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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Red Lentil, Millet and Kale Stew (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

It has been raining for 3 days almost straight here in the Sunshine state which really when I type it sounds like no big deal, but we don't get rain like this where it rains all day.  It reminds me of rainy days up north even though today it was still over 85 - still that is about 10 degrees cooler than last week and to me means autumn is starting and what better way to start it than with a thick, hearty, bone warming stew!

Makes 6 - 8 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, just mashed
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 mini sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 Tbls Braggs Liquid Aminos or other Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
2 Tbls of your favorite salt-free dried herb mix
6 cups of vegetable broth (or water, but broth is so much tastier)
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 1/2 cups millet
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped fine (I used purple kale and loved the color but any kale will do)
1 Tbls fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and peper to taste

  1. In a cold dutch oven, pour the olive oil and add onions.  Turn heat to medium and cook until onions carmelize.  This is the key to this soup so that the sugars in the onion really get carmelly and lend that flavor throughout the soup.  This alone can take 20 - 35 minutes depending on your dutch oven and how long it takes to heat and how efficient it is.
  2. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and the pepper.  Stir and cook another 5 minutes until the vegetables get soft.
  3. Add Braggs and herbs, cook one more minute
  4. Add broth, lentils and millet and stir.  
  5. Bring the broth to a boil, cover, turn to simmer, and cook for 35 minutes.
  6. Remove lid, the lentils will have dissolved and make the soup now look like stew without much liquid.  Add the kale, stir to incorporate, and put the lid back on for another 3 - 5 minutes.   We like a little crunch to our kale, but if you enjoy more wilted, you can always add the kale in with Step 4.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste, and add fresh lemon juice just before serving.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Frijoles con Queso (vegan, gluten-free)

I don't really know what to call this recipe - it satisfied my craving for Velveeta and Rotel, but it really is not a chili con queso type sauce, so until I think of a new name for now, it is Frijoles con Queso

2 cups cooked white beans
1 roasted red pepper
juice from 1 large lemon (approx 1/4 cup)
3 Tbls tahini
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa, or even a can of ro-tel!

  1. Place all ingredients except salsa into high speed blender and blend for 2 - 3 minutes.  It will be smooth after about 30 seconds, but blending for the extra time will heat the sauce as well.
  2. Pour salsa, pico de gallo or ro-tel into a medium bowl
  3. Pour the bean mixture over the salsa and stir to incorporate
  4. Enjoy with tortilla chips!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Veggie Burgers (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Ahh, the veggie burger.  Why is it when I look for any recipe for a veggie burger, there are hardly any veggies in them?  I don't want a bean patty, or a wheat and grain patty, I want a patty made predominately of veggies and maybe some flax seed to bind!  So, in an effort to make a veggie burger like that, and include a bit of grain because my son loves rice, this is my cooked veggie burger recipe.  Our entire family loved them - my 14 month old ate half of one just waiting for the others to finish cooking!

Makes approx 8 - 10 burgers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, minced
2 carrots, minced or shredded
2 mini sweet peppers, seeds removed, minced
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 Tbls olive oil
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup cooked brown rice

Vegetable oil for frying

  1. Wash and mince all the veggies, or take the easy way and wash then add them to your food processor fitted with an "S" blade and pulse until finely minced.  Set aside in a medium mixing bowl
  2. Add the ground flax seed, poultry seasoning, Braggs, and olive oil and incorporate well - mix this with your hands to get everything really mixed well.  Let this sit for about 5 minutes so the flax can absorb some of the water of the veggies
  3. Add the brown rice and mix again
  4. Add your oil to a cold frying pan and turn to medium high heat.
  5. Take a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop into your hand to form a patty add to the fry pan.  I can fit 4 patties at a time in my pan - you want them to have space and not to be crowded - no touching each other.
  6. Cook for about 2 - 3 minutes or until you see a golden brown crust form, then flip and continue frying for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes until the other side is also brown.
  7. As you finish each patty, set aside on a plate, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve in fresh romaine leaves rolled up with your favorite condiments, tomatoes, sprouts, avocado, etc.
  9. Store any leftover veggie burgers in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chia Breakfast Pudding (Raw, Vegan, Gluten-free)

Chia seeds seem to be a new fad in natural food stores, supplement companies and even in protein shakes now, but their benefits truly do not seem to be a fad to me.  Chia seeds are a member of the mint family and yes, they are those fuzzy headed plants you see advertised at Christmas.  So why would I want to add chia seeds to my diet?
  1. Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids,  even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. 
  2. Chia seeds, unlike flax, are readily available to the body.  Flax seeds must be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.
  3. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium,  phosphorus,  magnesium,  manganese,  copper,  iron,  molybdenum,  niacin,  and zinc. 
    1. Chia seeds are 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate, of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of its fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It’s also high in antioxidants… as much as 8 times higher than blueberries.
  4. When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes,  chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach,  slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.
  5. Chia seeds are not some new fad in the food industry - chia (from the desert plant salvia hispanica) was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cultivated well into the 16th century AD.  Supposedly after the Spanish conquest,  authorities banned it because of its association with religious ceremonies.  They were also the staple of Mayan and Aztec warriors - Chia means "strength" in Mayan.  Some sites I reviewed stated that one tablespoon of chia seeds was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.
  6. Given the shelf life and amazing nutrient rich content of chia, we keep some in our Hurricane survival kit now
  7. Believe what you want about its history, chia seeds make awesome vegan puddings without added sugar or processed foods!

Makes 1 serving of chia pudding 
1 Tbls chia seeds soaked in 1 cup of water for a minimum of 30 minutes
1 apple, cored
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 dates, pitted
2 Tbls raisins (optional)
2 Tbls walnuts, chopped (optional)

I took pictures of the time lapse of my chia seed soak that I'll post at the end of the recipe because it is pretty interesting to me that one tiny seed can absorb 4 times its weight in water!

  1. Add the first 4 ingredients to a high powered blender and blend for about 30 seconds until all ingredients are pureed
  2. Pour into a cereal bowl, top with raisins and walnuts and enjoy!

Chia seeds in water just moments

Chia seeds in water about 20 minutes

Chia seeds in water for an hour

No Mother Left Behind