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kitchen catch up

I seriously can’t believe how backed up I’ve gotten on posting recipes, it’s really been driving me crazy. So today I’m playing catch up, which means you get six recipes in one post. I mean, what kind of food blogger am I? I wish I had some good reason for blog neglect… traveling? sick dog? busy schedule? Hmm, all possible causes in fact… maybe just laziness? I really hate to think that… Nah, I’m going to blame it on my other love, running. Actually, I’m happy to report that within the past few weeks, I’ve completed a marathon and two half marathons. There, that sounds better. Not only has all the training, planning, preparing, and 4:30am long runs been time consuming, it’s been all consuming. I’ve had to focus a lot of energy, but race season has come to an end, and I’m definitely ready to relax a little. (And stay posted for race reports).

While I may not have been sharing recipes, I have been eating, like a lot. I’ve been making very basic, quick meals full of healthy carbs, fats, and plant-based proteins. I’ve felt strong and energized for activity, experienced quick muscle recovery after workouts, and remained completely injury free despite logging hundreds and hundreds of miles in running this year. All of which I whole-heartedly believe are strongly linked to eating a plant-based, mostly whole foods diet. So, let’s get to it…

#1: roasted red pepper crusted tofu

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package extra firm organic tofu, drained and moisture pressed out
  • roasted red pepper dressing (I used Annie’s Naturals – so, so good)
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • organic green leaf lettuce, chopped
  • any and every raw vegetable you desire! I used green onion, mushroom, bell pepper, avocado… and pickles ;)… I like so many veggie toppings you can barely see any lettuce, obviously.

Steps:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. slice tofu in 1″ cubes, in batches coat tofu in dressing, then roll cubes around in nutritional yeast to coat
  3. spread evenly on baking sheet and bake tofu for 20-25 minutes or until browned, flip about half way through
  4. chop salad ingredients and add tofu when done!

 

#2: quinoa veggie super bowl

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch organic kale, removed from stem, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos all-purpose seasoning
  • pineapple salsa

Steps

  1. heat olive oil in non stick skillet over medium heat
  2. add mushroom, onion and kale, let cook about 5 minutes
  3. add garlic and remaining vegetables, season with Bragg’s, cook another 5-7 minutes
  4. remove from heat, stir in quinoa, top with salsa and enjoy

 

#3: spicy curry butternut hummus sandwich with pan-seared tofu

This sandwich was inspired by the most amazing hummus I’ve ever had, made by an independent local vegan family – owner’s of Rabbit Food and featured weekly at the Athens, GA Farmer’s Market

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 package extra firm tofu, drained and moisture pressed out, sliced into 2 large rectangles
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • your favorite bread and sandwich toppings. I went with steamed kale, sautéed zucchini, orange tomatoes, sliced red bell pepper
  • spicy curry butternut hummus

Steps

  1. heat oil over medium high heat, add tofu and let cook on each side about 5-7 minutes, try not to disturb tofu so it browns well
  2. I won’t insult your intelligence… just assemble your sandwich 😉

 

#4: creamy avocado angel hair with sun-dried tomato, kale, mushroom and brussels sprouts

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Ingredients

  • angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 10- 12 brussels sprouts, chop off ends and slice in half
  • 2 Tb balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tb olive oil

Sauce: adapted from this recipe on my favorite vegan food blog

  • 1 large avocado (halved and pitted)
  • juice from 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup Veganaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps

  1. cook desired amount of pasta and drain
  2. sauté onion, mushroom, sundried tomato and garlic about 5-7 minutes, then add kale and stir
  3. sauté brussels sprouts in separate skillet with 2 Tb balsamic vinegar, cook until sprouts are slightly browned, about 15 minutes
  4. meanwhile add all avocado sauce ingredients to high powered blender and blend on high until well combined
  5. stir sauce into mushroom, kale sauté, add to pasta and top with brussels sprouts

 

#5: roasted baby butternut squash

This is great for a quick healthy snack! I picked these up at the farmer’s market and just sliced them in half, scooped out the seeds, drizzled on olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I never knew squash could be finger food… but it shall be from now on. 😉

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#6: crispy quinoa spinach cakes

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tb flour (I used gluten-free, worked great)
  • 2 Tb almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out, pat dry
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomato
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped

Steps

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. mix together in large bowl: egg, flour, almond butter, white wine vinegar
  3. add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well into flour mixture
  4. scoop out desired amount for patties and pat into shape, place on to baking sheet, makes about 8 patties
  5. Cook for 15 minutes. Flip over, then cook another 10 minutes.

