Pumpkin Recipes Galore! {Share Your Fav Vegan Pumpkin Recipes}

I see the edge of the week almost here and I am happy. Even though it has been an awesome week it is always nice to have a weekend for some downtime! This has not been a hectic week like it had been a few months ago or even last week. Every time we hit performance week, it gets a little stressful around here.

Speaking of performances, our recording of the performance came in and I got to hear all of it. The recording was fantastic and the chorale itself was fabulous. I wish we could have gotten a second concert into the schedule but maybe as the chorale becomes a little more popular will there be more funds for something like this. At least we have two performances for our Christmas program. We start working on that music today! :) Here is a clip of the last movement. I will be in a duet the first part and then I go solo towards the end. Enjoy!

Last night I was thinking it was time to feature pumpkin recipes since November is coming up. I would also LOVE to feature vegan, raw, and gluten-free recipes on my blog on November 1, so please leave me your link for your favorite recipe and I will feature them here.

Here are the pumpkin recipes I have enjoyed this past month. I looked through my archives and recipes and realized I had never cooked so much with pumpkin as I have this year. The blog world is sure an inspiration! Enjoying the fruits and vegetables that are in season provided by God is wonderful. Taking advantage of it is even better!

Pumpkin Green Monster Smoothie
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup So Delicious Coconut milk, or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • protein powder
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Blend and enjoy!

Remember to leave a link to your favorite recipe so I can feature it November 1st! Thanks!!


Caramelized Red Onion, Spinach, and Pumpkin Hummus Pizza on Rosemary Crust

Yesterday was a whirlwind on events! Well, I am talking about the weather that we had and that stretched from Michigan down to Texas. What a crazy system! Holland's schools closed and tornado warnings rang clearly. You know what I saw? I saw lots of wind and some rain but nothing bad like I heard from other places. The sun finally came out in the afternoon which made me smile because the weather is almost reminding me of Houston's volatile weather. :)

Yesterday I had 2 green monster smoothies since it was a 2-workout day! I try to fit those in if I can. I have energy through-out the day.

My first smoothie was a mango smoothie with spinach, flaxseed oil, protein powder and a banana. Later in the day I received one of my favorite magazines in the mail and felt inspired to make this:

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup water
  • protein powder
  • flaxseed oil
  • 2 cup spinach
  • 1 kiwi
After a full work day I decided to plan dinner and then leave it sitting while I ran to my zumba class. Can I tell you again how much I ENJOY zumba???? I cannot get enough! I even am planning on getting certified because I want other people to share in this fun fitness that works the whole body. I have people that do not go because they think they will not get the workout they need but that is a bunch of silly talk. Look at how I ended up after my workout yesterday!

It was SOOO hot in the studio so on top of a great workout I also got a little dizzy from the lack of circulating air. I have been harboring a small migraine because of the intense workout but it was SO worth it people! Try it at your local gym if you have not. I love music and this is a great way to enjoy popular music.

When I got home, I had this waiting for me:

A Rosemary pizza crust fully risen and ready to punch! :) I have been wanting pizza for a while, actually since reading everyone's pizza posts for Foodbuzz's  Project Food Blog. I finally had a night to myself to focus on a recipe that had been brewing in the deep recesses of my brain. :) I had been imagining a pumpkin hummus for a long time and decided to make a gourmet vegan pizza of my own. Boy was I a happy vegan!

Even though I am a traditional marinara user for pizzas I decided this would be a whole new take. The flavors melded perfectly together and I was on cloud 9 because I realized I really did not need Daiya cheese to make a typical pizza. There are so many options and I am going to make sure I try them. Enjoy this with a HUGE green salad!

Caramelized Red Onion, Spinach, and Pumpkin Hummus Pizza on Rosemary Crust

Print recipe

Crust (adapted from OhSheGlows recipe)
1 cup white bread flour+ ¾ cup flour, divided
¾ tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp white sugar
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 & ¼ tsp pizza yeast or instant yeast
3 Tablespoons oil
2/3 cup very warm water (not lukewarm)
More flour for surface when kneading

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, salt, sugar, rosemary, yeast. Stir well. Now quickly add in 2/3 cup of very warm water along with your 3 tbsp of oil. Stir well.

