meatless monday: fleur de sel butternut squash soup

I have my first cold of the season.  Normally, it takes longer than this to get sick.  I think I even made it until January or February last year before I had to invest in a life’s supply of kleenex.  Needless to say, I was miserable today.  Sneezy, sniffly, drowsy eyes, sneezing… yuck.  I was happy to get home and be able to have some nice, hot soup for dinner.  The only thing that would have made it better is the crock pot.

When I got home, I got to work cutting up 2 large butternut squash to start it roasting.  This step could definitely be done ahead of time to cut down on preparation on a weeknight.  The final product was so creamy and delicious, it was definitely worth the wait :).  Fleur de sel was the perfect addition to butternut squash.  It is the french sea salt that is commonly used in salted caramel flavored desserts, making it the perfect salt for a sweeter variety squash.  Per bottle, it is a bit pricy.  But I have been using the container I got at Williams Sonoma for almost two years and it was totally worth it.

Fleur de sel Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 large butternut squash
  • 2-3 cups veggie broth, depending on thickness desired
  • 1/8t-1/4t garam masala
  • 1/8t-1/4t cumin
  • 1t fleur de sel, or more to taste
  • kale, optional
  • optional topping: pepitas
1. Preheat oven to 425′.  Cut up squash in small cubes and roast for 45 minutes to an hour.
2. Once the squash is cooked, put it into a blender (in batches if necessary) with the veggie broth.  Puree until smooth.
3. Once the squash is all pureed, put into a soup pot and bring to a boil on the stovetop, adding the spices and kale.  Thin, if needed, with additional veggie broth.
4. Top with pepitas and additional fleur de sel.
This might be my favorite butternut squash soup.  I do love Trader Joe’s, but this one is 100x thicker.  This will definitely be made again this year!

Bring on more soup!  And more importantly, bring on the kleenex!

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butternut squash pizza

Last winter I was eating so much butternut squash and pumpkin I swear I was a tad orange – it was brilliant.  I am so glad that the grocery stores have squash piling up in the bins now – no more scrounging at the bottom to pick a good one ;).  This particular squash, however, did not come from the grocery store.  We grew it in our very own garden!  It was actually picked a few weeks ago but today was finally the day to roast it and make something delicious.

Butternut squash on pizza might sound strange at first, but let’s be honest, butternut squash is delicious on almost anything.  The first time I had it on pizza was at Fire & Stone in Covent Garden in London before seeing The Lion King.  I had ‘The Melbourne‘ with mozzarella, tomato sauce, brie, sweet roasted butternut squash and balsamic red onions, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.  Such unique pizza toppings but it could not have been more delicious.  Of course when we have a new box of Nature’s Hilights brown rice pizza crusts in the freezer and a butternut squash on the counter, I was reminded of that pizza I had over a year and a half ago – only with far less gourmet toppings, and both gluten free and vegan.

Butternut Squash Pizza

  • 1 butternut squash
  • nature’s hilights brown rice pizza crust
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • daiya mozzarella style shreds
  • basil
1. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cube into pieces.
2. Roast in a 400′ oven for 40 minutes, or until squash is cooked through.
3. Prep the pizza crust according to directions.  Pre-bake if necessary.
4. Top the crust with oil, roasted butternut squash, daiya and basil.
5. Bake for 10 minutes until the daiya is melted.

Serve with the leftover roasted butternut squash ;).

oatmeal chocolate chip

I am currently procrastinating packing…  Well, not serious procrastination.  It might be worse – I’m waiting for laundry to be done so I actually have clothes to pack.  Which could have been done right away when I got home at 5pm.  But no, it’s 9:30 and the stuff just went in the dryer.  Whoops.

It’s a little nerve-wracking packing for my first business trip.  Having to pack a bunch of ‘dress-up’ clothes that will need to be ironed at the hotel (shocker!), shoes, plenty of workout clothes (hoping I won’t have to get up super early to do it!), all my getting-ready goodies.  Not to mention my food.  I have no clue what there will be for gluten-free, dairy-free vegetarian offerings.  My guess is not much – if even that much.  So I have oats and a box of almond milk to make overnight oats in the fridge in my room so at least I’ll have a nice and filling breakfast in the morning.  I even picked up a few individual packs of Justin’s to have on top!  I also bought a pack of rice cakes today and have a myriad of Lära and Clif Bars as well as some raw almonds.  This way, I will at least have some options available to supplement what I am guessing is going to be a fruit and salad-filled weekend.  And a long weekend at that since it is Wednesday – Sunday.

