Category Archives: Vegan

Comfort Food: Dal Curry

For the past few months, Binks has decided to cut meat (save fish) from his diet.  My job has then been to make sure he incorporates healthy proteins to ensure he is full and satisfied with what he eats.

The easiest, cheapest and tastiest way to do this?

Lentils.  Specifically, dal curry.

There are several ways to prepare dal, but this is the absolute favorite for me.  It’s comforting and flavorful.  On top of it all, it packs a healthy punch.

I used to make this version often (given to me by my MIL) until I perfected this version.  Now, it’s one of those dishes where I’m absolutely satisfied with the results and acts as a “go-to” recipe for me.

For this recipe, I use yellow split lentils as it cooks fairly quickly and does not need the overnight soak that other lentils typically require (i.e. urad dal).  You can also use masoor dal (red lentils) as it cooks quickly, as well.

Dal Curry
Ingredients:

-  1 cup dal (I use yellow split lentils or toor dal)
-  2 cups water
-  1/4 tsp turmeric
-  1 tsp salt
-  3 tbsp olive oil
-   1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste – if unsure, start with a scant 1/4 tsp and go up if you want)
-  1/4 tsp cumin
-  1/4 tsp turmeric
-  1/2 tsp coriander
-  2 tsp ginger paste (you can also just grate fresh ginger)
-  2 serranos, diced (you can use jalapenos and/or adjust the amount per your taste)
-  1 small onion, diced
-  3 cloves garlic, minced
-  2 small tomatoes, diced
-  big pinch of garam masala
-  salt to taste

For tadka:
-  1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-  2 dry red chili, tear apart with your hands
-  pinch of asafeotida
-  1/2 tsp garam masala
-  2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1.   Place 1 cup dal, 2 cups water, and 1/4 tsp turmeric into pot and boil until the dal until the dal is soft.  Mash some of the dal in the pot.  Add salt to the dal mix.
2.  In a separate pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, and add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger paste (or grated ginger) and fry until the raw smell of the spices vanish, about 2 minutes.
3.   Add the onion, garlic and serranos (or jalapenos or any other pepper you decided to use) and saute for another 4 minutes until the onions have browned a bit.
4.   Add the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and mixed with the spices and onion mix.
5.  Add the dal mixture (water and all), and lower the heat to medium.  Now, taste to see if you need more salt and add if you need.  Once properly salted, add a pinch of garam masala to ‘finish it off’ and stir to incorporate.  Cook the dal over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  (At this point, if you want the consistency to be more watery or soupy, add boiled water, 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.  I prefer my dal a bit thicker so I just usually add 1/4 cup.  Remember, as the dal cools, it thickens so add water accordingly.)
6.  While the dal is cooking, in a separate pan, you prepare your tadka.  Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Once the oil has heated, add cumin seeds and let it sputter for approximately 1 minutes.  Then add the dry red chili, asoafeotida, and 1/2 tsp garam masala.  Cook until the raw smell of the spices is gone and the red chili peppers have toasted a bit.
7.  Pour the tadka into the dal and stir.
8.  Serve hot, preferably with rice.

I love the combination of this dal curry with brown rice.  Talk about hearty and perfect for a fall night.

8 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Favorites, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Detoxing After Ranch Attack

After the crazy week of vacation and adjusting to being back at home and work, I needed a detox.  And, I usually do this when my eating and exercising have not been up to par.  I mean come on, I just told you about my ranch and hot sauce covered cheese steak sandwich and my love of french fries at every meal.

Detoxing is in order.  After eating all those heavy meals, I don’t just naturally go back to eating healthy.  It takes time and it takes a plan.

I have been using Amazing Grass products for a while.  When, I read about and had the opportunity to participate in the 2 Week Challenge, I jumped at the chance. When, I heard about the different Amazing Meal flavors, specifically the Pomegranate Mango Infusion, I did a cart-wheel in my head.

Once you sign up for the 2 Week Challenge, you get a daily inspirational email (for two weeks) and then a meal plan.  The meal plan starts out each day with a smoothie.

And, I wouldn’t want to start it any other way these hot summer days.

I have to say this was by far the prettiest smoothie bowl I have ever made.  It was just as delicious.

In the Mix:

  • 1 scoop Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

On Top:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Blueberry granola

I enjoyed every bite.

Obviously.

What do you do to detox?  When do you usually do it?  Have you tried the Amazing Grass challenge?  Notice any changes?

10 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Favorites, Vegan, Vegetarian

Life After Cleanse

Since the juice cleanse, I have been trying to keep up with the SCD Diet.  It’s definitely hard as I’m not used to scrutinizing everything I eat.  And, it may come as a surprise that giving up bread is really hard.  I don’t miss the cookies and cakes as much as bread, pasta and rice.

