Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to come across this blog, but I’m ranking it up there with a few others as my go-to for weekday meals.  I find that once you start cooking, it becomes more and more difficult to find simple, easy, and delicious recipes to make that don’t require an hour in the kitchen.  I know most people don’t have too much time during the weekday evenings to throw something together, so getting some basic recipes that you can keep coming back to when you’re standing in the grocery store, not knowing what to make, is really, really important.  However, what I’ve found over time is that these types of recipes, that are few in ingredients, but delicious to taste are rare.  There are a lot that have few ingredients but then end up tasting bland, or conversely look like they have a thousand things in them, plus dirty a bazillion dishes, to taste heavenly but have taken up an entire afternoon to make.

In the throws of trying to find some new inspiration, I came across Cookie and Kate, a vegetarian blog that sets out to celebrate whole foods – which I’m totally down with!  Her photography is clean and simple and the blog makes you just want to try everything and is easy to navigate.  I applaud her style.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I wanted to make something not fussy for dinner and came across her recipe for Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad. It is delicious, easy, and quick. All things I love in a recipe!

This is my version of the same salad.  My suggestion, now that I’ve tried it, is to add in triangles of baked tofu, and I used parsley instead of cilantro because I’m not a big fan of cilantro.  Easy peasy!

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

This wholesome and earthy stew was adapted from The First Mess‘ beautiful and delicious extra recipe bundle that is available when you pre-order Laura Wright’s cookbook (which is by far and away the most inspirational cookbook I’ve bought in a while). I primarily adapted this because I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house that I thought I did and so….But this is how inspired and new recipes are created.  A little bit of this and that added to the pot.  Stir it up and try it out on your guinea pigs (not that I refer to my loved ones as that usually ;-).

I haven’t come across a recipe in a long time that requires dirtying so few dishes.  It honestly was one pot, one knife, a chopping board, a measuring cup and one or two measuring spoons.  Gluten-free, nut-free, no sugar.

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried chili or red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup dried arborio rice, rinsed

1 x 15 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, which is what I used) – fire-roasted is suggested by Laura to be awesome

3 cups water

1 cup light coconut milk (or just over 1/2 a 15 oz can)

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  As the pot heats, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add to the pot the turmeric and garlic. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add the cumin and chili or red pepper flakes and stir. Let sit for 30 seconds as the spices become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water.  Raise the heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the lentils and rice do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, it is time to puree the stew.  This is optional, but pureeing at least part of the stew will lend a creaminess to it.  Ladle around half of the stew into a blender with the coconut milk and puree to desired consistency.  I like mine a bit chunkier.  Add back the pureed mixture to the pot, mix, and reheat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

See! So easy and so so delicious.  Until the next recipe….

Black Bean Fettuccine with Kale Pesto

We have reached what I like to call ‘deep winter’ when the holidays have passed and there isn’t really much to look forward to even though the snow keeps piling up and you have to get up early just to defrost your car.  I was looking back through some of my more summery recipes and came across this delicious recipe. I remember how good it was and I want to go back to that moment in the summer.  Although, this recipe is a more summery recipe, you can just grab some fresh basil from the store and make it regardless of the weather outside the window!

The pesto was adapted from the recipe from This Rawsome Vegan Life.  It is healthier than the usual ones heavy in oil and I further lightened it by substituting white beans for pine nuts.  But it still tastes just as delicious and packs the same pesto punch.

Black Bean Fettuccine with Basil and White Bean Pesto

Serves 4

Ingredients

black bean fettuccine (or other pasta of your choice)

1 pint tomatoes (heirloom would be best if you can find them)

fresh basil for serving

Kale Pesto

2 peeled and roughly chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup drained and rinsed white beans (eg. cannellini or navy)

1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup roughly chopped lucinato kale

1/4 cup fresh basil

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp light oil (olive or grapeseed)

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high until boiling.  Add the pasta and turn down heat to medium.  Cook as directions specify. Once cooked, drain and put back into the cooking pot.
  2. Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.  This may take a few minutes.  Stop and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the processor if needed to incorporate the odd bits that stray to the top of the bowl.
  3. Mix the pesto into the pasta and stir until incorporated. Serve with roughly chopped tomatoes and fresh basil.

Wholesome Spicy Lentil Soup

Here comes another great heart-warming soup from me to you.  With the help of Oh She Glows.  This recipe was adapted from the Glowing Spicy Lentil Soup recipe that I thought was originally delicious but I thought could be souped up by adding some of my favorite foods (get it?? souped up?).