It will be very wet and sticky at this point. Now add in ¾-1 cup more of flour, gradually, as you stir. Once all the flour is in, grab the dough and place on floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding flour if it gets tacky. After 5 minutes the dough should be smooth and not sticky. Form into a ball and place in a large, oiled bowl.

Cover the ball with a bit of oil so it doesn’t dry out. Now cover the bowl and let it rise for 1.5 hours. You can punch out the air once half way through. Cooking time will vary but my pizza took 14-15 mins at 500F.

Pumpkin Hummus
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons raw Tahini paste
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. The hummus should not be to salty since the parmesan cheeze will add some salt to the whole pizza.

Caramelized Red Onions an Spinach
1 red onion, sliced thinly
3 cups packed spinach
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil

In a medium skillet, add 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil on medium heat and add red onion and cook until the onion is transparent and caramelized, 10 minutes. Add the spinach, the rest of the oil, and the spices.
Vegan Parmesan Cheeze
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1/2 Tbsp sea salt

In a food processor, add all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Makes 1 cup.

Remove pizza dough from bowl and flatten dough with fingers as you hold it. Place it on a greased 14-inch pizza pan. Spread the dough evenly.

Spread the hummus evenly on top of the pizza.

Add the caramelized red onions and spinach. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup with parmesan cheeze.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until crust slightly browned. Cool for a bit and slice.


Vegetable Sushi Rolls with Dulse Cream Sauce {Gluten-free}

My week has started on the right foot even if it was a Monday! God created days, but not days of the week so I find myself not complaining with the gift of having a job in a day when employment is scarce for many. I have to be thankful for the the things and the people that I have in my life day after day in order not to be weighed down by the sometimes routine of life. Our life here on earth is temporary and fleeting so taking each day into account is so important.

What are you thankful today? Have you called your loved ones lately?

That first step out of my bed yesterday consisted of stumbling into my workout clothes and into a great workout with one of my favorite cardio teachers at the gym. I came home then organized the house a bit and thanked God for produce as I planned my breakfast. I had two friends from Holland send me with these 2 baskets of goodies. What shall I make?? I can't wait.

After an hour of racquetball with Ryan, I went right to work on dinner since it was 7pm already! Good thing I had been planning the meal all morning. There is a place in town Ryan and I like visiting on Mondays that serves sushi and offeres 25% off the bill. Who can beat that? Well, our dining money was gone based on our budget so I instead of my getting bummed we could not go out for sushi, I decided to make my own.

I have always prepared my veggie rolls but I decided I would create a whole new dish adding protein in a sneaky and healthy way. I had gotten an idea to make Eye of Raw's Friendly Sushi when I saw it back in April. I was not convinced it was exactly what I wanted to make so I made my own version which was raw and gluten-free except for the cooked rice.

I shredded my favorite vegetables and made a cream sauce blending different nuts and seeds and adding dashi (a type of seaweed) to give the sauce a fishy flavor. Who needs fish when you can get the vitamins in another form? I added the cream to the shredded vegetables which made for a perfect filling to go on top of the rice and seaweed paper.

Now, this probably looks nasty, because at first glance it looks like a glob of red but these are veggies in a cream sauce. These are probably my best sushi rolls I have made yet! I rolled these babies up and sliced them and served them with wheat-free tamari. We lightly dipped each piece in tamari and the flavors were perfect. The rolls were tight and binding and the bites were delicious. I hope you give these a chance because they are healthy, nutritious and packed with iodine! :) Enjoy them with a cup of miso soup.

I have submitted this recipe to the October SOS Kitchen Challenge over at Ricki's and Kim's blogs!

Vegetable Sushi Rolls with Dulse Cream Sauce

Print recipe

makes 6 rolls (serves 4)

1 1/2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Brown Rice Syrup
2 Tbsp oil

2 cups carrots, julienned
1/2 cup beets, julienned
1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned
1 small red pepper, seeded and julienned

1 avocado, pitted
1/2 cup hemp seeds
3 Tbsp tahini paste
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water or less
2 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
2 Tbsp dulse granules
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp wasabi powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Cook rice according to packaged directions. Mix the vinegar, syrup, and oil in a small bowl and then pour over the rice after it has finished cooking and mix well. Set aside to cool a bit (15 minutes)
Julienne your vegetables with a mandoline, spiralizer, or food processor with the attachment. Mix vegetables in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a food processor or high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), add all the ingredients and blend until creamy. Add as much water to make into a thick sauce, not runny.

