Thursday, February 9, 2012


Ok so, this is the best guacamole recipe I've come by yet. I think the keys are the grilled lime and the roasted Fresno peppers. Grilling the lime really mellows it out and gives a richness to it, and the roasted peppers add the perfect kick.

4 - 5 medium avocados
1/3c diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 - 3 Fresno peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and minced
1/4 sweet or red onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4t cumin
1/4t chili powder
1/2 lime, pan grilled and juiced
fresh lemon juice, to taste
handful cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper

Combine everything but avocados - set aside to let flavors blend. Mash avocados, leaving plenty of chunks. Fold in the rest of the ingredients, and adjust seasoning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day Eleven - Pomegranate FTW!

I just stuffed myself silly on a seriously yummy dish I threw together this evening! I based the idea loosely off the Bulgar Salad recipe from the WF website. I had sort-of similar ingredients, and the end result was AWESOME!!

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Toasted Pecans


1c quinoa
2c veggie stock
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
1/3c pomegranate seeds
1/3c toasted pecans, roughly chopped
a few handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
Bragg's liquid aminos
garlic powder, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper


- Preheat oven 375 - toss pecans with a dash of Bragg's, and toast in oven for about 10 minutes. Give them a quick rough chop when cooled.
- Bring stock to boil - add Bragg's (to taste), garlic powder and quinoa, and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
- In a separate pan, steam-saute leek with a dash of veggie stock for a minute or two, then add spinach, a dash of Bragg's, and another dash of stock. Cook down for about a minute, or until spinach is barely wilted.
- When quinoa and the spinach and leek mixture are somewhat cooled, toss everything together (pomegranate seeds and pecans too) in a bowl with a few twists of fresh cracked black pepper.

As always, the measurements are an estimation (except for the stock and quinoa), since I'm terrible about measuring things!!!

Day Ten

I have a couple different experiments to share, both of them using different soy products. The first one was stir-fry with tempeh, and tonight we had tofu noodle soup.

For the stir-fry, I marinated the tempeh in some orange juice and liquid aminos diluted with a little water, and a bit of dried ground ginger, garlic powder and cayenne.

It made it pretty flavorful, but next time, I think I won't dilute the marinade with any water. This was the first time we've cooked with tempeh - I rather liked the texture and flavor, but Benna wasn't overly enthusiastic about it. As he put it, he would be perfectly happy with double the mushrooms and no tempeh! Overall, I thought it turned out pretty well, but will try some different tweaks next time.

For the tofu noodle soup, I used half an onion, three carrots and three stalks of celery, all medium dice - cooked those down a little bit with a dash of veggie stock and added some fresh garlic, dried oregano, thyme, parsley and sage. Then I simmered the veggies and herbs with four cups of homemade veggie stock for about ten minutes, added maybe 1/2 - 3/4 cups whole wheat fusili pasta and half a package of diced firm tofu. Simmered for an extra 12 - 15 minutes, added a bit more water when the noodles plumped up, and seasoned with Bragg's and fresh cracked black pepper.

It was pretty tasty, and I certainly scarfed my portion, but it was still lacking that richness that homemade chicken stock gives this kind of soup. Obviously, you're not gonna get that with veggie stock - especially the oil-free variety - but I haven't given up hope! Next time, I think I'll add a bay leaf during the last 15 minutes or so, and maybe some fresh chopped parsley at the end. If I can find the secret that gives it that little extra zing, this could easily be a mainstay cold-weather recipe.

Last, and far from least, is my FAVORITE treat right now - roasted Brussels sprouts!!! I was craving naughty treats last night (some lovely, greasy potato chips, to be exact), so instead I popped some halved sprouts in the oven, tossed with just a teeny bit of EVOO, a few dashes of Bragg's and black pepper.

Cooked at 375 for about 15 minutes (don't forget to stir them around a bit at least once while they're cooking), they make for a toasty, nutty, crunchy/creamy snack that totally kills nasty cravings, at least for me!

So far, the down side of this diet change is that I'm ALWAYS hungry - at least so far - and there's no easy ready-made snacks to reach for, unless I make sure to make some ahead of time. The up side is, I feel pretty darn fantastic. I have no problems with energy levels anymore, and my stomach hasn't behaved this well in years!! I used to have near-debilitating acid reflux, and that problem is all but gone - without any prescription drugs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Nine

Ok soooo...finding the time to keep a blog is HARD! Anyways, we've had some very successful experiments the last few days, and I thought it was time to share.

First off, I did try the marinated veggies with Bragg's and honey instead of salt and sugar - oh MY was it good! Soooooo much better than the other version. We also used a mix of red and white wine vinegar. No oil needed, there was plenty of flavor from the liquid aminos and dried herbs that I used. I would recommend oregano, thyme and parsley - it made for a delicious earthy blend. The best mix of veggies I've found so far is cauliflower, carrots (that have been blanched for a couple minutes), red bell pepper, cucumber and sweet onion.

We also tried a couple new products, and immediately fell in love! We wanted to make some stir-fry, and decided to use a meat substitute called soy curls.

The prep for these little guys is super easy - soak for about ten minutes (we used water with a bit of Bragg's), drain, and toss in the pan! The other new thing we tried were some buckwheat soba noodles. Yes, they were totally scrumptious.

For the rest of the stir-fry, we used a truckload of awesome veggies...

...and a homemade sauce that really made the dish. For the sauce, use one cup of veggie broth (cold to start with), a couple teaspoons of Bragg's, about a tablespoon of arrowroot, and garlic powder, dried ground ginger and cayenne to taste. Use a whisk to give it a good stir and get all the lumps out of the arrowroot, then simmer it down in a little pot for a few minutes until it thickens.

