Bean, Tomato, and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

That moment when you google a recipe idea you threw together and find… nothing. I’m going to bask in the glow of this creation and avoid searching too hard (because really, nothing infinitesimally little  is truly original)

The idea for this recipe came to me when I opened my Dominion Harvest box last Tuesday.

Dominion Harvest Delivery

Staring back at me was a bag of Arugula. I decided nearly immediately that I wanted to do something with it other than throw it into a salad. That just seemed too… square.

So sometime between last Wednesday and today, it popped into my head: ARUGULA PESTO.

Arugula Pesto

And the rest is history.

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(Well, actually, the rest involved coming up with what I wanted to put the pesto on and then settling on wanting to put the pesto in because every dinner I make is either a stew or a semi-stew-salad-casserole-conglomerate these days)
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Well that was a long and unnecessary aside.

So here it is. Recipe of the (Tues)day.

Bean, Tomato, and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

Bean Tomato Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

serves 4-6 

For the Stew

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– White Wine
– 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 onion, chopped
– 3 small zucchinis, chopped
– 1 bell pepper, diced
– salt & pepper
– 1 cup lentils
– 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
– 2 cups cooked pinto beans (a can is fine, another bean is also fine)
– 1 cup water
– 1 bay leaf

1. Heat a bit of olive oil and a couple splashes of wine over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the vegetables, salt, and pepper and cook until just softened, stirring often.

2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, beans, water, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto using directions below.

4. After the stew is done cooking, add the pesto and stir well to combine. Let cook for another minute to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!

For the Pesto

– big bunch of arugula (I used about 4 cups)
– 1 large clove garlic
– 1/4 cup nuts (I used a combination of walnuts and cashews)
– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
– Juice of 1/2 large lemon (or whole small)
– Extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine arugula, garlic, nuts, and cheese in your food processor. Process until well-chopped. (I had to add the arugula in batches to fit it all)

2. Add the lemon juice and a nice pour of olive oil. Process again until well-blended.

Bean Tomato and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

Are you ready for my close up?

How about some mood lighting?

How about some mood lighting?

OK, not to toot my own horn (but toot toot) this was delicious. (If not-so-delicious-looking)

What was the best not-so-delicious-looking thing you’ve made?

Any other arugula ideas?

 

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes + spiced watermelon

I’m currently writing my first ever iPhone post because clearly I cannot move the 2 feet to fetch my laptop and sending iPhone pictures to my computer is just too much for me to bear.

Today I will bring you one of my stand-by recipes adapted from here: Unsloppy Joes

I started out making the recipe as described- to go between buns or bread in sandwich form. That’s a delicious way if eating it, but I later discovered that an especially delicious mode of consumption is .:drumroll:. as a stuffing. In/on a sweet potato. (Never would have guessed that from the title, right?) So here we go, without further adieu I bring you…

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili-stuffing

I really enjoy this chili mix. It has a strong flavor that’s perfect for a sandwich or for topping sweet potatoes. The vinegar gives it a good kick.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato clearly unpictured, but I assure you it was tasted and delicious.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I ate this alongside my typical vegetable mix:

Carrots and Snap Peas

Plus a summer favorite that’s come back into the mix:

Yesterday, I was in the mood for something different, so I sprinkled some Jerk Seasoning on top:

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Must say, it was quite delicious.

OK: Confession time, I started this post on my phone but switched to the computer for all the editing, recipe posting, font stuff. Maybe one day I will get out a post that doesn’t need much editing to take full advantage of my mobile app.

Exercise Quickie:

Today I did Strong Lifts B workout.

Squats: 110lb 5×5 (poor form on 2 of the reps, so I’m retrying it Friday),

DB Overhead Press: 25 lb DBs 3×4/5/4

Deadlift: 130 1×5

Where to begin.

It’s hard to say. I’ve obviously gotten so out of the habit of writing on this thing. And now I’m just trying to figure out where to pick back up. I feel highly motivated to talk about how the past year has been eye-opening and older-feeling and how I’m loving it but I pretty much did that here already. At this moment as I sit at my kitchen tablette with a first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce on the stove, I have nothing to complain about. Nothing bogging me down. I am content in this moment. It feels awesome, what can I say?