Add sauce to the vegetables and mix well.

1. Take one seaweed sheet and place on a bamboo mat. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup rice to each roll and press evenly and flat on the sheet.

2. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegetable mixture to one end of the paper. Fold from one end, using the end of the bamboo mat, rolling over the vegetable mixture, until it resembles a roll and continue rolling until closed. Check out this tutorial.

3. Repeat the process until you finish with 6 rolls. Cut each rolls into 6-7 pieces and serve with wheat-free tamari or soy sauce.

Hey ya'll! What sushi recipes have you made?? Share them with me!


Deep Dish Chocolate-Raspberry Oat Bars

Hello my friends! I hope you all had an awesome weekend! I am on a total high from this weekend's performance because it was absolute perfection! I am so proud of my Ryan because he is the best conductor. I have all the right to be biased because it is so true. Ask around. :)

Saturday, the day of the performance, we had a 3 1/2 hour rehearsal period because we had to work with the steel drum band that had traveled from Detroit to perform with us. The rehearsal was smooth and Ryan kept on reminding all the Holland Chorale not to over sing since our performance was that VERY evening. Folks, it was hard not to over sing since we had that steel drum band. It was definitely so beautiful to listen to different instruments. God is wonderful how he allows people to discover uses for instruments. Here is a sample of our rehearsal: (How much ghetto can I get? Silly Youtube tells me it has not been processed but it is! Click here to listen}

Our performance was a great success. We started with 4 pieces in the beginning, taking a break to listen to an area high school perform, and then ended with the Caribbean Mass and African Sanctus. I hope to have a clip of the performance soon. We all were very pleased with the way the who performance went especially since we had two extra weeks to work on our music. My solo / duet at the end of the mass was SO much fun! I can't wait to hear a recording of it.

Sunday was of course a day of rest since we needed it VERY much. We visited out friends church and worshipped with a huge congregation. Holland is small and there are several churches in the area, but I never thought it would have a choir close to 125 people. Reminds me of my choir back in Texas. We later took a nap and then enjoyed a lovely hike in a new reserve in town. I captured the beautiful colors of the leaves and tried not to inconvenience the friends we were with by taking pictures of every gorgeous leaf I found. What can I say, I love FALL!!!

As soon as I got home last night I baked something right up. Can you tell I missed being in MY kitchen??? I have had several ideas floating through my head working with some freezer jam that I have had in my fridge. I knew I needed to make something delicious and perfect with my favorite beverage. I wanted to make something that was gluten-free but I did not quite get that adventurous since I did not have that much time in the kitchen.

I paired dark chocolate with raspberry and oats and came out with a delicious bar that both Ryan and I speechless as we took turns taking bites. We were watching Everything's Fine and boy was it FINE! The flavors combined pretty perfect even to the point Ryan asked for seconds. As I look at my kitchen this morning I wonder how I have JUST 3 bars left. Seriously folks. I can't keep the pan full around here.

This is a good thing! Even though I used 1 cup of oat flour and 1 cup of spelt, if you feel adventurous, you are welcome to try making this with 2 cups of gluten-free oat flour. I will be trying it in the future but I needed to share the recipe ASAP. Enjoy the recipe because they won't last in your an for long! :)

 Deep Dish Chocolate-Raspberry Oat Bars

print recipe

makes 9 bars (9x9 glass pan)

1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 chia egg (1 Tbsp ground chia seeds + 4 Tbsp warm water)
      or flaxseed egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 4 Tbsp warm water)
2 Tablespoons SO Delicious coconut milk

1 cup raspberry freezer jam or store-bought jam

3/4 cup gluten-free oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tbsp Tropical Traditions coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp oat flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9x9 pan with coconut non-stick spray.

