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Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Meal Menu

Well...after we stopped getting the reclaimed produce boxes, we started getting weekly boxes of vegetables from a local co-op.  It was fun, but we decided that we could get a better bang for our buck if we just purchased it ourselves (or grew it!!)

I have been busy prepping and planting in the garden.  So far, we have carrots and beets growing strong, kale and swiss chard from summer plantings, as well as the green onions, lima beans, peppers, green beans, and okra from this summer.
So far this fall, we've planted more beets, radishes, peas, turnips, more kale, lettuce, more swiss chard, and spinach.

I planted a package of bok choy seeds...though they were definitely not bok choy.  It's some kind of lettuce...not sure what it is, so we just call it not-bok-choy. :)  It's actually a really nice and buttery lettuce. :)

So...I'm not sure if you saw my ridiculous pepper harvesting that I've been doing, but I've harvested 3 batches of peppers this large in September alone!  My freezer is filled with bags of peppers (not to mention all the fruit I froze over the summer, the corn, the kale I've been freezing, the beans that I make in huge batches, or the 27 bags of candy roaster pumpkin I have in there! :) ).

I was laying in bed this morning and I was craving Baked Beans! I told you I LOVE them. :)  So, that's dinner tonight.  Baked beans, potato wedges, and salad.

Yesterday I chopped up a ton of peppers to rotate through the freezer on cookie sheets to freeze before bagging.  I pulled out the bowl from the fridge this morning and I suddenly realized I should make Black Bean and Corn Salsa!  It would go great with the left over rice from yesterday's Red Beans and Rice.   Well, I threw it all together this morning, so now tomorrow's dinner is already done!
Then I was thinking about the huge container of spinach I bought on an impulse last week and the $1 mushroom containers I picked up also.  Then I thought - yeah, Lentil Loaf! :)  We love Rip's from My Beef With Meat.  So lentil loaf and roasted veggies sound perfect for Wednesday.  The lentil loaves taste even better when they are made a day or two in advance, so they are in the oven as I type this.  It smells amazing in here!!!  

Now I felt like I was on a roll so I was thinking about what to have the rest of the week, I'm going to try Fat Free Vegan's Mac and Cheese with a salad on Thursday.  I'm so excited about it!!

That brings us to Friday - which is our anniversary, so I'm thinking we'll go out to eat. :) If not, I think Pad Thai would be delicious.

Saturday will be left overs.
Sunday I think some Sweet Potato Chili that I have in the freezer sounds fantastic.  And that gets me through the week!!! :)

And dinners are actually made for every day except one - heck yes to free time in the fall to enjoy the beautiful weather with my Te-Man!!  :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Pot Wonder

Sometimes I want spaghetti, but not regular spaghetti - I used to make a dish in the oven called "fresh spaghetti" that I think of it, I haven't made that in a LONG time...I'll have to come up with a way to make it plant based and share it with you all! :)

Anyway, anything that cures my spaghetti craving while simultaneously curing my need for something different and tastes amazing and is met with noodle filled "mmmm"s and slurping - must be a winner! :)

And....wait for this only you One Pot! What?!  After the insane mess I usually make in the kitchen with every dish in my cabinet (i.e. Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers), one pot? That's fantastic!!!

One Pot Wonder
What's In It:
4 c vegetable broth
1 12-13oz box of spaghetti (or angel hair, fettucini, etc)
8 oz spinach, sliced (or swiss chard, kale, etc)
1 medium onion, diced
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
4 cloves garlic
1 t dried basil
2 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
nutritional yeast (optional)

What To Do With It:
Add everything to the pot, break noodles in half and add them last.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium, remove lid, and boil 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or your favorite spaghetti toppings. :)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Did you wake up today thinking I NEED to find a better meatless burger recipe?  Te-Man just told me he did. :)  
Maybe you're looking for a veggie burger recipe and you didn't even know it. :)  

I was searching for a recipe that made me forget I wasn't eating a regular burger - or as close to that as I can get. This is hands down the best veggie burger I have ever made - and it's for that reason that I don't mind making ever dish in my house dirty to make them.  Well - I guess I mind a little, which is why I always double this recipe and freeze the burgers.  I get anywhere from 50-60 burgers from a double batch, so I don't make them very often, but we get to eat them whenever we want! :)

Now you have the burger...are you looking for something to pair it with?  How about these Oven Baked Beans


Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
What's In It:
2 c water
1 c quinoa
1 c whole wheat macaroni (uncooked)
2 c black beans (canned or cooked)
2 c red beans cooked
1 1/3 c bbq sauce
1 medium onion
1 t garlic, minced
2 t chili powder
1 t mustard powder
1/2 t hickory salt (or regular salt)
1/2 t pepper
2 c whole wheat bread crumbs

What To Do With It:
Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer  for 20 minutes.  Set aside when finished.
Meanwhile, in a seperate pot, boil the macaroni until over done.  Drain.
Using a food processor, process the macaroni until you can no longer see any whole noodles.  Add the beans, bbq sauce, seasonings, onion, and garlic.  Process until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bean mixture, bread crumbs, and quinoa and mix well.
Shape into burgers and freeze or cook.

