recipies

Ten Vegetarian Recipes I’ve Tried And Loved

veggierecipesyouwonthateI’ve had a very informal New Year’s resolution this year of trying one new recipe a week. Like everyone else, I tend to get into ruts.

If I plan on eating healthy throughout my life, I am going to need to expand my repertoire. And being healthy includes working with more vegetables. And I quite accidentally liked these ten vegetarian ones.

They are all easy, requiring less than 30 minutes of prep time (in a general way though the spinach pie should be the exception). Meatless Mondays anyone?

Stuffed Onions from Plenty cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi (Another person with a hard to spell ‘O’ last name like myself!)

Stuffed_onionsAlso this happens to be vegetarian, great if you’re going to one of those kind of potluck suppers where you are unsure of the crowd.

How to Make Fresh Pasta Dough In The Food Processor by Kitchn

Have more tomatoes than you know what to do with? Want to impress people but have it not actually work hard to do so? Have some picky eaters? This will meet all your needs.

freshpastadough

Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprout Lasagna with Yummy Mummy Kitchen

While mommy blogs usually leave me feeling left out (and like I should have lots of spare time on my hands), this recipe was so good, Derrick bragged about it to his friends and made them try it. Also you can make two and freeze one. (This is good enough to be worth the effort – might take you 45 minutes to do unless you are super efficient.)

butternutsquashlasagna

Roasted Corn and Tomato Soup from Williams Sonoma

If you are like me and have a bag of corn in the freezer all the time (or got suckered into buying 5 ears of corn for $1 and live alone), this is a great flavorful soup you can throw together when you have no idea what to make. And you can eat it a couple days in a row without wanting to hate corn forever.

roastedcornsoup

Tuscan Sweet Spinach Pie from NPR

You are kind of expecting for a recipe you hear on an NPR podcast to be a slight pain in the butt but I almost cried while making this (baking in general makes me weepy). Brought it to the almost in-laws house for Easter and I think I scared everyone. “It’s spinach pie but it’s sweet?” Yup. And as one of the most memorable things I’ve ever made I had to include it in my list.

tuscanspinachpie(Mine so did not look like that. Do yourself a favor and know there will be ‘extra’ dough and just save it for some lemon squares or something versus trying to make it all fit in there. Or buy premade crusts and shove some lemon zest into them… I might do that next time.)

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Kale Quesdillas from Cookie Monster Cooking

Good for those who like spice (though make less sweet potatoes than you think necessary because you’ll have plenty of extras). And by plenty, I mean you’ll eat them for a week and still have some left over.

Sweet-potato-black-bean-and-kale-quesadillas-web-1

Chocolate Fudge Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie

When Derrick said he was kind of ‘Meh’ on the pie, I ate the rest of it the next day. He was sad which means he really did like it. It has tofu in it, so you can feel self righteous as you eat a ton more than one serving. (Let it thicken overnight for a more pleasing consistency.)

tofu-pie_thumb

Beet Hummus via Shape

I don’t normally like to cook via infographic but this beet hummus was so good, two people at my poker game asked me for the recipe (I haven’t tried the others on here but we ate the beet hummus with toasted bread and carrot sticks.)

Southwestern Chopped Salad by The Garden Grazer

Sorry, I love black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro so this is all that is good in the world in my opinion. (Well all that is healthy good anyway.)

southwesternsalad2

 

Healthy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge by Creating Naturally

ChocolatePeanutButterFudge_thumb

 

I already blogged this but yeah, need I say more?

Anyway, in case you’re wondering what I got out of a year of cooking (on the vegetarian side anyway) this is it!

The Best Thing I’ve Found On Pinterest

Now those of you who are on Pinterest at 5:30 am know what a pinning fool I can be. As someone who reads and writes a lot in my daily life, there is something relaxing about sitting with my coffee on my pink couch and watching pretty and/or clever pictures go by on my phone.

You’ll also know if you’ve been reading the blog a few months that I’m on this ‘diet’. A big part of this has been me finding foods I can eat.

So I saw this go by from my friend Danielle and pinned it right away.

clean-chocolate

 

So I made it and it was awesome! And Derrick thought I made him a special treat and it took five minutes.

Here’s how to do this:

  • Equal amounts of cocoa powder, peanut butter, and coconut oil (liquified)- In my case, 1/4 cup of each
  • 1/2 amount of honey (so in this case 1/8 cup)
  • a bit of vanilla extract (in this case 1/2 tsp)

Whisk it all together and put in ramekins and stick in the fridge. Done!

And it takes only a few minutes to harden become chocolate ‘fudge’.

Seriously, I try a lot of Pinterest stuff that’s kind of ‘meh’ but this is so fantastic that Derrick thought I made it for him as a treat. A great chocolate fix without making me feel like I’m undoing a week’s worth of good eating behavior! Let me know if you like it!

And if you like this, you really ought to follow me on Pinterest.  I am sometimes accidentally brilliant there!

