Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recipe Wednesday - Mexi-Quinoa

As many of you know I've been eating a vegan, gluten free diet for a few months now.  (Many of you didn't know that since I think this is the first time I've mentioned the "gluten free" part on the blog, but now you're all caught up!)  I've also signed up to run a 5k with my girlfriend Lisa.  (Yes, it's true.  I've gone 'round the bend!)

Since I've taken meat, eggs and dairy out of my diet AND I'm doing some intense (for me) runs, I need a good source of plant-based protein.  Quinoa happens to be a great source!  I try to use it as much as I can, in my burgers, in my smoothies (yes!) and here in this dish.

I came across this recipe awhile back and, as usual, made a few tweaks.  I think I made enough changes that I can post it here and say it isn't the same recipe.

2-3 Tsp. Coconut Oil
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
1.5 - 2 cups Chopped Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers (we buy the three pack combo when they're on sale, chop them and freeze them.  Then when I need them for something like this, I just open  up the freezer bag and pour some out.)
3-4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. Chili Powder (next time, I might try using homemade taco seasoning)
1 c. Uncooked Quinoa (rinsed, drained)
1.5 - 2 c. Vegetable Broth
1 Tbs. Lime Juice
2/3 c. Nutritional Yeast (make sure this is nutritional yeast, not any other kind)
1 jar of your favorite salsa (about 680mL)
1 can Black Beans, rinsed, drained
Corn Chips

In a dutch-oven, heat the oil over medium then add the onions and peppers.  Cook until tender then add in the garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the chili powder, cook about one minute.  Put in the quinoa, veggie broth and lime juice and give a quick stir to get everything mixed together.  Bring to a boil then place a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Once all the liquid is absorbed stir in the nutritional yeast, salsa and black beans.  (The nutritional yeast gives this dish a sense of cheesiness!) 
Serve with chips.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Recipe Wednesday - Banapple Smoothie

Last fall, when Biju and I invested in our VitaMix, I found a smoothie recipe in the cookbook that came with it.  It called for regular milk and yogurt and since I was eating a vegan diet (still am, for the most part) I needed to change a few things.  Well, I ended up changing more than just a couple things and the smoothie sort of morphed into something I have for breakfast multiple times a week.  Biju likes this on weekend mornings with cashews blended into it (the cashews go in last, after I've already blended everything else up, and only for a small amount of time on a low blend speed. Just enough to break the cashews up.  He likes their crunch!)  Even Alex asks for this smoothie despite the fact that it is green and clearly healthy!

Banapple Smoothie

1 c. almond milk
1 c. water
1 banana
1/4 c. uncooked rolled oats (quick oats would work, also) (use gluten free oats if needed)
1 medium apple (we use either gala or red delicious)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbs. ground flax seed 
1 “mini muffin” cube of spinach
1 “mini muffin” cube of kale 
(or two spinach or two kale, which ever combo you want to use)
Put everything into the blender, in order, blend until smooth.  It might take a bit longer to break down the green cubes.  Frozen, cut up bananas work well with this.  
This usually makes just under 4 cups which is the perfect amount for two adults or one adult and three kids.  Sometimes, I pour half into a tall drinking glass and the rest into a mason jar for the next day.
To get the kale and spinach cubes, pour about 1 c. of water into the blender then add in handfuls of the leafy greens bit by bit until the whole bunch is blended up.  Pour into muffin tins and freeze.  Remove from tins and place into freezer bags.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pine Car Derby

Alright, ya'll might be wondering why I'm bothering to go back and post what happened months ago.  I might be a little slow in getting these things up but since I started this blog so family in India (and even friends and family here in the states) can see what our family does on a regular basis I figure I might as well try to catch up.  (That seems to be a running theme, catching up.)

Ajay's Cub Scout Pack had their annual Pinewood Derby.  Biju and Ajay got the shape taken care of during one of the weekly meetings and then spent some time at home finishing it up.  Alex got someone's bit of block they had sawed off and had fun painting it up.  Aren got to play with watercolors while the other two painted their cars.

Here is Ajay's finished car!

Standing at the check in table, getting the final weight, registering, etc.

Here's the track they use for racing.

After weighing the car Ajay and Biju decided it needed a bit more weight, so they added that little one at the front.  They also used some graphite powder to help "slick" the wheels.

All the boys' cars lined up, ready for racing!

Ready to start??

While the Cubs were racing, Biju let Aren play on his phone.  It kept him a little more calm than he would've been had he been let loose in the gym. 
Ajay did a fine job on his car and since he didn't take first place this year he has a goal to work towards next year!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Recipe Wednesday - Red Berry Smoothie

Hi, it's me again!  I realized the other day that I hadn't even uploaded pictures from the camera to the computer since the middle of March!!  So I got all caught up with that (check mark!) and now I can move on with getting a few more blog posts up here.

First order of business, though, is to share this delicious smoothie recipe with you!

Since September I've been having mainly smoothies for my breakfasts.  Occasionally I'll throw in a bowl of (gluten free) oatmeal, but honestly, smoothies are just what I'm wanting right now!  (Winter weather didn't even dissuade me from having these delicious, healthy drinks.)

This morning I got out my trusty kitchen scales and measured everything as it went into the VitaMix (instead of just eyeballing it).  This mornings smoothie had just the right amount of tartness for me, you can adjust however you feel fit.  Also, if you don't have a VitaMix or high powered blender, you may want to sub some of the frozen items for non-frozen.  I usually have to use the tamper to get everything down to the blades. 

Red Berry Smoothie
1 cup Almond Milk (use whatever milk you prefer, but I love using my homemade almond milk) (8oz/228grams)
1/3 c. Dried Cranberries (56g.) (I used a quarter cup the other day and it just didn't have the right level of sweet-tartness for me)
1 c. frozen strawberries (140g.)
1/2 c. frozen raspberries (56 g.)
2 frozen spinach cubes (42 g.)*
1 Tbs ground flax seed (6g.)

Put into blender, in order listed, blend until smooth!  This made up a little over 2.5 cups of smoothie this morning.  I drank a tall (2 cup) glass and Aren drank the rest.

Nutrition info (for the whole smoothie) as given by MyFitnessPal:

Calories 358
Carbs 75
Fat 5
Protein 5
Sodium 181**
Sugar 57

*To make my frozen spinach cubes I pour about a cup of water into the blender, throw in a handful or two of baby spinach and blend on medium speed.  Through the opening in the top, while the blender is still running, I (carefully) put more handfuls until the spinach container is empty and the blender is full of liquid nutrition.  Then I pour the mixture into a silicone mini muffin tin and freeze.  Each cube is about 3 calories.

**I'm not sure what the sodium count really is for my smoothie.  I use homemade almond milk but on MyFitnessPal I only have the option of choosing a store bought almond milk.  I can't imagine my homemade milk has much sodium, if any at all.

If you try this (and please do!) let me know what you think!  I have another smoothie recipe coming up soon and a few Indian dishes planned, also!