The method for stir-frying without oil is a little different, but not at all difficult, and the results are just as good. I always start out with the onions (and a HOT pan!!), since they have a lot of natural moisture and enough sugars to get some nice caramelization. After you get a bit of color on the onions, deglaze with a dab of veggie stock, and keep adding the veggies in fairly rapid succession, followed by a dab of stock each time - not too much, you don't want it soupy!

Add the soy curls, if you're using them, right around the time you add the mushrooms and peppers. Also for the carrots, I definitely recommend blanching them ahead of time, otherwise they'll be pretty darn crunchy. Once all the goodies are in the pan, add that tasty sauce you made earlier (save a little to toss with the noodles!), a bit of sweet chili sauce, then mix in the green onions and cilantro. If you put the delicate greens in too soon, they'll get mushy and lose that fresh flavor!

Anyways, here's the finished product - it was seriously some of the best stir-fry we've ever had, and the soy curls are the best meat substitute we've tried yet.

Then last night, we decided to make a couple different kinds of hummus (we're on a total chickpea kick at the moment).

First, we did a Mexican-style version with no tahini, lime juice (plenty of it!), cumin, cayenne, garlic and cilantro...seasoned with Bragg's of course. The next version was a little more traditional, with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, kalamata olives, black pepper and cilantro. We would have used fresh basil for that last one, but our basil plant that we brought in for the winter pooped out on us.

Both versions are super yummy, and excellent for sammie spreads or veggie dipping. Another new thing I tried was a black radish - sliced and dipped in the lime-cilantro hummus, it was peppery and awesome!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day Two, that was one of the tastiest dinners I've had in a LONG time! But before I go into that, I'd like to make note of the breakfast and lunch we had today.

Our brekkie consisted of Rip's Big Bowl - a crazy awesome explosion of everything you could ever want in your cereal bowl! Raisins, oats, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, flax seed, shredded wheat, walnuts and B vitamins. Top that with half a banana, and nom down! We also discovered that grapefruit drizzled with a little maple syrup is pretty kickass as well.

For lunch we had a delicious smoothie made with bananas, mango, blueberries, strawberries, soy milk, and chia seeds. I have to say a few things about chia seeds, because I think they're just so darn amazing. They have 100% more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon, six times more calcium than milk, double the anti-oxidants found in blueberries, six times more iron than spinach, and 64% more potassium than a banana. Crazy, right? The only thing about these little guys is the texture can be a little funky if you're not expecting it. Think of a tomato seed with it's goopy little protective coating - having it in a drink is a little like liquid tapioca. If you're going to use chia seeds in your cooking, remember to soak them in water for a while first, otherwise they'll get all clumpy and sad. One tablespoon to about a cup of water will do it!

Ok, and now for our totally stellar dinner! I got the recipe from the Whole Foods website in the vegan section - Spiced Garbanzos and Greens!

I did a few things different, since I very rarely like to follow any recipe to the letter. Sauteed the onions first without liquid, deglazed with white wine, then added the veg broth, red chard and a dash of orange juice. Let that cook down for a bit, added some diced yellow pepper and the chickpeas (which I cooked from scratch instead of using canned - very easy, and worth the time). Used less garam masala than the recipe called for, ground ginger instead of fresh, chopped fresh romas instead of canned tomatoes and no jalapeno. And, of course, I added a dash or two of Bragg's and some fresh cracked black pepper for seasoning. We had some garbanzos left over, so Benna decided to make some hummus to dip our pita bread in. Ahhh I love cooking. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day One

Today was the first day of our dietary experiment - Benna is going completely vegan, and I'm technically going vegetarian, since I'm still eating tasty eggs from our beautiful ladies. Not only is B going vegan, but he's giving the Engine 2 diet a go - no added oils or salt. Tough on me, I'm a salt FIEND! However, E2 still allows the use of Bragg's liquid aminos, so it's not a complete shock to my system.

This morning's breakfast was a delicious plate of sauteed red chard and onions - we countered the chard's bitterness with a dash of orange juice, and added a little bit of homemade veggie stock and Bragg's for some flavor. Benna topped his veggies with some tofu cooked in the leftover juices from the veggies, and I had a nice fresh poached egg. SO GOOD!

For snacks during the day, we had raisins and unsalted nuts (I was actually surprised how much better you can taste the actual nut without added salt), and a new snack I'm pretty happy with - homemade marinated veggies. Good replacement for chips and whatnot; super flavorful, tangy, and spicy.

For these crunchy little treats, I marinated a mix of cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers in white wine vinegar, sugar, a dash of salt (salt because I made them pre-E2 diet!), dried herbs and red pepper. Next time, I'll be using honey instead of sugar, and Bragg's instead of salt. Really nice to have a big bag of these sitting in the fridge ready to snack on.

For lunch/dinner, we had veggie and brown rice burritos with a really excellent avocado spread we got the idea for in the E2 book. We sauteed the veggies without oil, which works much better than I thought it would. I deglazed the pan with a little white wine, added the spices (garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and black pepper), added some veggie stock and a dash of Bragg's and cooked it down until it had a nice sauce going on.

Now, the avocado spread is super tasty, and worth posting the ingredients. It's excellent for veggie wraps and sammies, or for dipping veggies in - which we totally pigged out on last night!

1/4 package tofu
1 avocado
1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
1 roma tomato, diced
handful of cilantro, rough chop
dash of Bragg's
dash of hot sauce or cayenne, to taste

Whirl everything together in a food processor, and you have a creamy, tangy delight!