Crust preparation
Mix up your chia egg and set aside for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl mix the spelt and oat flours, baking soda, and salt. Add maple syrup, brown sugar, and coconut milk to the chia egg is and combine well. Add 1/2 cup coconut oil to flour mixture and using a fork or patry cutter, combine the two ingredients until it resembles wet sand. Add the wet ingredients and combine well.

Press dough into the 9x9 dish, allowing the dough to rise above the edges of the pan about 1 inch. This is not a layer, but more a crust to contain the filling.

Add 1 cup of raspberry jam onto the crust and spread evenly.

Topping preparation

In a medium add oats and melted coconut oil and combine well. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Add the crumble topping to the raspberry mixture and spread evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes and cool for another 45 minutes. These bars are so good a little warm though. They are even better the NEXT day! I wrapped one up for Ryan for lunch so I know he will like that surprise. :)

Note: I have already seen people make comments about how this post is ruined since I used half spelt and half oat flour. I am limiting my gluten and NOT elmininating it. This would be the reason the blog states raw and vegan recipes and not gluten-free. I will be indicating which recipes are specfically are gluten-free for those readers. I am in the process of testing this recipe as completely gluten-free. Thanks! :)


Portabella-Poblano Fajitas

Thursdays are probably the busiest days of the week. We travel a totoal of 3 hours to get to our weekly destination for chorale rehearsals. What does this mean? It means I do not get a lot of cooking that day. It means if I do, I am a pretty frazzled person. Ask Ryan. I am usually not a happy camper. I have said it before but I am not a meal planner and some times I do not believe I need to be in the kitchen all evening AFTER cooking dinner. If I have leftovers I will usually pack those for the busy Thursdays. Sometimes I cook something really quick and pack it the SAME day. Not a happy camper. I feel like 3 people on these days.

This week I had plenty of leftovers and was stree-free yesterday. Ryan had leftover Orecchiette and Spinach with White Wine Sauce for lunch and then I made him lunch for dinner. It was so simple and hectic-free people.Why had I not convinced Ryan and myself that this would be an easier process? At least I enjoyed it. I had steel cut oatmeal for dinner last night. So easy, filling and delicious!

  • 3/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 apple, chopped
Boil water and add the oats and the applesauce for 15-20 minutes. Add the spices, cherries, apples, and extract and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Wednesday was our non-busy day so I knew it was my chance to make a nice meal at home. I had 5 portabella caps staring at me in the fridge and was wondering what to do with them. I quickly decided to make veggie fajitas because it had been a while since we had enjoyed some Mexican food. The fajitas were SO easy to make and so flavorful. I added a side of refried beans that could be added to the tortilla and another side of shredded lettuce and guacamole. It was a quick dinner but very tasty.

Even though I used poblano peppers for my fajita skillet, any other type of peppers may be used. Ryan likes stewed tomatoes in his fajitas so I added one tomato to the grill. A quick mixture of salt, pepper and lime juice bring the flavors together quickly. It was an even amount of veggies. I complained to a friend that so often are veggie fajitas JUST peppers and onions that I forget what else CAN be grilled.Creativity sometimes is lacking. Enjoy this recipe any night of the week!

Portabella-Poblano Fajitas

print recipe

serves 2

3 portabella mushroom caps, sliced
2 poblano peppers,seeded and sliced
1 medium to large onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced

Heat a large wok or stove-top grill over medium heat, 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the sliced onions and peppers and grill for 5-8 minutes.

Slice the portabella mushrooms by removing the stem and slicing each cap 1/2 inch thick. Slice stem as well and add mushrooms to the onion-pepper mixture.

Drizzle the last Tablespoon of oil and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the sliced tomato and minced garlic to the mixture and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt, pepper and lime juice and mix well. Ready to eat.


Serve with a side of 4 corn tortillas each, 1/2 cup refried beans, 1 cup shredded lettuce each, guacamole, and hot sauce for a delicious meal!


Gingerbread Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake

I have to take a break from my Skinny Bitch recipes and tune you into my favorite category: BAKED GOODS! If I had a choice in my non-vegan days I would probably have a website like Daydreamer Desserts. Her site boasts beautiful recipes and pictures but I know I can never eat and bake like that! Well, I mean, I could, but it would all be vegan and I would not be focused on losing the weight I need to be losing. That is totally another story.