My skin has stayed about the same – a little more inflamed since the fast but not as bad as it was before at all.

So what have I been eating?

If you read Joy The Baker’s blog, you know that she did the Blue Print Cleanse and after, she made a vegan cream of mushroom soup.

I followed suit.  Because if it’s one thing I’ve learned is that for good food – do what Joy does.

There is nothing seemingly vegan about this soup.  It’s rich and most of all – creamy.

This was my first time experimenting with cashew cream and I am hooked for LIFE!  Mind you, I’m not a soup person.  I will push aside any bowl of soup for a salad monster or a sandwich.  But, this soup takes the no-grain-no-sugar-no-flour cake.

And it seems like lately my life meals aren’t complete without an apple (I’ve turned into Dorry) and some sauteed spinach.

More news – my life hasn’t been on pause lately.  I’m going to do the hydrogen breath test.  If it is SIBO, I am likely going to start taking Rifaximin (Xifaxan) to see if this can be cured/helped.  I will keep you all updated.

If you or any loved ones deal with any type of stomach, intestinal, or internal problems, you have to know that a lot of damage has been done by the past.  So, time is necessary to heal what has been broken.

Be good to your insides and I have faith that you will glow on the outside.

What do you eat on a daily basis?  Do you believe in the apple-a-day theory/rule?  How are you good to your physical or emotional insides?

9 Comments

Filed under Health, Life, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oh, It Is LOVE! {Giveaway}

Can I just say that I have some of the nicest and most caring readers anyone could ever ask for?!  So many of you e-mailed and commented with really great advice and personal stories regarding yesterday’s (very personal) post.  I was feeling much better by the end of the day.  LOVE was truly in the (blog) air!

It’s quite amazing how people you never met could show you so much LOVE when you need it the most.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  And I truly do LOVE you all.

And I want to show you some LOVE in return.

About a month ago, LOVE came to Dallas.  LOVE by the name of Maddie and Alex.  This power couple is the brains and LOVE behind Love Grown Foods.  Love Grown Foods is really a granola movement – granola for everyone.  Love Grown Foods granola is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, trans fat-free, preservative free, and free of artificial flavors.  In addition to all this, Love Grown granola is DELICIOUS – it actually tastes like LOVE has been put into every oat cluster.  Ask Dorry and Lindsay - they know!

Despite our plans to meet up, scheduling issues kept us from meeting.  Despite this, Maddie still sent some LOVE my way.  (P.S. If you ever meet/talk to her, you’ll see – she’s quite LOVEly.)

So, in an effort to pass along the LOVE, Maddie has agreed to give some LOVE to a very lucky reader.  One lucky reader will receive the bag of their choice, along with mini bags of the remaining flavors so you can sample them all!

And, because you have been so good to me, I will send another reader TWO bags of your choice.  Now, keep in mind, I have already tore into the Cocoa Goodness so that’s out.  (Whoops!)

There are four other delicious flavors for you to choose from.

-  Apple Walnut Delight

-  Simply Oats

-  Sweet Cranberry Pecan

-  Raisin Almond Crunch

Take a look at the Love Grown Foods website and blog, the adventures of Maddie and Alex as they tour and promote their granola full of LOVE!

The following are many ways to enter for a chance to receive some LOVE yourself:

1.  Leave me a comment telling me what flavor of the Love Grown Food granola you would like to try.

2.  Leave me a comment telling me a blog post or recipe that you liked on my blog.

3.  Follow me on Twitter (@oliepants) and leave a separate comment letting me know.

4.  Tweet the following (@oliepants is giving away some @LoveGrownFoods LOVE!  http://wp.me/p16dO9-bJ ), and leave a separate comment letting me know.

5.  Mention this giveaway in a blog post and leave a separate comment letting me know.

6.  Follow @LoveGrownFoods on Twitter and leave a separate comment letting me know.

7.  “Like” LoveGrownFoods on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know.

Whew!  Is that a list or is that a list?!

You can comment until Friday, April 1, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.  I will announce the winner on Monday, April 7, 2011!

**This giveaway only ships to those in the U.S.!**

So, what are you waiting for?  Spread some LOVE!!

83 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Giveaway, Health, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bake The Buck

Ashley has never steered me wrong.  Exhibit A.

After making my most recent pancakes and finding that I had extra buckwheat to spare, it was time to attack Ashley’s contribution to my Kitchen List.

Exhibit B:

Exhibit B.1:


That would be my trusty go-to (or to-go) bottle of dulce de leche.  I have been somewhat obsessed.  And, a little goes a long way.

Exhibit B.2:

Topped off with a spoon full of coconut butter.

