Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quinoa and Kale Soup

With this big Nor'easter that is about to hit New England this weekend, I decided it was best to gear up for this storm with some hearty soup. I hate staying indoors all weekend long, but sometimes I can justify it for meal prepping. Since everyone is gearing up for the storm, I wanted to make a soup that is in essence "my kitchen sink" but still provided a hearty bite. Plus, I had some cut up butternut squash in my freezer that needed to be used up!
This soup is not only packed with protein and veggies, it is also vegan! Now, I'm not a vegan but I think it's nice to try and eat a mostly plant-based diet, most of the time. So vague-- right? I don't try to "schedule" my no meat days, but I usually follow Meatless Monday, stay away from it on Fridays and maybe a few other times during the week. I know that meat has protein, but so does quinoa, beans, tofu, etc. There are so many ways to get protein... so following a mostly plant-based diet, it forces you to be creative!

So put on your thinking caps, get in your nutrients, and help save the environment by eating your greens!
2 13 oz. can Red kidney beans, drained
6 c. Butternut squash, cubed
3 cloves Garlic
3/4 c. Roasted corn, frozen (I used a Trader Joe's brand)
2 c. Kale, raw, rough-chopped
8 c. Vegetable broth
2 tsp. ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. ground Nutmeg
1 c. Quinoa, uncooked
Sea salt & Black pepper to taste
Juice of 2 lemons

Yields ~ 8 servings

Directions: In a large boiling pan, add in beans, squash, corn, kale, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Drop heat to medium before adding in the uncooked quinoa. Place lid on top and simmer for 30 minutes (or until quinoa is cooked). After everything cooked through, I added the cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and just let the soup simmer for ~ 12 minutes (let everything combine together).  Before serving, I added fresh squeezed lemon juice to help brighten up the flavor as everything is pretty heavy in this soup. Serve with some nice toasted baguette ~Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pot 'o Gold Cupcakes {St. Patty's Day}

 Happy St. Patricks Day everyone! I had to get up super early this morning and make sure that I posted these cupcakes for you guys today! Why? Because hello they were just too cute not to! These cupcakes have Rolo candies in the center, so when they are double pot-o-gold treats! One on top, one in the middle, sounds like a win-win to me, don't you think?

Here's the thing I love about St. Patricks Day, although I am not Irish by blood I feel as though I have learned some valuable traits from this wonderful Irish family bestowed in me. This family is the DeVere White family of Sacramento, California! They have a wonderful Irish put in Sacramento and Davis. I had the pleasure to be a part of this pub family for some time during college. Although they helped me pay my bills and fed right into my Irish coffee addiction, what they taught me was this idea that family is so important. The DeVere White family is a huge one, but they were always willing to add more and bring people into this great big family. I've never had supervisors/bosses who listen, are professional, treat their employees with the utmost respect, and are always willing to share their knowledge and culture with others. Thank you DeVere White Family for everything you've taught me-- and anyone in the Sacramento area... you have to go and check this pub out especially TODAY!: 
Ever since I became a part of their family (and even when I moved away) I still have an attachment to Ireland, the Irish culture, and of course... Irish coffees! Wish I was there to celebrate with my pub family, but in spirit I bring you these cupcakes and hopefully they bestow some luck onto you today!
24 Rolo candies, unwrapped, frozen
1 1/2 c. AP flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
3 lg. Egg whites
2/3 c. coconut sugar, white
1 1/2 stick Butter, unsalted, melted
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 c. Almond milk
6 drops Green Frosting

3 c. Powdered sugar
1/3 c. Butter, unsalted, soft
2 tbs. Almond milk
4 drops Green Frosting

Gold coins!
Gold sprinkles

Yields ~24 cupcakes 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line one regular-size muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Unwrap all the Rolos and freeze them for ~ 20 minutes before using. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Cream together egg whites, butter, and vanilla (can use electric mixer or whisk). Slowly add dry ingredients to your creamed eggs. Add in milk and food coloring and combine well (takes only ~ 2 minutes, don't overmix or they will be very dry).  Fill liners 1/2 way and add in frozen Rolo to the center. Make sure the batter covers the top of the center candy. Bake for 18 minutes or until testing toothpick comes out clean (but be careful not to put it in the center or you'll get chocolate all over your toothpick). 

While your cupcakes are baking, whisk together powdered sugar and butter for frosting. As they are mixing together add in milk slowly until desired consistency. Add in food coloring and get it as green as you want! Mine took only 4 drops! 

Frost cooled cupcakes, place a gold coin on top and sprinkle with gold sprinkles! Share with your friends because that's what the Irish are all about-- sharing is caring! Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Dill

Headed out to my local farmers market last weekend and was so excited to see purple cauliflower had peeked its head back out for the season! There is just something about this purple veggie that makes eating it so fun! Granted, it tastes roughly the same as white cauliflower— but it's purple guys!

I should say, it does have a slightly more mild/nutty flavor than the white counterpart. I've tried mashing it before for a purple cauli-mash, but I didn't like it as much as I did roasted. You really just need to let this veggie shine on its own— no need to doctor up too much!

1 medium head (5-6" diameter) purple Cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbs. Coconut oil, melted
1/2 tbs. dried Dill
2 tsp. Garlic, powder
juice of half a Lemon
Black pepper

Yields ~ 4 servings

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 deg. F. Cut your cauliflower into florets, wash, and dry well. Melt your coconut oil (microwave works great) and place in mixing bowl with dried dill, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Coat florets evenly and spread onto a lined baking sheet.

Then I cracked a healthy amount of black pepper over the florets before they went into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and ~Enjoy! Makes for a great snack or lunch, I added some to my mason jar salad for lunch today at work!