Since society (and the fact that I possess a basic sense of shame) prohibits me from eating Qdoba taco salads for every single meal, I’m trying to at least make my food at home reminiscent of that glorious bowl of goodness. First step: making a copycat creamy chipotle sauce. I prefer to use nuts instead of dairy, so mine is cashew-based. It obviously doesn’t taste quite like the original, but it’s smoky and smooth, and it’s good enough that I keep making it several times a week.
Chipotle Cashew Cream Dressing:
1 cup soaked cashews (I usually soak them for an hour or so, anything more would require actual planning.)
1/2 cup water
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (If, like me, you can’t have gluten, read the labels carefully on these.)
1 fire-roasted red pepper
a handful cilantro
juice of 1 large lime
1 ts cumin
1 ts salt
Put all ingredients into a powerful blender – we have a Blendtec, which is amazing – and blend until smooth.
My current favorite use for the dressing is to make a gigantic salad with a mix of raw (romaine, shredded cabbage, spring onions, cilantro) and roasted (asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms) vegetables, topped with some sort of protein (usually beans, because they’re the best) and, of course, chipotle dressing. Om nom nom.
My favorite food at the moment – I’ve been making a batch of this stew every week and eating my way through it for lunch almost every day, mixed with a fresh batch of the kale and shrooms. Once you get used to preparing the kale, it’s very simple.
Curried White Bean Stew:
1) Heat (medium) 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil. Stir in 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use Simply Organic Curry Powder) 2) Stir in 1 chopped onion, 3 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon grated ginger and your preferred amount/type of chili pepper (I like this stew spicy!) 3) When onion is softened, add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 chopped red bell pepper and 2 cans rinsed white beans 4) Stir and let simmer until reduced to your preferred stew thickness. I like to add 1-2 cups of chopped fresh spinach towards the end, then smash things up a little bit with a potato masher 5) Salt and pepper to taste!
Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale:
Follow the recipe from Appetite for Reduction (change amount depending on how much kale you want). The recipe is also available here.
I usually reheat some stew in the microwave, then top with 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (for healthy fatz) and stir in the kale mix. Very chewy, flavorful, filling, warming and perfect for cold November days.
Between not going on any challenging hikes since October, cancelling our gym membership, abusing the fact that they finally opened a Trader Joe’s in Redmond, and generally having a non-stop eating fest over the last two months (the period of time called “the holidays” seems to get longer and longer every year), it is no surprise that I have gained a fair amount of blubber lately. I didn’t realize quite how much until I was foolish enough to step on the scale this morning. Oh dear lord.
So since this is January and I am presumably not the only one who is trying to shed some lard, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes. It’s very easy, very tasty, very healthy.
Red Lentil Dhal:
1 yellow onion
1 can diced tomatoes
400 grams (yes, I’m European) red lentils
8 dl water
2 cubes vegetable stock (I use powdered stock, so I just throw in whatever amount seems reasonable)
1 tbs grated fresh ginger (I quadruple this amount, but then again I have a disturbingly passionate love of ginger)
2 tbs fresh cilantro (coriander) (I add more of this, too)
1 tbs red curry paste
a wee bit of oil for sauteeing
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the onion in a smidge of oil in a pot. Add the tomatoes and let them simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
We usually eat this with brown rice (or quinoa) and lots of broccoli or greens. Nom nom nom. The best part is having leftovers the next day; I usually mix the dhal and the rice/quinoa, add a little bit of chickpea flour so that everything will stick together, and voilà: lentil burgers!
Thank you so much for all your well wishes! Bobby is doing so much better; he’s eating up a storm and getting lardier by the minute. I think he might even be ready to go on some little walks around the neighborhood soon. He’s our little Christmas miracle!
Speaking of miracles, I have fallen in love…with a vegetable. I’ve had an aversion to spinach ever since a regrettable episode four years ago involving me, a salad, and some slightly soggy spinach that had been in our fridge just a tad too long. Did you know that when spinach is past its prime, it tastes like fish? Nas-tay.
Well, after reading about green smoothies all over Bloglandia for about a year now, I decided it was time for me to grow up, get over my gag reflex and give the Wonder Green a chance. That’s right – I’m putting spinach in my smoothies! I’ve adopted Angela‘s term for the concoctions, Green Monsters. The most shocking thing is that they taste good, and after having them for breakfast a couple of days, I actually started craving them. I usually only crave chocolate and potatoes (in various shapes and forms), so this was a welcome surprise.
My basic recipe is:
2 tbs frozen berries (you can add more, but it will make your smoothie look very…brown)
In order to mix it up once in a while, I use different greens, add some extra stuff like parsley or cucumber, and I also made a very good holiday themed Green Monster where I used pumpkin instead of berries and added cloves and ginger. Mmm. I’ll have to make that one again for Christmas. For your first couple of smoothies you can use more berries and less spinach so you can get used to the taste.
I’ve been drinking these for breakfast for about a month now, and it feels great to know that I’ve consumed about 326 servings (ballpark figure) of veggies before the day has even begun. I’ve also had much fewer headaches and migraines even though I’ve been fairly stressed out these last few weeks, which makes sense since I am finally getting some nutrients into my body.
Even Bobby likes Green Smoothies – when he was at his worst and wouldn’t eat any of the tasty things we tried to give him, I caught him licking the leftover smoothie in my glass. After some quick googling (sorry honey, “binging”), I found these pet safe green smoothie recipes and started making him a mini Green Monster every day. Whenever I used the blender, he would come up to me and wag his tail! It was pretty much the only thing he would eat before he got his medicines and his regular appetite back.
Hopefully eating all this spinach is going to make both of us as strong as Popeye (but without the unfortunate medical problems):
The Label Tulip kit is up! This is my favorite one so far – especially the add-on with the clear mini book! Here’s some of my stuff this month:
This is just about Tom being all cool and Gollum-like (hmm, a contradiction in terms, perhaps?) by the creek at Shi Shi.
I found it fitting to use Leonard Cohen lyrics on this page about Dagfinn and Marianne dancing…but I do so expecting to be ridiculed, since every time I ask them about the meaning of Cohen lyrics I like, they end up being about death or the Holocaust.
I used the clear album to make a sort of goal journal for 2008. Looking forward to filling this one out :)
…so, last time the stress and lack of sleep really got to me and I had a mini-meltdown of sorts. Luckily I have JK, so we canceled our plans and spent the night baking cookies and relaxing. I really needed that…we also decided to not make and send out Christmas cards after all (it would basically be too late anyway), and to just breathe and enjoy the holiday. I’ve been stressed out a lot this fall and I don’t want to slip into some sort of evil depression again.
Alright, enough about that. Now, cookies!
We made dog-safe gingerbread cookies for Bobby again this year – he loves them (well, he also loves used ear plugs). We couldn’t find the recipe, but luckily I was smart enough to take a photo of it when we made them last year. Thank you to The Bark magazine :)
I am really behind on emails and everything – I’ll catch up when I get some energy back..