I was pleasantly surprised with this creation.  The texture and taste of the bake is a mix of a dense and moist chocolate cake.  The bake is light on the sweet and packing heavy with the nutrients, including but not limited to buckwheat, chia seeds, flax, and banana.

I only made the following alterations/modifications: (1) added 1 whole banana instead of a half and (2) split her one cake into 2 baking dishes for 2 servings.  I was not hungry until lunch.

The above-referenced facts and exhibits clearly establish that Ashley has got it going on with this bake and her recipes.

I rest my case.

Have you tried any of Ashley’s buckwheat bakes? Have you tried any recipes from bloggers lately that you want to share?  I’m looking for additions to my Kitchen List! :)

15 Comments

Filed under baking, Breakfast, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cold, Dark & Handsome

Oatmeal, if nothing else, should be adored for its versatility.  While oatmeal typically hits our subconscious “healthy” nerve, there are ways that you can make this ‘everyday’ grain not so ‘everyday’.

For instance, imagine adding a scoop of ice cream (which I need to try!) or placing a slice of birthday cake on top.  The idea of combining a wholesome bowl of oatmeal with a decadent addition is the feeling you get when you watch/are the good girl falling for the bad boy (i.e. Grease, Dirty Dancing, etc).

And, it feels good.

And, I have fallen………………….hard.

As the movie progresses, you realize that the bad boy, despite his rough (chocolate-y) exterior and sexy dancing skills, really is a genuine person who is quite heart-healthy.

So, when you crave something sinful for breakfast, don’t let anyone stop you from having and enjoying what your heart desires.  After all, nobody puts Olie in a corner.

Double Chocolate Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Silk Pure Almond Dark Chocolate milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 small pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Mash banana in a bowl.
  • Add oats, flax seeds, chia seeds and salt.  Mix until combined.
  • Add almond milk and stir to combine.
  • Cover bowl and store overnight.
  • The next morning, the liquid will completely soak into the oats.
  • Pour another 1/2 cup of Silk Pure Almond Dark Chocolate milk into your bowl.

What’s your favorite good girl/bad boy movie?  What’s your favorite movie?  How do you jazz up your oatmeal?

10 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegan

The Sauce And The Mess

Are you a clean freak?  I am.  I can go INSANE with the cleaning.  And, I do – especially in the kitchen.

I’m obviously looking for affirmation.  So, tell me you’re crazy like me!  Are you?

And nothing – and I mean nothing – messes up a kitchen like making your favorite marinara sauce.  Whether from scratch or Semi Olie-Made, it’s all a mess.  But, what’s a girl to do when all she wants for dinner is to hit up the sauce?  You make it anyway and worry about the consequences after the delicious meal is over.

See my pretty kitchen?  That sauce looks harmless right?

It’s not.  It’s a tomato-licious volcano ready to explode EVERYWHERE.

A closer look only proves my point.  The pot is already spewing and I can imagine the horror and catastrophe to be left behind once it really simmers.  (Are these my actual thoughts when I cook?  Yes.  And, yes – I have problems.  No judgment!)

At this point you may be thinking/pondering of the following:

1.  Why didn’t she just use a bigger pot?  Great question folks!  I have no answer other than – I didn’t think it would get this large.  That’s what she said.

2.  What is that around the stove trim rings?  Don’t know what I’m talking about.  Look again:

This is my NUMERO UNO tip for keeping your stove clean – FOIL!  If you have ever cleaned them, you know it’s a mess.  You have soak, scrub and sometimes repeat the process. 

I tend to cook many meals at one time and it takes a toll on my stove top.  If you’re like me, you know that things get stuck after that much heat.

Wrapping the rings in foil is a trick my mom taught me to ensure that I have one less thing to clean.  I not only wrap the ring, but I also the part under the ring – the cup-like part with the hole in it.  (That’s what she said.)  If you think of the name – tell me and I can delete this whole pathetic paragraph with one word!

Easy keep-it-clean tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more when I cook.  Tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more while I enjoy my favorite marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce - Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of cherry tomatoes, halved (or you can use regular tomatoes – 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey (vegan option: sugar)
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled finely with your hands
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat large (don’t make the same mistake I did) sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Pour olive oil and heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent.
  4. Add fresh tomatoes, honey, salt and bay leaves.  Cook until the tomatoes become soft and the juices start flowing – approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Pour entire can of tomatoes into sauce pan.
  6. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
  7. 30 minutes before the sauce is done – add the tomato paste, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Extra:

-  I added tempeh to mine as follows:

  • 30 minutes before the sauce is done, I saute 8 oz tempeh (roughly chopped) in another pan with some olive oil until fully heated inside and a bit browned on the outside.
  • Add it into the sauce about 15 minutes before the sauce is done.