I am all checked in – after an incredibly long phone call with a guy from AirTran.  For some reason my payment wasn’t going through for a checked bag that was holding up the whole process and took much longer than it even needed to…  Good thing that right as I got off the phone, these little guys just happened to be waiting for me to eat them ;).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 c oat flour
  • 3/4t baking soda
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/3c melted earth balance (or other butter)
  • 1/4c organic sugar
  • 1T molasses
  • 1 egg (or flax egg)
  • 1/2c non-dairy milk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 c mini non-dairy chocolate chips

1. In a bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except for the oats and chocolate chips (you could sift them as well).

2. Whisk together the melted earth balance, sugar and molasses.  Add in the egg, milk and vanilla.

3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and add the oats and the chocolate chips.

4. Scoop into little balls, roll, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

5. Bake in a 350′ preheated oven for 10 minutes.

6. Eat!

These cookies are similar to the Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies I made awhile back but with more chunks due to the oats as well as puffier because of the egg addition.  These are also way cut down on the sugar (only 1/4c for over 3 dozen?).  I thought they were a good sweetness, not an over-the-top sugar high but enough so it tasted like a treat!

Who knows what I will be experiencing this weekend, but I have been told it will be an ‘ease’ into what some business trips will be like in the future, so enjoy it while I can ;).

latin monday

Can you believe it’s yet another Meatless Monday?!  This was the first real ‘weekend‘ after starting my new job so it was even more enjoyable – and even more depressing that it was Monday!  Although knowing there was a delicious dinner in store for tonight helped – except not when I found myself snack-less and hungry this afternoon!  We had a latin-inspired dish tonight that was taken from an idea in Appetite for Reduction, an awesome vegan cookbook.  Changes were made, per usual, and it was delectable.

Latin Lentils

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 small (or one large from the garden!) cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 8 kalamata olives
  • chili powder & cumin, to taste
  • 1/2T lime juice
  • 1/4c salsa verde
  • salt, to taste
  • brown rice tortillas (or your favorite tortilla/wrap)

1. Cook lentils either on the stovetop or in a rice cooker.

2. Saute zucchini in a little olive oil (or on a nonstick pan) over medium-high heat.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

Serve on tortillas (like tacos) or serve with tortilla wedges for dipping!

You could add anything else you’d like on top as well – such as tomatoes, lettuce, more salsa… pretty much anything you’d put on a taco you can put on here.  So good.  I loved the bites with the olives ;).  Such a delicious dinner after a hectic Monday!

chickpea reci{peas}

I absolutely love chickpeas.  Or garbanzo beans.  Whatever you’d like to call them.  I have even started eating them straight out of the can – well, after draining at least.  Is that weird?  Even if it is, I don’t care.  If chickpeas are in something, you can guarantee I’m going to love it.  Chickpeas have often popped up here from time to time…

Whether it was a trio of {hummus recipes}…

In a beans grain green recipe {honey-mustard millet & Beans}…

Served on top of Injera at an {Ethiopian restaurant}…

Added to the delicious {Strawberry Pesto Pasta Salad} by Daily Garnish

Let’s not forget how good it is on {gluten-free vegan pizza} either…

And last but certainly not least how awesome chickpeas made Oh She Glow’s {Heat Wave Summer Salad}…

Obviously, we go through a lot of chickpeas, and this recipe makes them go quite fast as well.  It does slow you down from just eating them from the can however ;).

{Spicy* Baked Chickpeas}

  • 1 can chickpeas (sometimes referred to as garbanzo)
  • 1T grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2t paprika
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/8t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4t black pepper
  • 1/2t salt

*The recipe wasn’t actually that spicy, so adjust the spices accordingly.

1. Drain the chickpeas.  Place into a plastic bag.

2. Add the oil into the bag and toss to coat.

3. Sprinkle in the spices and roll around until all the little chickpeas are covered.

4. Bake in a 400* oven for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally.  Make sure to not burn them.  Mine burnt due to a too high of oven (the temp is adjusted here), but they were still all eaten within a matter of days.

Feel free to play around with the spices to change the flavorings or spicy-ness.  You really can’t go wrong.