I’ll keep this post simple like the soup itself.  You can make this soup on the weekend for meals throughout the week, or any time and freeze leftovers for days you don’t feel like cooking.  It is a wonderfully aromatic and creamy soup that takes only about 30 minutes to make.  I want to just keep making it back to back but think that it may be a sign of OCD 😉  Try this soup on the family and serve with toasted bread slathered in hummus or a baguette with melted cheese.  So simple and so beautiful.

lentil-soup2

 

Wholesome Spicy Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

4 oz white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 red pepper, chopped

2 white potatoes, roughly chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can coconut milk (full fat will result in a creamier soup)

3/4 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained

3 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls spinach

2 tsp lime juice

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot add in the oil and 30 seconds later add the onion.  Saute for a few minutes (around 4 min) and add the garlic, potatoes, and red pepper.  Cook another 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and cook another minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add in the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk, and veggie broth. Stir to combine.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and some ground pepper. Increase heat until the soup boils and then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for around 20 minutes uncovered, or until the lentils are cooked. Add in the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Adjust seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  5. Before serving mix in the lime juice.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simple Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Last week I had a carbohydrate craving like no other.  Bagels in the morning.  Sometimes bagels at night.  On the weekend I felt like a holiday feast and made Leftover Thanksgiving Burgers and Cornbread Stuffing, as if thanksgiving wasn’t over a month ago.  And I gave in to it all.  So what happened?  I can’t bear the site of carbs this week.  Not bread, not potatoes, and not even yams!  So I’m listening to my body and eating mostly veggies and fruits.  I’ve even leaned away from legumes which is weird because I LOVE legumes.  Anyway, after a long day of work and already having had a salad for lunch I ended up throwing together this simple and delicious spaghetti squash ‘lasagna’.  In no way shape or form does this need to be layered, you could even just convert it into a casserole. And what’s the BEST is the fact that you can adjust this in whatever way you like!  If you love peppers, saute those up and throw them in!  Lentils? No problem, boil them up and in they go.  Sub basil for parsley if that’s what you have on hand.  Use any kind of cheese you love.  Have fun with it!

plan spaghetti squash lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 medium to large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, or similar

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

5 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 14 oz tomato sauce, or pasta sauce

1 14 oz can chickpeas, strained and rinsed

2 handfuls spinach, rinsed

1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 cup grated cheese (I used daiya mozzarella)

salt and pepper

 

Directions

  1. Heat over to 350 C. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silicon mat, cut side down.  Place in heated over for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the squash.  When cooked the skin of the squash should be slightly squishy.
  2. While the squash is cooking, prep the remaining ingredients and heat a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the oil, onion, and mushrooms.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until soft. The mushrooms shouldn’t have lost all of their moisture. Add salt and pepper. Saute any other veggies that may require softening prior to baking.
  3. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape out half of the squash into a casserole or baking dish.  Add half of the tomato sauce, half of the mushroom and veggie mixture, half of the cheese, half of the spinach and half of the parsley.
  4. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients.  Top with extra cheese if you’d like or sprinkle with some breadcrumbs.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Enjoy!!

Mushroom Bok Choy Gyoza

Happy Weekend Everyone!!

I have had an entirely not productive day.  On these cold fall days I just feel like making tea, curling up on the couch and watching a movie.  Then eventually I get really hungry and have to leave the house for ingredients to make dinner.  I usually start off pretty much thinking ‘soup’ and then increasing the complexity to something that would take me all day.

I have tried gyoza before and decided I didn’t love the filling.  Today, I went with one of my favorite ingredients – mushrooms, and spiced it up with some bok choy and balsamic vinegar.  This combo has such fantastic flavours and the recipe is very simple, albeit the filling and crimping is a bit annoying.  However, put on some good tunes or a show on Netflix and spend 15-20 minutes zoned out making these bad boys.  I ate them as a meal but you can also take them as a delicious appetizer.

Mushroom Bok Choy Gyoza

Mushroom Bok Choy Gyoza

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Filling

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

3 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini)

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 heads bok choy, chopped

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 package vegan gyoza wrappers

salt and pepper, to taste

Dipping Sauce

2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

 

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan.
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute for 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add in the shallot and cook another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the bok choy and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Put the mixture in a food processor and process until small chunks remain.  Do not over process until it forms a paste!
  6. Add approximately 1 Tbsp of filling to the center of a gyoza wrapper and moisten one half of the wrapper with water.  Flip over the remaining half of the wrapper to create a moon shape with the filling inside. Crimp the edges using your fingers. (or don’t bother – it doesn’t affect the taste).
  7. Steam the gyoza for 3-5 minutes.  Having done this a few times it’s easiest to steam on a piece of parchment paper.  Once steamed place on another piece of parchment paper.
  8. Mix together the sauce ingredients.
  9. Enjoy!

Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

So fall has suddenly leaped into being and the trees are quickly dropping their leaves.  The air is brisk and change is in the air.

I’ve been away the last few weeks for work up North.  It is always great to get out of the office and experience  nature at its finest.  However, being away from home, eating differently than I’m used to (sometimes soup straight out of a can!), and working hard outside for 10 to 12 hours at a time can really zap your energy.  I ended up coming home feeling absolutely drained.  I didn’t have the energy to do anything I usually love to do.  Even cooking was a struggle.  So thank goodness after finishing this work week in the office, I have a long weekend to look forward to.  And what have I done to create some balance in my life?  I have slept like the dead.  For hours and hours.  It’s one of the crazy things about me.  I sleep more than is normal and need a lot of it to function.  I’m talking at least 9 hours a night.

What else have I done?  Forced myself in the cold mornings to make myself smoothies chalked full of healthy ingredients, like my favorite green smoothie.  I’ve started taking my multivitamin, calcium and magnesium, Vitamin D drops, maca, spirulina, ashwaganda, etc.  and I’m starting to feel more myself.  Today I sat down with some tea and a good book and just relaxed.  There is nothing better than letting your body and mind let go and have some down time.Relaxing with tea

And what better way to full myself for dinner than a delicious, filling, and heart-warming soup.

lentilvegetablesoup

Hearty Vegetable Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 large yellow onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 medium celery stalks, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1.5 teaspoons ground thyme

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed

5 cups vegetable stock

2 handfuls spinach, torn apart

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

salt and pepper for seasoning

  1. Heat oil on medium in a large pot.  Once hot, add the onions and saute around 5 minutes, until soft and partially translucent.  Add in garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
  2. Add to pot the carrots, celery, and pepper.  Saute another few minutes.
  3. Add cumin, thyme, and turmeric and mix together.
  4. Add the rinsed lentils, diced tomatoes and vegetable stock.  Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are cooked.
  5. Add spinach and white wine vinegar.
  6. Season to taste.

This recipe is incredibly easy and goes well with crackers or toasted bread and hummus.  To make even more hearty add in peeled and chopped potatoes with the other veggies.

Enjoy!!

Weekday Chickpea Coconut Curry

I went to a potluck the other week and one of my friends made this incredibly delicious chickpea curry.  Although I did look at the original recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit to better suite how I like to eat (ie. I added veggies).  I mean what’s a meal without something green in it?  This curry is an absolute winner when it comes to simplicity and speed.  15 minutes tops I would think since the majority of the time is just sauteing the onions and opening some cans.

Perpetual Flow - ingredients for chickpea coconut curry

On evenings where I’m totally strapped for time, or even just so starving I’m close to eating an entire bar of chocolate just because it’s already made, I make this curry.  My trick is to go to the store and grab the ingredients for 2 meals so that if the next time I don’t have time to cook I already (brilliantly) have everything I need.  Obviously, this recipe can be played with as much as you like.  Add whatever veggies tickle your fancy and other spices too.  You could even add ginger if you have some lying around that needs to be used or red pepper.  There are so many options!

Perpetual Flow - chickpea coconut curry

Many people love serving it on white jasmine rice, but I went with wild rice this time just to kick things up a notch.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 x 15 fl. oz can coconut milk (full or low fat, I don’t find it makes much of a difference)

2 x 15 fl. oz cans chickpeas, strained and rinsed

2 tbsp curry paste (I used red because it’s what I have in my fridge but you could also use green or yellow)

1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 or 2 medium tomatoes or a handful or two of cherry tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 or 2 handfuls of spinach, rinsed

salt and pepper, as needed

1 tbsp lime juice

fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley  (optional)

Rice (optional)

perpetualflow chickpea coconut curry

  1. In a large pan, saute the onion over medium heat until translucent (around 5 minutes).  Add in the garlic and continue sauteing until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
  2. Add the curry paste and 1/4-1/2 the can of coconut milk to the pan.  Stir the curry paste until dissolved into the coconut milk.
  3. Add in the strained chickpeas, the remaining coconut milk and the tamari. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes.
  4. Right before serving add in the tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and spinach.
  5. Garnish with herbs and a slice of lime.  Serve over rice.

And there you go.  A crazy delicious, simple, and fast recipe for any weekday night you’re in a pinch.  I usually have chickpeas soaking on the counter because I use them in so many recipes so you’re welcome to use non-canned chickpeas too if you have them available.