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So I guess I’ll talk about all the things that have been going on in my kitchen lately.

(And thankfully no fruit flies were involved)

1. Homemade Nut Butters

(and other food processor awesomeness)
Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Almond butteroundandround

Almond butteroundandround

The finished goods

The finished goods

Asian Ginger Dressing

Asian Ginger Dressing

2. Raw & Roasted Salads

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

This has been my lunch for weeks now. It’s the perfect transition of lunch-salad into colder weather. Simply roast a large baking sheet worth of vegetables with desired flavoring

Favorites: coconut butter + curry powder, olive oil + chili powder&cumin, olive oil + zatar, coconut oil + cajun seasoning

Then combine a bunch of raw vegetables with a separate dressing

Favorites: lemon juice + olive oil + apple cider vinegar + dijon mustard (add additional seasoning to complement roasted flavorings)

Protein can be tofu roasted with the vegetables or beans/lentils added with the raw veggies.

3. Homemade No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce

Before

Before

After

After

(As I finished the post, I finished the sauce. And let me tell you, it’s delicious. –> Recipe to follow)

Alright, I think I’ve covered it.

Who más

Howmis?

Humm is

Him us

Hummus.

Seriously, who doesn’t love hummus?

I grew up eating homemade hummus, and I must say that it has spoiled me into viewing a lot of store-bought hummus with a fair helping of disdain.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some brands (one-that-I’ve-tried) that taste like homemade (Trader Joe’s for the win), but seriously

this just doesn’t taste real to me {Probably because of the ingredient list: Cooked Chickpeas [Chickpeas (Garbanzos), Water], Tahini (Ground Sesame), Soybean And/Or Canola Oil, Garlic, Salt, Citric Acid, Seasoning And Spices, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate Added To Maintain Freshness.}

In my holier-than-thou humble opinion, hummus deserves to be made with extra virgin olive oil and without preservatives. And it’s so easy to make (and cheaper– just think of the cost comparison) that there’s no reason not to!

So without further adieu, I give you hummus. (With the extra-special-secret ingredient my Syrian Uncle told me about)

Hummus

Ingredients
– cooked (or canned) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 2 cups worth)
– tahini (sesame paste) (about 1-2tbsp)
– extra virgin olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp)
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
– a couple splashes of white vinegar (<–secret ingredient)
– a couple grinds of sea salt
– a few good shakes of cumin
– a few good shakes of paprika
– water

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender (but seriously, it’s easier in your food processor unless you have a super-high-powered-expensive-blender) except the water. Process until it’s as smooth as it can get.

2. Add water (reserved water from your chickpeas would be really great) gradually until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

3. Get in your belly!

I’m telling you, the vinegar kicks this baby up a notch! Also- feel free to experiment and add spices/other foods (olives, pine nuts, etc) to make it your own.

What’s one homemade item that you can’t stand to buy from a store?

Have you ever made hummus?

Sprouts!

So lately I’ve been in the mood to do some experimenting in the kitchen.

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I’ve always known and loved alfalfa sprouts, but I’d say that sprouting fully came on my radar when I first laid eyes on this bread:

ImageIntrigued by the packaging which informed me that sprouting allows for the creation of bread without flour and that sprouted grains are more nutritious than their un-sprouted counterparts. Well, I started buying this bread from time to time (because I like it) and didn’t really think of sprouting as something I could do myself. That is, until my friend decided to go raw-vegan a while back. She purchased sprouting trays and sprouted her own legumes. Naturally, I was intrigued and the idea sort of hung out in my head for a while.

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(Me & Idea hanging out)

Until finally, I thought: “Hey, why don’t I try sprouting legumes?”

And that’s what I did.

At the advice of The Sprout People, I elected to buy the EasySprout:

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($11.53 on Amazon)

Then, I got down to business and learned that sprouting is pretty much the easiest thing ever.

Step 1:

Soak your legumes/seeds in lots of water overnight or 8-12 hours.

Step 2:

Drain your legumes/seeds by taking the insert out of the outer cup and pouring out the water from the outer cup. Shake some to ensure that all of the water is drained out.

 

Step 3:

Rinse every 8-12 hours for 2-5 days. You will start to see the legume/seed sprout

See those babies grow!

