5.23.2017

Curried Rainbow Vegetable Skillet

I'm not a huge fan of spring.  It is generally my least favorite season, at least until it is the middle of August hits and I'm cursing summer for being too damn hot.  In the Pacific Northwest, spring is generally a four month long tease that winter is over.  For us, it has been the rainiest season ever.  Literally, it was the rainiest winter and spring on record this last year.  Welcome to earth Ben, it rains a lot here!




The one reprieve we get in the spring is that some better quality and better priced produce starts showing up in the grocery store.  At my local grocery store I found asparagus for $1.89 per pound.  Chyah!  Last night I felt like having lighter dinner with lots of veggies, so in went my asparagus along with some other bright veggies.

I always have lentils cooked and frozen in the freezer to quickly thaw and add to meals like this, but feel free to leave out this ingredient or to use another cooked bean you like.  I also have a homemade (thanks mom) potato bag that cooks my potatoes in the microwave within minutes.  The cooking time for lentils and potato are therefore not included in my estimate below.

Curried Rainbow Vegetable Skillet
Time: 10 minute prep, 15 minute saute
Servings: 2 main servings or 4 side servings

Ingredients:
    Saute:
        1/2 red onion, diced
        1 small red bell pepper, diced
        1/2 bunch asparagus, bottom edges trimmed and 1/2 " sliced on the bias
    Pre-cooked ingredients to add:
        1 medium sweet potato, cooked, peeled, and cubed
        1 cup cooked brown lentils
    Quick Curry Sauce:
        3/4 cup plant-based milk, ideally unsweetened
        1 Tbsp almond butter, any nut/seed butter could work... maybe not PB, but you do you
        1 Tbsp curry powder, I used a Caribbean Curry spice mix
        salt, to taste

Instructions:
1.)  Prep all ingredients.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat dry saute the red onion, bell pepper, and asparagus, adding only small amounts of water as needed to prevent the vegetables from burning and sticking to the pan.
2.)  In a small bowl mix together the curry sauce ingredients.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the sweet potato, lentils, and curry sauce.  Continue to cook and toss ingredients until the sauce has thickened and coated the vegetables.
3.)  Serve immediately.  I bet this would be amazing as a cold salad as well, maybe with extra sweet potato.  Bring it to a potluck.  Be the envy of your friends.


Amy's Notes:
Like I said above the recipe, I always have lentils prepped in the freezer, but if you don't and need to make this RIGHT NOW, here is a quick tutorial on how to cook lentils on the stovetop.  If you have an electric pressure cooker: 1 cup dried lentils, 2 cups water, high pressure for 6 minutes, natural pressure release, drain any excess water

  The sweet potatoes I used are the ones with a white/cream colored flesh, not orange like a yam.   I just throw mine into a potato bag and microwave it for 8 minutes.  My mom made me one for Christmas from this pattern I believe.  I know some people have a problem with microwaving their food, but in my mind, I think it is better to be able to get a cooked potato in my mouth relatively quickly than to turn to snacking on other unhealthy items (ahem... chips and crackers are my weakness).  Alternatively, you can bake ahead of time or steam your potato in a pressure cooker.

I found that this was plenty hearty enough for a main meal, but if you'd like you can double the curry sauce and serve over brown rice or your favorite whole grain.  Topping with cilantro would probably be pretty tasty too.  I just didn't have any on hand.


Health and Happiness,

Amy

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5.18.2017

5-Minute Banana Bread Oatmeal

I eat oatmeal every. single. day.  And I love it!  Oatmeal is probably my second favorite food, second only to watermelon (ooooohhhh yeeeaaahhh watermelon season is just around the corner!!!).  I first loved oatmeal when I was in high school.  My dad started eating oatmeal in the mornings to help with his blood pressure and cholesterol that was high at the time from medication he had to take for his autoimmune kidney disease (which is totally gone now thanks to a WFPB diet!).  Even in high school I had (and still have) that "I want to be like daddy" feeling.  So, I tried oatmeal with a bunch of brown sugar and loved it.  At that time it was my new favorite dessert.

When I started a Nutritarian lifestyle my junior year of college in 2011, I had oatmeal a few times a week for breakfast, but with no brown sugar this time.  I loved it cooked with bananas and plant milk the most.  Then a few years into eating this way I started to lean towards having just fruit or a smoothie for breakfast, having oatmeal less frequently.

Now, as a breastfeeding mom, oatmeal is my everyday morning companion.  Oatmeal is one of those foods that is always suggested to help mothers maintain their milk supply.  Here is a nice article about that.  I'm happy that my daily oatmeal is now not only good for me, but good for Ben too.  Since I have oatmeal most every morning, I've slowly perfected several recipes that I love.  #1 on that list is Banana Bread Oatmeal.  This is the ultimate bowl of cozy yum yum!

Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 servings

Ingredients:
    Oatmeal:
        1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
        3/4 to 1 cup boiling water (I use water heated in my teapot)
        1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)
    Banana bread goo:
        1 small-medium banana
        1/2 cup plant-based milk
        1/2 tsp vanilla extract
        1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg)
        2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Instructions:
1.)  In a smaller bowl mix together the rolled oats and ground flaxseeds.  Pour 3/4-1 cup boiling water over evenly and allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
2.)  In a medium-sized bowl mash the banana with a fork until creamy but with some chunks.  Add in the plant-based milk, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and walnuts, stirring thoroughly.
3.)  Place banana mixture in the microwave for 1 minute on high.
4.)  Take the steeping oatmeal and scoop onto the heated banana mixture.  Serve immediately.

Amy's Notes:
If you prefer your oatmeal less chewy, cook it on the stovetop before combining it with the banana mixture.  I find my this way of cooking it is easier (because I'm already heating water for tea in the morning) and produces a chewy texture that I prefer oatmeal to be.  Adjust it to your tastes though.  :)


Health and Happiness,

Amy

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