I enjoy making desserts as I have said before so when I found out we were having company over I immediately knew what I wanted to try. I have been really enjoying reading all the Project Food Blog posts Foodbuzz.com because I have been exposed to lots of talent and people just like me who enjoy being in the kitchen and creating. One of my all-time favorite blogs is Angela's at Oh She Glows. I feel like we are on the same wavelength and she enjoys veganizing and creating her own dishes like I do. Why not support another great cook?

When I saw Angela post her 4th entry for the food competition I knew I had to make the upside down pear cake. I do not think I have ever eaten a pear cake, that I can remember, but I have usually eaten cake with apples or pineapple. When I saw two large organic Bosc pears at my health store it was another given that I was going to be baking the cake.

The next question was, when was I going to bake this lovely cake? Between my day job, working out and other duties I decided to bake it before I started my job and after my early morning workout. How about 7am baking? I loved it actually. I love having dessert prepared before the main meal because it seems like the most important part of a meal. At least it is for me!

What is your favorite part of a meal? Dessert, main dish, sides?

The result?? This cake is SUPER moist and so delicious! Ryan gave me one look when I asked him how he liked it where I knew he was in spiced cake heaven. It goes perfect with your favorite hot glass beverage of choice. :) Enjoy!

Gingerbread Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake

Print recipe
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time 50-60minutes depending on pan size

makes 10-12 slices

Inspired by Karen Bates via The New York Times
by Oh She Glows

Cascading Caramel
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
 6 Tablespoons Soy Free Earth Balance margarine
 1 teaspoon sea salt
 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
 1 Tablespoon coconut peanut butter
 2 pears, peeled, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

1/2 cup Soy Free Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened chocolate almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 & 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 10 inch cake pan with coconut spray and set aside. Wash, peel, and slice pears into ¼ inch wedges. Set aside. [Note: I only had a 9-inch pan which worked fine, I just baked it for 50-60min]

Cascading Caramel: In a sauce pan, add the Earth Balance and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Stir for a few minutes. Add in the salt, maple syrup, and peanut butter and stir well for another couple minutes. Pour into greased cake pan and quickly spread around with a spoon to coat the bottom as much as you can. Be sure to do this quickly as the caramel begins to harden up very fast. Set aside and make your cake batter.

Cake batter: With a mixer, beat the Earth Balance and sugar until fluffy. In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients together (molasses, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla) and whisk. In a medium sized bowl mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, ginger, and cinnamon) and whisk. Alternating the wet and dry mixtures, slowly add them into the butter/sugar mixture a bit at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Dump mixture over the pears in the cake pan and smooth out with a large spatula.

Bake in the oven for approx. 50-60minutes at 325F if using a 9 or 10-inch cake pan. Allow to cool for around 20 minutes and then gently turn out onto a platter as shown in post, flipping the cake upside down.


Orecchiette with Spinach in a White Wine Garlic Sauce

I am happy that I already have several recipes in line from last week to feature this week because I am going to have a busy week this week. Ryan's week is busy with tests, presentations and rehearsals. I am also involved in these rehearsals since our Holland Chorale is performing their Fall Concert this Saturday. I am VERY much looking forward to it since one of our big works is Glenn McClure's Caribbean Mass. Here is the first movement:

I cannot wait to perform it. I have a solo / duet in the last movement of the mass. The work is different from anything I have ever performed and very unique. I am sure it will also be a unique performance for those who come and listen. Here is a clip of the last movement.

Here is my second recipe I tested from the new Skinny Bitch Ulitmate Everyday Cookbook. Even though I did not have the same pasta as originally posted in the cookbook, easy subsitutions can be made. I only had orecchiette pasta on hand since I had been wanting to try this new shape. There is nothing like eating small ears! GRoss I know, but orecchiette in Italian means "small ears." :)

The sauce was perfection and so gourmet. I did not have a small bottle of white wine, so I opened a bottle of Chardonnay so Ryan and I shared the rest of the bottle at dinner after I used some for the recipe. This pasta dish is really an easy recipe but I felt like I was eating a dish from a French restaurant. The flavors of the mushrooms, white, spinach, tomatoes, and garlic was a perfect blend.

