A Tasty Way to Eat Your Veggies

We finally made vegetable curry tonight for dinner and it was delicious (and quick and easy)! It was just what my body needed after eating so much junk food these last couple of days. I found the recipe from Kidspot Australia and altered it a bit to my liking. I will definitely be making the vegetable curry again, but maybe as a side dish next time since this did not have much protein in it.

Vegetable Curry
Serves 4-6 as a main dish, more if using for a side

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My Favorite Homemade Chili

I once found a random vegetarian chili recipe and with my own changes and additions it’s the only “chili’ recipe I make. I know that technically chili doesn’t have beans but for the sake of convenience, I call this chili. I’ve tried plenty of chili (especially with my old job and all the fire department chili cook-offs I attended), but I have stuck to this recipe or a slight variation of this recipe, ever since I tried making it. I generally make it without meat, but I am trying to up my protein intake so this time I added grass-fed ground beef.

Lulu’s Sometimes Vegetarian Chili

Makes approx. Seven, 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, diced (comes in a can, I also like to add extra sauce from it as well)
  • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp (or 5 tsp) Cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprikia
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Olive oil or bacon grease
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef (usually 80/20 around here) optional
  • 1 bottle of beer (most anything would work, but I would stay away from chocolate stouts) or 12 ounces chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4-1 cup chicken or beef broth for extra liquid if needed (I used about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can or 2 cups cooked black beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)
  • 1 can or 1.5 cups cooked red kidney beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)

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Chickpea-free paleo hummus

I’m not perfect and sometimes I really don’t like eating raw vegetables. I know they are super healthy for you but I haven’t made it to that point yet. What makes eating raw vegetables easier? Eating them with delicious dipping sauces. My favorite dips include guacamole and hummus. Guacamole is easy to make but hummus on a paleo diet can be a challenge. Luckily I found a great hummus recipe from Son of Grok.

I made a few changes and now I need to be careful not to eat it on everything!

Legume-free hummus that still tastes good!

Paleo Hummus – with Red Pepper Variation

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Trying out cauliflower pizza crust

I love pizza – honestly, who doesn’t? Warm bread, melty cheese, your choice of topping; yum. I am trying to go grain free but I still want pizza! I recently came across cauliflower pizza crust and was intrigued. After reading about 7 different recipes, instructions, and pages of comments on cauliflower pizza crust, I decided to give it a try.

My main goal was to make sure it was not soggy.

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This week’s meal plan

Last week we fell off the wagon a little bit. Starting with my husband’s birthday, I consumed far too many grains and it made itself known. I broke out with these really annoying bumps on the backs of my arms and legs. Plus I felt icky all week.

Back to business!

I have a ton of squash and peppers in my fridge right now from my CSA box. I think I am starting to grow tired of the summer squash! I’ve been craving beets and sweet potatoes lately and couldn’t pass them up – especially since they were local and on sale!

All the fish we bought was wild caught and all the meat and chicken we purchased was organic and 100% grass fed. All of our produce was from local, organic farmers as well.

Also on my list to make is hummus to dip peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. I have all the ingredients, just need to blend them together. Plus I still need to make that delicious-looking tomato pesto!

This week’s dinner menu:

Monday:
Pan grilled Mahi Mahi
Served with mashed sweet potato and green beans

Tuesday:
Lemon-pepper chicken in the crockpot
served with summer squash and a beet salad

Wednesday:
Stir-fry beef with onions, peppers, garlic, and squash
served with quinoa

Thursday:
Cauliflower Crust vegetable pizza (experimental)
served with a beet salad

Friday:
Hamburger patties with bacon and avocado
served with baked sweet potato fries

Saturday:

BBQ pork chops
served with fruit salad and spinach salad

Pesto Please! What to do with all that basil

Basil is in season and if you have recently planted it in your garden the fragrant herb is probably trying to take over! I have a planter of it on my balcony and I still have plenty of it to make lots of yummy things.

Number one thing to make with basil? Pesto of course!

Classic Pesto Recipe from Food Network:

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Now, what to do with all of that pesto?

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Don’t be afraid of the beet!

