Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bean Free Turkey Chili

Sometimes I grow weary of the magical fruit when eating vegetarian a lot. When I make my turkey chili, there's a chance I'll go bean-free. This method is also good if you're trying to limit your carb intake -- although beans are good carbs! Don't forget them forever, they are high in protein, full of fiber and a complex carb that takes longer to digest, so it keeps you fuller for longer.  Here it is, my turkey chili, or chili con cranky depending on the day:

Bean Free Turkey Chili


1 lb ground turkey (or beef, but turkey is leaner)
1 small onion chopped
1 can of mushrooms chopped or a cup of fresh chopped
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with peppers (or just tomatoes)
1 can of diced jalapenos
2-3 small peppers of your choosing. I opted for the combo of green bell and mild chilis
1 can of tomato paste (6oz)
1 clove of garlic
1 tbs of olive oil
Hot sauce to your taste
Red chili flakes to taste
1 tbs of chili pepper
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of oregano
1 tbs of garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste

The How-To

1. Saute the ground turkey in olive oil and red pepper flakes for a bit. Add a bit of salt and pepper.
2. I like to saute the onions, peppers, and mushrooms together until the onions are translucent. Toss them in with the turkey when done.
3. Add the garlic, saute for about 2-3 minutes.
4. Empty the tomatoes, peppers, and paste into the mix. Stir well.
5. Add your spices, and let simmer for about half on hour on low to medium heat. I usually play with the spice levels, add more hot sauce etc... You can also add the tomato paste one tbs at a time, if you think it may be too sweet to your preference. Find the right balance of salty, sweet and spicy and voila! Comfort in a bowl.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vegan Kale and Chickpea Salad

I'm  neither vegetarian nor vegan, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying my veggies. When I feel like I've gone a bit overboard on the wine drinking or diet, I like to clean things up with this salad. It's made from fresh, cleansing ingredients, has tons of vitamins and tastes amazing too. This is great for a packed lunch, keeps well in the fridge for a day or so and well, folks seem to have a love affair with kale these days, don't they?

Kale and Chickpea Salad


1 large bunch of kale, stems and ribs removed, cut into tiny strips or chiffonade
1/2 cup of canned chickpeas, rinsed
1 roasted red pepper, diced
5 cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/4 cup of diced red onion
a handful of shredded carrots (I like to keep a bag of pre-shredded carrots around to throw in random meals)
1-2 tbs of sunflower seeds or pine nuts

For the dressing:

1 tbs of good olive oil
1 tbs of apple cider vinegar
1 tbs of a good mustard (i used a spicy garlic but you can just use dijon)
1 tbs of honey or agave nectar
1 clove of garlic crushed
dash of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
chopped green onion (optional)

The How-To:

Rinse and spin dry the kale. Massage the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes. Don't look at me like I'm crazy. This is key! Instead of cooking my kale or having raw, uber hard strips to chomp on, I massage it. It reduces the volume a bit and makes the leaves much easier to chew and digest because it's softer. Throw it in a bowl along with other veggies.

In a small bowl, whisk together (or shake up in a small jar) the dressing ingredients. Throw in with the veggies and kale, toss to combine and serve. It was even good the next day -- I go fairly light on the dressing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

Sometimes, I'm just in a soup mood. I think a savory, creamy soup is a great, filling way to stay within a healthy diet--if made properly. The addition of mushrooms to this soup adds B vitamins and a few grams of protein. Did you know mushrooms are also the only non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D? Sneaky taters also thicken the pot without adding a ton of carbs!

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup


2 pounds of asparagus (chopped, use the tips and half the stalks)
1 large yellow onion sliced
1 container of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large russet potato chopped
2 garlic gloves chopped
2 tbs of Earth Balance butter
2-3 cups of vegetarian stock (depending on how thick you like it)
salt/pepper to taste
splash of sherry

The How To:

In a large pan, saute the mushrooms with a tablespoon of butter, some salt & pepper. When they are browned, splash a bit of sherry in the pan, stir until it evaporates. Let the mushrooms cool, set aside until you're ready to incorporate them into the soup.

In a large pot, saute the onions in butter til translucent. Add the chopped asparagus, potato and garlic. Stir until everything mingles nicely. Add a bit of salt and pepper but not too much if your stock is salted.

Add the stock, bring to boil, then lower heat to a simmer with the lid on. It should take about 20-30 minutes for everything to soften and cook through. Add in half the mushrooms and their liquid and use a hand blender to blend the soup smooth. You can add the remaining mushrooms for texture, or just dump them all in before you blend. (You can also leave them out altogether if the fungus scares you.)

Pour into a bowl (serves about 4) and garnish however you please. Super easy and dairy free since the potato acts a nice thickener and the Earth Balance is vegan.
Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lucky Lentil Salad

A while back in Hayes Valley, I had a really good chilled lentil salad. I wanted to recreate it since it's something chock full of protein and nutrients and quite filling after a work out. I've been known to just shove spoonfuls of peanut butter into my mouth after a run I'm so ladylike. I figured this would be  step up.

This one I made was cold and keeps in the fridge for a few days - which was great to snack on.  I made a big batch and cooked the quinoa and lentils together in a rice cooker, but you can cook each separately in a pot if you wish. It's real easy to put together, good for any veggie lover (or even vegan) and something I usually snack on periodically or throw over a bed of greens or brown rice.

Chilled Lentil Salad


1/2 cup of quinoa cooked in broth
1/2 cup of green lentils cooked in broth
1/2 cup of canned chickpeas rinsed
12 cup of shredded carrots (our you can use zucchini)
1 cup of kale, chopped (I like baby kale, it's softer and less bitter)
1/ 4 cup of raisins (I liked the sweetness they add)
1-2 tbs of fresh parsley chopped


1/4 cup of vinegar of your choice (I used apple cider)
1/4 cup of olive oil (I used garlic flavored)
1 garlic clove minced or 2 shallots finely chopped
1 tbs of Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Cook the quinoa and green lentils in broth. This adds flavor and I usually use 1 1/4 cup of broth to the 1/2 cup of grain/lentil. If I have any frozen herbs lying around, I'll add those to the water too. Usually it's frozen garlic and/or basil or cilantro. If I have any mixed seasonings or dried onions, I'll add that to the cooking water as well. It really gives the quinoa more depth and less "dirt" flavor some folks complain about.
Chilled Lentil Salad recipe
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl, set aside to let the flavors mingle.

Cool the quinoa and lentils to room temp. Throw them in a big bowl or container with the rest of the ingredients, toss with dressing and eat. Super simple!