My picture is nothing to gloat over, but everything cooked down and blended in the pasta so I hope this does not detract you from making the dish. Ryan wants me to make this again soon, so I hope this is a sign of its wonderful success. Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Spinach in a White Wine Garlic Sauce

Print recipe

makes 6 servings

1 (1-pound) box orecchiette, uncooked (original recipe uses spaghetti)
3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
5 medium white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable stock, divided ( I use Rapunzel bouillon cubes )
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped in large pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese ( I use this homemade recipe)

In a large pot, boil water over high heat and cook the pasta according to package directions until is is all dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and the mushrooms and saute' for 5-8 minutes or until slightly caramelized and golden. Add salt and pepper and cook 1 additional minute. Stir in 2 Tbsp of the stock and saute' until the stock is absorbed. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Add another 1 Tbsp of the oil to the pan and saute onion over high heat for 10 minutes or until onions are golden brown. Stir in the garlic and saute' for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Spoon the onion mixture into the same bowl as the mushrooms.

Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat and the remaining oil. Add the soinach and saute; until the sinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp of the stock and cook until absorbed. Sesaon with salt and pepper to taste. Retunr the mushrooms and onion mixture, and the tomatoes to the pan with the spinach and cook over medium-high heat. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by two-thirds, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining stock and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce beings to reduce again and thicken (it should still be brothy.) Add the Parmesan cheeze. Top the pasta with the sauce and toss to coat.
{My note: the borth with be absorbed in the pasta and be so delicious!}


The New Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook {Spicy Black Bean Enchiladas}

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine went by too quickly AS USUAL! Sometimes I just need one or more days to just make up for a long week. Would it NOT be nice to have the weekend be our work days and the week as our off days? Ha! I live such a dream do I not?
MSU vs Illinois
We enjoyed a gorgeous day watching MSU slaughter the Illini. The first half of the game was pretty slow with horrendous from the refs and penalities from both teams. I wondered for that first half of the game why they were doing so badly on a beautiful sunny day? I think it is because they were distracted by Gerard Butler being at the stadium. YES! Gerard Butler was at the game in person. WHy, you may ask? Well, MSU are known as the Spartans and since Mr. Butler was in 300, the question from the movie is shown throughout the game, "Spartans, what is your profession?? Who! WHo! WHo!" Mr. Butler was present to ask the question and th rest of the game was history. He conducted the band for a little bit, took pictures whith everyone, and distracted people. HE would certainly distract me! It was cool to have a celebrity at the game.

 This weekend I took advantage of going through a wonderful cookbook that Perseus Book publishers sent me to review. The new Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin just came out and I had the priviledge to try out several recipes from the book.

 The next few days I will be featuring 3 of her recipes that we have enjoyed. They only require the ingredients you normally have in your fridge or pantry and easily accesible. The pictures in this book are beautiful and enticing and the first 70 pages out 300 pages talk about ingredients, spices, products and green living, and information about harmful foods and ingredients. It is very informative and even more so than the collaborative work from the first Skinny Bitch book and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch Kim Barnouin's cookbook is a hardback cookbook with easy-to-follow recipes and creative ones at that.

The first recipe I tried focused on black beans. It almost reminded me of the Mexican dish called Enfrijoladas with pureed beans and corn tortillas, but this recipe turned them into enchiladas. They were perfect in spiciness and very flavorful. Ryan is not a BIG legume consumer, but he definitely liked the recipe. I think it is because it had cheese on it. :) Enjoy the recipe and stay tuned for several more during the week.

What is your favorite Skinny Bitch recipe?

Spicy Black Bean Enchiladas

makes 4 servings

2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 canned chipotle peppers (I substituted 2 fresh serrano peppers, seeded and chopped)
1 cup diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
 Fresh salsa for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium saute' pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil over medium-heat. Add the onion and saute' for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook 6-8 minutes. Add the chili pepper. cumin, and red pepper flakes and stir. Add the black beans and mix well/ Pour a little less than half of the cooked bean mixture into a food processor or high-powdered blender. Add the tomatoes and serrano peppers and blend well, for the black bean sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium pan, heat the remaining oil over medium-heat. Place 1 tortillas at a time in the pan and flip to warm both sides.