Oh my chickpeas.

easy vegan pizza toppings

What’s better than an easy to throw together pizza for dinner on my first day of work?  Nothing that I can think of anyways.  I think I’ll put together a post of my favorite things at work so far tomorrow, but I want to keep tonight’s post relatively nice + simple.  And oh hey, it’s Monday so it’s time for another Meatless Monday idea!  Remember my Veggie Fried Rice or my Meatless Monday on the Grill?  Well, it’s just gotten a whole lot simpler!

Without having gluten in my diet, pizza is one thing that I have missed, especially for busy days where all I feel like is ordering up a delivery pizza.  Luckily, I found Sami’s Bakery.  Their Millet & Flax goodies are absolutely delicious and there is a store nearby that carries a lot of their products, such as bread, bagels, wraps and PIZZA CRUST!  They come frozen so I can have them on hand at any time.  Now, it’s not exactly like regular pizza crust, but it’s not extremely thin either, which I think a lot of gluten free crusts end up being.  And I am not a thin-crust kind of girl, I much prefer the hand-tossed variety.  Well, no matter what crust you end up getting you can still make a delicious vegetarian (and even vegan!) pizza on a busy meatless Monday in your home!  (Or even as a late-night pizza snack if that’s what you’re up for.)

BBQ Chick’n Pizza

1. Prepare your crust accordingly.

2. Drain the chickpeas and toss in some bbq sauce.  Also spread some extra bbq sauce on the crust itself.

3. Top the pizza with the chickpeas + bbq sauce and the rest of your toppings.  Why the random toppings on this pizza?  Well our garden is just flourishing!

4. Feel free to top with any cheese or non-dairy cheese, or even just some nutritional yeast.  I ate it as-is and it was extremely delicious!

5. Bake according to your crust directions until done (pretty exact, I know 😉 ).

Other topping options?

  • pizza sauce (Trader Joe’s)
  • peppers
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • olives
  • mushrooms
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • fried eggs (no, I am not kidding)

You can really have fun with this meal, especially if you have friends or kids around.  Just have a handful of toppings and sauces available for them to be able to choose their own combination!

No matter what topping you decide to go with, it will be delicious and such a nice option for any meatless weeknight meal!

bittersweet

Today is bittersweet.  It’s the end of my summer “vacation”.  Tomorrow, I start my new job and my weeks will become extremely busy.  Going from zero hours of work per week to 40 is going to be quite the adjustment, both for me and this little guy.

He’s gotten quite clingy to me since I have been home a lot with him this summer, something he has not been used to for quite a few years.  Hopefully he’ll just nap all day and barely miss me, although I might have to put up with some sad eyes in the morning.

I digress.  Even though this day is bittersweet in the sense that all my weekdays will no longer feel like weekends, my weekends will now be all the more relaxing since it will definitely be a change to my weekly routine.  Plus, I am excited for my new job to start, although I am extremely nervous as well for the unknown and of having to learn a lot of new things.  And the pressure of this being a real position – hopefully it can all come naturally and not too much thrown at me right off the bat!

Well, as this marks the unofficial end to my summer, of course I would spend some of it in the kitchen!  Kinley, Crosby and I were headed to go sailing on Lake Michigan this afternoon with Mom and Dad, but the darn weather did not look like it was going to cooperate so we ended up turning around.  But even though the weather decided not to cooperate, at least these chocolate muffins did!  I found a recipe on the blog, Cookie Madness, and adapted it to be gluten free.  I also took out the chocolate chips called for in the recipe to try and make these not-so guilty!

Gluten Free + Vegan Chocolate Muffins

  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 3/4t xanthan gum
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4c -1/2c maple syrup*
  • 3/4c non-dairy milk
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1T unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 1T grapeseed or vegetable oil

*I used 1/4c of maple syrup in the recipe and thought it was a nice level of sweetness, but it you generally like muffins and baked goods sweeter you can up the syrup quantity.

1. Preheat your oven to 350′.

2. Sift together the flours, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. Mix the maple syrup, milk, vanilla extract, applesauce and oil.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully incorporated.

5. Spoon into roughly 9 cupcake wrappers and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Packing these for with my lunch will definitely help me get through my 8 hour work days!  These are fantastic as-is, but I think you could even pass these as a cupcake with adding chocolate chips in the batter.  A nice topping of a spoonful of either coconut butter or almond butter couldn’t hurt a thing either :).

out and about in gb: the urban frog

I have been sitting on these photos for quite some time.  Six weeks to be exact.  When Kinley and I were looking for restaurants to go to after we ran the Bellin Run, Kinley happened across the website for The Urban Frog in Green Bay, WI.  Their menu looked way too good to pass up and they even had Gluten Free and Vegan options!  Can’t get much better than that in my book.  They’re located right in downtown Green Bay – the perfect urban location.