To cook, heat skillet over medium high heat and cook until browned on both sides and heated through. 3-5 minutes per side.   If using frozen burgers, be sure to thaw them before cooking.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oven Baked Beans

I LOVE beans and these baked beans are my all time favorite.

I can eat these for days on end.  Seriously.  I buy enough beans to make this at least 3 times a month and I definitely have the largest serving at dinner and then I eat them for lunch for at least the next two days.  And then I cry a little when the dish is empty. ;)

I LOVE these! You can play with the sweetness by adding less bbq sauce or maybe using a mustard or vinegar based bbq sauce.

Or leave them as is and savor every bite.

Bean Crock :)

Oven Baked Beans
What's In It:
28oz can Bush's Vegetarian Beans*
16 oz can chili beans
16 oz can kidney beans
1 c bbq sauce
1 c ketchup
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 T brown mustard
1 T onion powder

What To Do With It:
Mix together and bake in a 9x13 in pan at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

*Or your favorite baked beans

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wow - Chipotle Nails It!

This video is amazing.  Makes me cry every time I see it.  I feel like this is exactly what I want to scream from the top of my lungs every day!

Watch it.

Watch it again.

Share it.

Talk about it.


Blueberry Breakfast Tarts

Let's start the return to blogging off right with some super delicious, surprisingly easy, and crowd pleasing Blueberry Breakfast Tarts.
Before I get to the recipe, it's confession time.  Do any of you remember the friends episode where Monica says, "And the fat girl inside me of really wants to go.  I-I owe her this.  I never let her eat."  This is the only line from that show that I remember.  I guess it really hit a nerve with me. :)  I'll tell you a secret - not many people know this....but I think I had a poptart addiction as a child.  I would sneak extra of those crazy space-ready-tinfoil packets out of the cabinet and I would hide them in our downstairs couch and eat them when I was down there by myself.  Maybe I was a squirrel in a past life and I just have this need to store food - that could explain my insane canning situation. haha.
 I was a rather overweight child and have struggled a bit as an adult as well.  Since going plant based, I find myself eating until I'm full and being very content with that.  Sometimes that means 3 bowls of chili other times, it's just a salad.  I think that listening to when my body is really hungry and not being ashamed or afraid to feed that hunger until it is gone (even if I get some weird looks - yes, this is all for me!) is such a liberating feeling.  I'm not afraid to down two entire plates of food because I know the food I'm eating is almost always fruits and vegetables or whole grains.  I haven't been exercising the way I should (read that as not-at-all) for probably 2 months, but I haven't gained a pound and believe me...I have been EATING! :)

So, now that I've gone on and on about eating whole unprocessed foods, let's slip in a treat.  I made these about a month ago and they barely survived the first 30 minutes. :)  Delicious!!

You should 100% take a few minutes to make these - but don't hide any under your couch. :)

Blueberry Breakfast Tarts
What's In It:*
1 1/2 c blueberries
1/4 c sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 T cornstarch

2 pie crusts**

What To Do With It:
Stir together berries, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in cornstarch and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the mixture gets nice and thick.  If it's too thick, add a little water.  Once you reached a spreadable consistency, set it aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

Roll out half of your dough into a thin rectangle.  Cut into smaller rectangles about 2.5 in x 4 in - the size here isn't really important, just however big you want your tarts.

Place half of your rectangles on the baking sheet (or as many as will fit - I had to do 2 batches)

Take a heaping tablespoon of blueberry filling and spread onto each rectangle on the baking sheet.

Top each rectangle on the baking sheet with another rectangle of dough. Slightly crimp the edges with a fork. 
Sprinkle with a bit of sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a light brown. 

Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before serving.

**If you are really crunched for time or just don't have any blueberries, you can always use jam as the filling instead.  I ran out of blueberry filling and I still had 6 rectangles left, so I used some homemade peachsauce (like applesauce but made with peaches) as the was fantastic! 
*Use your favorite recipe.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Day of Fall

Happy Fall everyone!  It is officially my favorite time of the year!  I could sit here and list all of the reasons for you, but that would take FOREVER so I'll just highlight a few.

My Anniversary with Wolverine - it'll be 5 years this year. :)
Annual camping trip with the Super Parents to Tellico Plains, TN
Ze-Ra's Birthday
General Fall Awesomeness! :)

I'm going to try to be on here a bit more...definitely been neglecting the blog these days.  I guess all the summer activities got in the way. :)  I'll do my best. :)

Have a wonderful fall!!!