Beet greens and ends

We’ve gotten a few beets in our CSA box the last couple of years. They (shamefully) were left in the fridge for too long of a time and then sneakily thrown out. They seemed too much work, they taste like dirt (right? That’s what they say?), and they are too messy.

Our last CSA box contained two beets. I was determined to cook them. My husband might not eat them, but I would at least prepare them. Instead of heating up the whole house on a hot day and roasting them in the oven, I opted to boil them. I cut the ends off, scrubbed them with a vegetable brush, and popped them into a pot of boiling water.

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Summer Garden Recipes

Just a small portion of this week's CSA veggies

Yesterday I attended a class at a local nursery and garden shop about how to cook with your summer bounty. While I don’t really have a garden (just a couple containers), our CSA box is full of lots of summer garden goodies.

The nursery staff showed us how they make a few of their favorite dishes using items they grow themselves. We even got a little mini-cookbook and were able to sample the goods. I didn’t try the banana and apricot or blueberry muffins, but I imagine they were pretty tasty. I had spearmint ice tea which wasn’t overpowering but still refreshing and I enjoyed the basil and Parmesan rounds as well as the bruschetta topping. They also served a cowboy caviar with blueberries instead of beans, which made it light and perfect for hot days.

Here are few recipes from the class:

Chavelle’s Bruschetta

Heirloom tomatoes
1/2 Walla sweet onion
Fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
Grey or sea salt
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (the more aged the better)
Olive Oil
Baguette

Chop tomatoes and onions. In a small bowl, add the vinegar then whisk in olive oil and garlic. Add the tomatoes and onions. Stir gently. Stir in basil and salt and pepper to taste. Bruschetta is best served after a few hours, at room temperature. If not serving immediately, omit the basil until right before you serve. Spoon on grilled or toasted baguette slices.

Rounds of Pesto (from the cookbook California Sizzles)
Makes 36

3/4 cup slivered basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (grate yourself or buy a good quality cheese already grated)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
French baguette

Stir together basil, cheese, garlic and mayonnaise until blended. Spread each piece of bread with a generous amount of mixture. Broil bread approx. 3-4 minutes on a cooking sheet, until bubbly and lightly browned.

These were pretty tasty but I try and avoid too much bread. This mixture might be tasty on squash rounds or other veggies.

Teresa’s Mixed Berries with Marscarpone-Limoncello Creme
Serves 8

3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
4 oz container marscarpone cheese
3/4 c sugar
3 tbsp limoncello
8 cups assorted fresh berries
3/4 c raspberry preserves
1 tbsp grated lemon peel

Combine cream, marscarpone, 3 tbsp sugar, and limoncello in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. In another bowl, combine 1/2 sugar, berries, preserves, and lemon peel. Toss gently. Divide berry mixture into 8 dishes and top with cream mixture.

Quick and Easy Garden Pizza

Use leftovers and extra veggies for a simple meal

I’m a fan of Food Renegade, and as part of their Fight Back Friday, here is simple recipe for a healthy meal with lots of vegetables.

Sometimes we have trouble eating all the vegetables we get in out CSA Box or sometimes we just don’t feel like cooking. The solution?

Easy Garden Pizza

Ingredients:
Premade or precooked crust – I use organic gluten-free or sprouted-wheat crust
Olive Oil
Seasonings (basil, pepper, garlic, etc)
Vegetables (we use organic vegetables from our CSA Box or garden)
Cheese (we use raw cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, or goat cheese)

The winning combo for us this vegetable season?
Yellow squash
Eggplant (a great way to use this veggie if it’s not your favorite)
Leeks
Red onions
Peppers
Tomatoes
Garlic

I brush the crust with olive oil and 2 spoonfuls of fresh organic salsa. I sprinkle minced garlic throughout.
I top with sliced and chopped vegetables, then sprinkle with cheese. (if using leftover meat, place on the pizza before the cheese).
I then sprinkle basil and sun dried tomato flakes all over the pizza.

Place on a pizza stone after following crust directions for temperature. Should be ready in 8-12 minutes. We find the pizza pairs perfectly with a fresh salad with oil and balsamic vinegar.

This recipe can easily be changed to be gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian.
A friend of mine uses veganaise as a dip to serve with pizza.

Don’t be afraid to use whatever vegetables you have on had. You can put anything on pizza and it can be healthy!