initial blood test.  I also passed out at the doctor’s office during a pregnancy blood draw and earned myself the distinction of doing all my other blood draws (there are LOTS during pregnancy) in the children’s lab work room, complete with cartoon characters and balloons, so I could lay down on the couch in there and stare at Dora instead of the lab tech and needle and vial.

I grabbed a clean towel and wrapped it tightly around my hand,  shuffled the kids into the living room, put on a cartoon (thank you DVR) and laid down until the ‘I’m about to pass out’ feeling’ subsided.

I psyched myself up, went upstairs alone and faced the wounds.  There were two bad ones, but the skin was starting to move back together, so I didn’t think an Urgent Care visit was needed.  I had fresh Hydrogen Peroxide and Neosporin, thanks to our Valentine’s night trip to CVS after the kid’s tooth-meets-forehead incident.  There was a good inch long gash on my right thumb (which has made texting rather impossible) and a 1 cm cut on my forefinger that were both rather messy.  I had about 5 other small cuts on the right hand too, as well as a cut on my calf and elbow.  When I get hurt, I like to go all out.  Come strong or don’t come at all.

I bandaged up, came back downstairs to the kids and decided my mothering for the day was over.  In went a movie for the kids and I crashed on the couch with a book.  The kids were in heaven, as movies are typically only watched on Friday nights.  They kinda liked Injured Mama as it meant 2.5 hours of television.  Let’s hope they don’t start deliberately spilling water on the kitchen floor.

So, two really painful and bloody incidents in 6 months, both involving kale.  Coincidence?  Or something more sinister?

What the hale, Kale?

I finally got around to making a batch of kale chips last night and ate them all with my bandaged fingers today.  Take that kale.

Sweet Potato Cashew Kale Chips

Inspired by the Sweet Potato Cashew Cheese from Choosing Raw

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp miso
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
3/4-1 c water

Add cashews, salt, miso, nutritional yeast and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add sweet potato and blend to smooth.  Add water and blend.

Mix sauce with 1 head of kale, washed and torn, in a mixing bowl (maybe use plastic bowl 🙂 ).

When kale is coated, spread onto dehydrator trays.

Dehydrate at 110 for 2-3 hours, or until desired crispness is reached.

Notice I’m using my good hand.

Cabbage Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Cilantro and I weren’t friends until about 3 years ago.  One day I woke up, realized it was indeed delicious and, ever since, have been on a mission to eat enough cilantro to make up for all that I missed for my 30ish years of cilantro-abstaining.  One nice thing about living in San Antonio, TX is that cilantro is crazy cheap year round, as in no more than 3/$1.

I modified the Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette in Viva Vegan to make the following dressing.  Which I may have eaten with a spoon before putting on my greens.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

1/4 c EVOO
1/4 c grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients and blend until smooth.

I tossed it with a bag of cole slaw mix, topped with even more cilantro, to make a really light and refreshing salad.

I ate about half the bowl for lunch one day and then used the rest atop a green salad for the next day’s lunch.

For the ease and low cost, I’ll be making this one again.  The slaw would also be good in soft corn tortilla tacos or wrapped in collard leaves.

You tell me:

Cilantro – love it or hate it?  It seems to be an all or nothing kind of herb.

Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

Raw food can be time-consuming to prepare, but it can also be made in 3 minute like this soup from last week.  And, in case my husband is reading (which is highly unlikely), I still love, love, love my VitaMix!



Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cayenne (to taste)
  • 1/2 in ginger
  • 1/2-1 c water (as needed to blend)

Add all ingredients and blend to smooth.  Add more water if needed.





Curried Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas

The moms from my Bible study class had a holiday lunch gathering.  I knew there would be a Chick-Fil-A nugget tray, but after recently reading Eating Animals (and other books), I have moved from eating mostly vegetarian to being a vegetarian.  No nuggets for me.  At the same time, I also didn’t want to make a big deal about it with my friends and make anyone uncomfortable, so I made this salad for my meal.

In the spirit of keeping it real, my kids did eat the nuggets.  I’m trying to navigate the waters when it comes to how I feed them in social situations when all of their peers are eating food that I don’t feel good about.  My kids don’t currently share my convictions.  They are 5 & 2 – clearly they don’t get the implications of factory farming and other moral dilemmas associated with eating meat.  I don’t serve them meat at home and very rarely order it for them when we are out as a family.  However, once or twice a month we are in a situation like this where I have trouble asking them to forgo what all of their friends are eating.  I load up their plates with fruit and veggies and crackers and all the non-meat sides, but I do let them have the meat.

Okay, on to the recipe:

Curried Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas

  • 1 cup quinoa – I used sprouted, but regular would work fine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin

Bring all ingredients to a boil and cover, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

When cool, toss with:

  • 1 green apple, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c diced cilantro
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 c diced green onions

Mix up and stir in dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

A couple of days later the kids and I went on an outing and I enjoyed the salad again as a picnic lunch, while they ate pb&j.

Any other mamas out there facing this same dilemma with allowing/not allowing your kids to eat something based on your personal convictions?

Do you agree that it is quite hard to explain to a child that young why they aren’t allowed to eat something with all their friends, or am I taking the easy way out?


There is an (Cran)App for that: Raw CranAppOrange Relish

Super easy Raw Cranberry Apple Orange Relish

  • 1/2 bag cranberries
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange, peeled

Blend together in the VitaMix until a chunky sauce forms.  Let it sit overnight in the fridge for flavors to blend and cranberries to soften.  It is very tart, so you might add some sweetener to mellow it out if you wish.  But me?  I like it tart.  Mmm, saucy….