In a 13x9-inch baking dish, spread just enough of the black bean sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Fill each tortilla with about 3 Tablespoons of the black beans and black bean sauce. Roll and fold the seam under and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, pouring the rest of the black bean sauce over the top. Spirnkle with vegan cheese and bake for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with cilantro and serve with fresh salsa.

Make sure you check out my NEW "Vegan Substitutes" tab and "Performances and Recordings" tab!


Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Goddess Dressing

This has completely been a weird Friday for me. I woke up and then it felt like it has flown by.I mean, I wanted to start the weekend, but not all weird! Maybe there's a full moon somewhere, right? Nah,I think I have had a little of a rough week. Once I hit Thursday it seems like I hit the wall. On top of having my day job, I also have to plan meals and prepare them for when we are on the road or when Ryan is on the road. I am trying to come to terms that I am not a great meal planner for JUST the 2 of us. I have to get on the bandwagon, becasue as soon as kids start coming into the picture, I am going to HAVE to be better at planning. Don't get me wrong. Somedays I know what I am going to make ahead of time, but on other days I seem to hit a wall or I just don't have the strength.

I have to admit that the past few weeks my fellow foodies have been an inspiration to me. I read a post and see pictures and realize I have all the ingredients. Even though I am very much the person that can look in my pantry and fridge and winf something, sometimes it's not there. Sometimes, I find that after working out 5-6 times a week does not make me want to cook but it makes me want just a salad and some legumes tossed on it with some bread on the side. Simplicity is good, right? I tend to complicate it for myself, setting my own standards when I come into the kitchen.

Ryan does not expect anything gourmet, but I set my own standards and feel disappointed if I do not meet that.I am my worst nightmare sometimes, even though I like pleasing and I wait for Ryan's reaction. Anyway, I made a recipe that was super simple yet filling and very gourmet. Thanks to the ladies at Smitten Kitchen and Oh She Glows, I tried a new combination of flavors. Even though these two recipes focused on warm squash, I decided to use sweet potatoes since I was not able to make it to the market that week.

Since I have reduced the intake of red or white potatoes in our weekly meals, I have focused on sweet potatoes due to their being low on the glycemic chart. When I feel the need to enjoy some comfort food, sweet potatoes tend to be the go-to healthy carb for me. The dressing for this warm salad is so creamy and very different than any dressing one could enjoy. Throw out ranch, ceasar or blue cheese dressing and bring IN Tahini Goddess Dressing. I did not use the listed dressing from wither website but since I had made my own from a wonderful cookbook I found at the library, I had some already prepared and ready to pour on my warm salad. YUM!

I know I chatted with some people about their dislike for the flavor or consitency of the chickpea. Some people can manage eating it ONLY in hummus and others none at all. It all depends. I find that the bean can be grainy if you use from a can, but if you cook it on your own the bean can have a softer texture. Try it sometime.

What is your FAVORITE way to eat chickpeas?

NExt week I will be featuring another recipe using chickpeas that took the flavor to another stage! Can't wait! Meanwhile, enjoy this side dish as a main meal with a green salad or for the upcoming holidays. Such a delicious dish!

Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

serves 2

For salad:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2-3 pinches sea salt
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

 Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, garlic, peppers, coconut oil, and salt. Toss the potato pieces until evenly coated. Roast them on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool. Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing.

Tahini Goddess Dressing

slightly adapted from the book jam it, pickle it, cure it

makes 1 cup (perfect for regular salads)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup raw tahini
4 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons chopped parlsey

Place all ingredients, except the parlsey, in a small bowl and using an immersion blender or food processor, blend ingredients well until smooth. Add the parlsey at the end and mix well.


In a medium bowl, mix the roasted potatoes, chickpeas, red onions, parsley and 1/3 cup dressing. Combine ingredients well and serve. Eat with a green salad or by it own. Enjoy!
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