The Sprout People recommend tasting the legume/seed after each rinse to ensure that you “harest” them at the best time. I gave the garbanzo beans one or two more rinses after the above picture.

Step 4:

Serve ’em up (or refrigerate them, or freeze them… depending on the sprout)

Salad of parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, and sprouted garbanzo beans with a homemade balsamic-lemon-garlic dressing

I’ve also made sprouted lentils lately:

They also met their end in a salad roughly based on this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/indian-sprouted-lentil-salad-131211

The Verdict:

I enjoy the sprouted legumes. They offer a crisper taste to the salad. I will definitely add them into the rotation and am eager to move on to grains and seeds. That being said, I love their cooked counterparts  whole lot and will still be eating them as well.

Have you ever sprouted anything? 

What do you think of sprouts?

Have you done some experimenting lately?

Lentil Vegetable Salad with Broccoli “Green Goddess” Dressing

Like I said in my previous post, I’ve been making a lot of salads lately.

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What I may not have mentioned was that I got a food processor, which makes the salad possibilities even greater!

This week I was inspired by the Broccoli “Green Goddess” Dressing I found in this book:

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I tweaked the recipe a little but adding jalapeño for extra kick and subbing fresh garlic for powdered. The outcome was awesomely delicious. 🙂

Lentil Vegetable Salad with Broccoli “Green Goddess” Dressing

Ingredients:

Salad

1 cup lentils (I used 1/2 yellow 1/2 green)
parsley (2 bunches), chopped
green onions (1 bunch), thinly sliced
yellow bell pepper (1), chopped
shallot (1), finely diced
red cabbage (~1/3 large cabbage), thinly sliced
cauliflower (1/2 head), chopped

Dressing

1 stalk broccoli, steamed
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeño, chopped
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt, pepper, onion powder

Directions:

1. Rinse lentils and place in a medium sauce pan. Add enough water to cover them by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and allow to cool.

2. Combine parsley through cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine.

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3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process/blend until well-mixed.

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4. Add lentils do the vegetables and toss well to combine. Add the dressing and mix well.

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And voila! A delicious, healthy salad for lunches (or dinners) this week. Of course I had to make my roasted cauliflower, red cabbage, and purple potatoes (made with coconut oil, madras curry powder, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper) to go along with it.

What are you eating for lunch this week?

Have any yummy salad dressing ideas to share? 

Merry Hanukkus

Hey all,
I’m writing you from my couch where I’ve been sitting, relaxing, for most of the morning. My Christmas started out on a good note:
– wake up without alarm clock
– yoga practice (dvd)
– steel cut oats with milk, pumpkin, pomegranate, flaxseed meal, and almond butter (so. good.)
– backed-up-email-reading

The rest of my day looks like this:
– debate doing this workout in preparation for the day’s feasts
– traditional feast with extended family and friends
– white elephant gift exchange (so fun)
– taco feast with the boyfriend’s immediate family

This past week I’ve been baking a bit for my friends’ holiday presents, which means a lot of dough-eating/”broken”-cookie-eating:

Notice the greasy stain where my "tester" cookie once rested

Oh darn, it broke apart. Might as well store it in my belly 🙂

I bake cookies for my friends pretty much every Christmas. This year’s assortment looked like this:

Christmas Present Cookies

To the left we have Orange Spice Molasses Cookies :

Orange Spice Molasses Cookies

Wonderfully spicy and delicious. I think I’ve probably made a better molasses cookie in my day, but this recipe still is pretty darn delicious.

To the right (and pictured above) we have Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are. so. good. This is the type of cookie that milk was made for. So rich and delicious. I doubled the recipe, added vanilla, and replaced the 2 cups white sugar with 1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, and 1/2 cup stevia for baking.

On top you’ll find Coconut Date Cookies:

Coconut Date Cookies

I made these exactly as called for in the recipe except I doubled everything in the recipe except the sugar. These were simply fantastic. Another one of those “broken”-cookie-eating-cookies.

I was very pleased with how the cookies turned out. As you can see above, I gifted them to my friends in glass jars that they can reuse for future cookies or any decorative storage of their choosing.

As a side note: anyone else notice that their craving for sweets increasing in this holiday season? 

Did you fit in some exercise on Christmas?