 

I recommend making extra quinoa, adding a couple Tb of olive oil, white wine vinegar and a little salt… this goes great with the leftover quinoa cakes!

 


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Pandora’s Box of Rocks quinoa

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Pandora’s Box of Rocks… how’s that for the name of a trail race? The “rocks” part is no joke. I became well acquainted with many last weekend during my first trail half marathon through the rugged Texas hill country. It was awesome. I much preferred it to road racing. The challenging, constantly changing terrain, the gorgeous views, wildflowers, wildlife (ok all I saw were some cows)… it was a combination of my two loves: nature and running. Not to mention, you’re expected to run at a slower pace due to steep climbs up rock faces and descents down jagged paths, hurdling over fallen trees, and refueling at the buffet-style aid station food spreads. It’s just a different type of challenge than the intense PR-driven, Garmin-scrutinizing, pee on yourself rather than stop for the sake of time races. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do those (I haven’t peed on myself… yet), but it was a perfect change of pace, literally. The ultimate goal of a trail race is just to finish.

I went with some fellow running club mates from Austin’s very own Al’s Ship of Fools. Al has run well over 100 marathons, with no intention of slowing down. He and his lovely wife compete somewhere in a marathon every month. My first week in Austin, I Google-searched local running groups, went out for a practice, and fell in love with this welcoming group representing all skill levels. That was two years ago and I’ve been doing track workouts, hill repeats, and long runs ever since. There is a subset of trail runners in the group, the off-roaders as I like to call them, and I decided to see if I could hang.

The weekend involved camping, swimming, and a cast-iron skillet berry cobbler, in addition to an incredibly scenic trail run. There was a great sense of community among the runners after spending long hours on the trail and then drinking beer by a campfire. My contribution was quinoa salad, which turned out to be a hit. Quinoa packs a punch of nutrient dense protein, complex carbs and fiber. I made a batch the night before which kept pretty well. It wasn’t quite as popular as the cobbler, but there wasn’t much left over either.

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Ingredients:

makes 8 to 12 servings – may be cut in half

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups red, seedless grapes, quartered
  • 1 cup sliced raw almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

1. Bring water to boil, stir in quinoa and pinch of salt, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until most liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Uncover and set aside. **note: quinoa has a translucent outer ring when done.

2. In large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in oil.

3. Add quinoa and toss to combine.

4. Mix in grapes, almonds, and kale, toss again.

5. Serve at room temp or chilled.

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homestyle quinoa veggie burgers

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I’m not gonna lie, if there’s one thing I miss since going meat-free, it’s a juicy burger. Especially whenever I encounter the unmistakable, enticingly savory aroma of a good cookout. Thankfully, I’m quickly snapped back into reality by the sobering thought of greasy, saturated fat congealing in my arteries, and the heavy, lethargic feeling that accompanies forcing my body to absorb ground up corn-fed cow flesh. Still hungry?

Well, here is a wonderfully satisfying alternative, complete with a delicious full flavor and slam packed with nutrients. I never imagined that the comfort of a hearty burger could come with so much clean-feeling goodness. I also never thought such an interesting combination of plant based ingredients could blend and bake into such pure burger bliss… so let’s get to it.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (or your favorite vegan egg substitute)
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free baking powder- worked great)
  • 2 Tbs. almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup grated sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and dried
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

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Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, coat baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Combine egg, flour, almond butter, and white wine vinegar in bowl.

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2. Stir in all remaining ingredients and mash mixture together until able to hold shape. Scoop out desired amount and pat into cakes with wet hands. (I used 1/4 cup patties which made 8 burgers).

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3. Bake on sheet for 15 minutes. Turn patties once, then bake another 10 minutes, or until browned.

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Enjoy these on a toasted bun with your favorite burger fixins, a pita pocket with hummus, or like I did, straight out of the oven…

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… and just like that, my lingering attachment to the burger fantasy has been cured forever, and replaced with something… well, amazeballs.