4 Hour Chef: My Experiences With Weight Loss

Some would argue I’m not that overweight. I don’t have to go to special stores to buy clothes, I can run a mile (most Americans apparently can’t do this), and I do a lot of my own cooking that many would have perceive as healthy.

4-hour-chef-coverBut as a former athlete, having a BMI that is technically obese has bothered me for awhile.

Go to the gym more, people said. Doing this made me hungrier and didn’t budge the scale nearly enough to keep me motivated. I’ve heard before that you lose pounds in the kitchen and ounces at the gym so I figured once I got an eating plan down, I could add the gym back into my routine for toning purposes. But I needed to feel success first… and have some go-to recipes that I could confidently throw together.

Cutting out sugar and carbs didn’t do it. Gluten free didn’t do it. I realized I had to take drastic measures… but needed some guidance.



I plunked down $30 for Four Hour Chef around Christmas. While I thought it was a bit expensive, I realized what I purchased was an encyclopedia. The pages are so dense with information, I don’t know where else he could have added anything. Well worth the price of admission.

It’s been a solid month since really taking on this latest book by productivity expert Tim Ferris. I’ve read his two other books: The Four Hour Workweek and the The Four Hour Body. In the Four Hour Body book, Tim tackled making your body work better. The chapter on weight loss was popular which is probably why he came out with Four Hour Chef, a cookbook that’s not just supposed to teach you how to lose weight but how to cook well.

This plan in summary:

1) No dairy, fruit, grains, alcohol, sugars, or other things that spike your blood sugar.
2) Eat protein, vegetables, and a few exception things sparingly (like avocados, tomato, dark chocolate, and red wine) only.
3) Eat a protein rich breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up.
4) Pick a cheat day and, after your healthy breakfast, eat whatever you want that day of the week.



How has this affected my life? I now take cinnamon in my coffee not creamer. No more quinoa at dinner or clementines in the office, both options I thought were healthy for me. And no popcorn, which is my absolute favorite snack. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m doing it.

This has involved trying new vegetables (for variety’s sake) and learning more about cooking things like eggs in a more flavorful way. This cashew basil pesto, for example, has rocked my world on chicken and also zucchini: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/03/16/vegan-cashew-basil-pesto/

Cheat days have been epic. Derrick, who has been very supportive in my diet, cheats with me hard on cheat day, which usually involves a pack of Oreos, something I would have never allowed myself before. Do the cheat days slow down my weight loss? Probably. But saying goodbye to popcorn and other things I love indefinitely would be unsustainable and possibly cruel. If cheat days mean I lose the weight slower, I am ok with that. The end result will be the same and I’ll have a lot more fun getting there.

So far I’m down eight pounds with 32 to go. 32? Yes, 32. Trust me when I tell you that I know what healthy looks like for me and I’m going there and no where close to anorexic.

If you are the kind of person who’s tried everything and needs something based in science that works, give this plan a shot. There are lots of people doing it (there are forums and everything) and other than the book, it’s free.

I just feel like I’ve been trying to play by the rules of a game and all this time, I’ve had the wrong rule book. And if even one person feels this way that reads this and gives it a shot, it will have been worth writing this.

Buy your own copy of “The 4-Hour Chef” on Amazon (Note: this is an affiliate link)



Learning To Cook From Everyone You Meet

So I have an informal goal from everyone I meet and become friendly with: learn a recipe from them. It’s not something I disclose or even have said out loud (until now) but something I’m really happy I’ve actually done over the last ten years.

It all started with Madame Granier who was my host mom during my semester in France. I really loved her cooking so about a month in, once I was a bit more confident in my French, I asked if she would mind giving me her recipes. This began an almost nightly tradition of sitting at the kitchen table with tea with Petite Beurre biscuits and Mme. Granier dictating me a recipe.  Looking back on it, maybe this was so M. Granier would do the dishes while we chatted but she seemed to enjoy dictating recipes to me. She was not expecting my follow up questions like “How much salt?” but she tried to guess as best she could. Even almost ten years later, I’m still making crepes from the original recipe along with an occasional endives au gratin and soupe au lentils. (The lentil soup involves three containers and has a drawing complete with arrows that goes with the recipe).

Ever since Mme. Granier, I’ve tried to learn a recipe from everyone I meet. And whether we become life long buddies or the relationship fizzles, I can always take something really tangible away from each person who has been a part of my life. And making the recipe makes me think of other good memories from them.

A side effect is that learning ended up being a great way to get to know people. I would have never known about my friend Alice is Armenian had she not shown me how to make her delicious version of tzatziki (served with zuchini crisped up in a little olive oil- yum!). I discovered a boyfriend’s Italian roots when he revealed his grandmother’s calzone recipe. What better way to know someone then to cook with and eat with them something that they love?

The biggest cooking experiment was the Vinalhaven dinner club. As five single women living on an island bound together by our weekday supper club, we certainly learned a lot about everyone by taking turns cooking and eating with everyone five meals a week.

I love that most of my fondest memories involve food and getting back to those times just involves an hour or so in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite thing to cook that reminds you of someone? (Share links to recipes if they are online!)