For an appetizer Kinley and I shared their Guacamole and Organic Blue Chips.  The guacamole was delicious.  My only complaint was that it was gone just too darn fast.

I decided to get the Pumpkin Wrap.  Pumpkin hummus, Granny Smith apple, raw almonds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese on a multi-grain tortilla.  I got mine without feta and with a millet & flax tortilla instead.  They also had gluten free Teff tortillas so I could have had my pick!  I asked for it grilled, but it wasn’t so I ate it how it came.  I was too hungry to wait any longer!

Dessert was out of this world good.  I wish I lived closer so I could eat it all the time.  I guess it might be a good thing I don’t live too close then…  This is Frog Cake. Wheat-,gluten-, and dairy-free chocolate cake served with raspberries.  Say what?!  No wheat, gluten or dairy in the most delicious and moist chocolate cake I might have ever had?  Excellent.  Now you know why I want to go back!

Along with the food items I had they had very delicious looking smoothies and a bunch of other wrap and sandwich options – with a lot of local and organic ingredients!  I really do want to run the Bellin 10k again next year so we have a good excuse to eat here again!

The Urban Frog on Urbanspoon

pre-race fuel

I do not have a long history with running, as I have said before.  It is relatively new in my life and I am still trying to figure out how to best fuel my body for short and (more importantly) long runs.  I obviously know pasta is a huge tradition for pre-race dinners.  Spaghetti nights being very common the night before a long run or race.  But since recently eliminating gluten from my diet, it has become harder to fill my meals up with carbs.  I used to eat a sandwich every day, something that I rarely have since the bread I now buy is more expensive than my previous gluten-filled sprouted wheat bread.

A simple carbo-loading night is now not quite as simple.  No plain spaghetti for us.  So when Kinley was gearing up to run in the Summerfest 1/2 marathon, we had to think of something that would help her get through her run.  What did we end up with?  Pancakes!

We had somewhat of a pancake party as my friend, Ashley, was spending the night.  She brought her own mix, but Kinley whipped up a delicious recipe we have been using that was inspired by the recipe Weekend Pancakes Made Easy in the cookbook, Vegan Yum Yum.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Pancakes (the picture above is actually a triple recipe, so don’t be concerned when you don’t make a pile of pancakes with the below measurements 😉 )

makes 2-3 servings

  • 1 c oat flour
  • 1/3c millet flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 2T ground flax
  • 1cup non-dairy milk (plus more milk or water if needed to thin out batter)
  • 2T unsweetened applesauce
  • 1t vanilla

1. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flax.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce and vanilla.

3. Mix the wet ingredients to the dry and add more liquid if necessary.

4. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown on the one side, flip and cook the other side to golden-brown as well.

*It also works to keep cooked pancakes in a 250* preheated oven if you wanted to make up the whole batch before serving!

I love my pancakes topped with banana, almond butter, coconut butter and of course pure maple syrup – but use any of your favorite toppings (or mix-ins!).

These definitely helped Kinley carbo-load for her race!

dessert on the grill

I love summer cookouts.  I believe that almost everything tastes better from a grill.  However, up until last week, I had never attempted even turning on the grill by myself, but I am happy that I did since I had the most delicious sweet potatoes come off of it.  Sometimes after a warm, summery day all you want it a frozen dessert, such as banana soft serve, but on nights when the air is cool and you feel more like sitting around a fire than jumping in the pool, a warm dessert is where it’s at.  Especially when it can be made on the grill.

The below is only a suggestion, feel free to change up any of the fillings/toppings to suite your taste.

Chocolate Marshmallow Stuffed Grilled Bananas makes 1 serving

  • 1 banana
  • 1-2T chocolate chips
  • 5-6 marshmallows (vegan or mini)

1. Cut a slit into the banana on the inside curvy side (consult picture).

2. Stuff with desired toppings and wrap in aluminum foil.

3. Place on the grill for 5-10 minutes until the banana is warm and the chocolate and marshmallow have melted.

4. Make sure to take out of the peel before eating!  You can also top with some ice cream, whipped cream, nut butter… In our case, we put a dollop of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.

Other possible additions: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, coconut, white chocolate chips, etc.

You (and your guests) will be sure to go bananas over this delicious grilled dessert.