-  This is a chunky sauce.  If you want it to be smoother, run the final sauce (prior to the addition of any tempeh) through the blender.  Or use your immersion blender.

How do you keep your kitchen clean while you cook?  What’s your keep-it-clean tip/trick?  Do you wrap your stove rings in foil?  Are you a clean freak?

11 Comments

Filed under Favorites, garlic, Italian, olive oil, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

No Knead Bread Is A Friend Indeed

So, since the invention of my Kitchen List, I have been on a mission to cook, cook, and cook.

First on my to-do list: Bittman;)

His no-knead bread really rocked the socks off much of the culinary world for many reasons.  First, because the art & science of bread-making is brought down to my level – the idea of making a beautiful artisan bread is now an easy reality!  Second, the bread is just damn good.  Binks and I have been eating this bread and butter for the past few days.  No judgment!

The process is easy.

Most of the time was spent allowing my new bread baby to bundle up and rest!

Your time and patience yields one of the best breads you will ever make!

My heart skipped a beat when I pulled this beauty out of the oven.  Yours would too!

The crust was perfectly crisp with a soft and chewy interior – just like you would find at any bakery.

Great with butter.

Great the next morning!

Great with the good stuff:

Enjoy your heart out!

Are you a bread fan? Do you bake bread? Have you tried the no-knead bread?

20 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread, Favorites, Vegan, Vegetarian

I Whip My Oats Back And Forth

If you thought my inane post titles were going to change after yesterday, think again!

Being that it’s Friday and all, “I hop up out of the bed and get my swag on, pay no attention to the haters, because we whip ‘em off…

Again, inspired by the fabulous KERF, I made banana whipped oatmeal.

It’s creamy.  It’s smooth.  It’s rich.  It’s buttery.  It’s sweet in all the right ways.  It’s not your regular bowl of oats.

That brown glob would be my homemade chocolate peanut butter.  (Delicious!)

And just when you thought I couldn’t put a camera closer to my food:

So “all my ladies [or gents] if you feel it…do it, do it!!

Banana Whipped Oatmeal

Adapted from KERF

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 large ripe banana, chopped*
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries

Directions:

  1. Add oats, flax, chia, salt and vanilla to milk and simmer over medium heat.
  2. When it starts bubbling, add the banana.
  3. Go ape shit and whip it real good!
  4. During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking the oats, add the blueberries and stir.
  5. Enjoy your whipped oats!

Note:  *I like to chop the banana into larger pieces because I want to have pieces of banana in my oats to taste.  The finer you chop your banana, the finer the consistency.  It’s the difference between mashed and smashed potatoes.

Side Question:  Have you heard/read about the study/research on birth order and how it is telling of your personality/character?  If so, what do you think about the study?  Do you think you fit into the birth order roles?  Are you married to or with someone that’s your same birth order or different?  What kind of differences do you notice?

It’s a random question I know – but I have been really focusing in on this research for the past few months.  I know it applies to my life (I’m first-born; so is Binks).  If you think this question is associated to this post, then you are right.

26 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Life, Vegan

The Way Veggies Should Taste

Have you seen those ranch commercials?  Where everything is a vegetable and kids are happily eating it because they have the option of dunking said vegetable in ranch dressing?

I see those commercials.  And, I crave ranch dressing.  I love ranch and could/have eaten it on everything.  Forgive me Father for I have sinned….with Ranch Dressing.

Despite my obsession with ranch dressing, the idea of enticing kids to eat vegetables slathered in ranch (or cheese flavored sauce) is a little off.

I admit – I don’t have kids.  But, I hated uncooked vegetables growing up.  To this day, I have some reservations.  The thought of eating raw broccoli without any sort of dressing/liquid makes my mouth dry.

I too would rely on ranch dressing to save my non-liked raw vegetables.  It made every bite of my raw broccoli taste divine.  After a couple of months, I realized that every salad or vegetable that I dunked (literally) in ranch dressing was not me craving vegetables, but rather a not-so-secret way of getting my daily dose of ranch dressing.  I don’t know if I left liking the vegetable more.  I dare say I did not.

I fell victim to this.

What has changed today?  Nothing with regards to broccoli.  Raw – the florets are a little hard for me to chew through.

My non-ranch resolution?

HUMMUS!!

Nowadays, I use hummus on almost everything.  A replacement for mayo, the protein in a wrap, dip for my veggies – even broccoli.

What’s your healthy replacement?  Do you like eating raw veggies?  Raw broccoli?  If not, how do you deal?

Hummus

Adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained but reserve 1/4 liquid
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  • Throw everything into the food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl and top with the paprika and one more tablespoon of olive oil.  If you have sumac spice on hand, use that in place of paprika.

18 Comments

Filed under garlic, Health, olive oil, Vegan