Category Archives: Recipes

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, Black Beans, and Feta

Quinoa Salad

When I first tried quinoa, I thought it was horrid. And this disappointed me tremendously because quinoa is one of those grains that seems to be a staple in the gluten-free diet and one that everyone loves.

I’m not sure when my feelings for quinoa changed, but I know it had something to do with it being served cold, rather than warm.

Suddenly, I loved it and couldn’t get enough.

This summer, I’ve been making a variation of this simple salad. It’s so flexible and easy. You can eliminate an ingredient or add others, such as onion, cucumber or avocado.

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, Black Beans, and Feta

one package of Trader Joe’s fully cooked organic quinoa (so easy; just microwave)
half of a corn on the cob
canned black beans, about a cup or so, drained and rinsed
1 yellow plum tomato
1/2 of a red beefsteak tomato
handful of feta cheese
You could also add onion and/or avocado.

Mix together.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #85 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project.

Weekend Cooking: Waking Up to Overnight Oats

Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats

The Girl and I have a busy day today, as tends to be the norm on the first Saturday of the month. I knew I would need a powerful, healthy breakfast to hold me over until lunchtime, and I decided to make overnight oats.  If you’ve read any food blogs or perused Pinterest lately, you know that overnight oats have been trendy for awhile now.

I had been meaning to make these for awhile, but never have — until last night. I can’t find the exact Pinterest recipe I based this on, but it went something like this:

Blueberry Banana Overnight OatsBlueberry Banana Overnight Oats

3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
1 smashed banana, more on the brown side than ripe
handful or two (or three) of blueberries

Combine all ingredients In a mason jar or bowl. (Personally, as much as I love the aesthetics of this in a glass jar, I don’t feel its essential.)  Stir. Refrigerate until morning, stir a few times, then top with blueberries before enjoying.

This couldn’t be any easier and it turned out to be fantastic. Although I would have preferred a thicker consistency, that’s easily adjustable for next time. And I am planning to make overnight oats again, especially since my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are being stubborn as hell.

I’m now on the hunt for more overnight oats recipes, just to have a variety.  (Although I don’t want any with seeds — especially chia, which I find to be incredibly vile. And I’ve seen some versions with chocolate and additional sweeteners like honey but that’s probably not the best way to go either.)

Do you make overnight oats? Tell me about your favorite!  

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #69 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

 

Weekend Cooking: Summer Smoothie (48/99)

Smoothie - Banana BlackberrySmoothies are one of those things that I probably should make more often, but I don’t. I’m not sure why; it’s not like they are overly difficult or I don’t usually have the ingredients on hand.  That’s a bit more challenging in the winter, true, but there’s no excuse in the summer with the abundance of fruits and berries.

And what’s worse is sometimes I even buy certain things when they’re on sale — like extra bananas, raspberries, and blackberries — with the INTENTION of making smoothies. I don’t have to tell you what usually happens.

A few mornings ago, I was making The Boy’s lunch for a camp field trip and I grabbed a bunch of bananas on the counter.  They were a little overripe, and the entire bunch broke off at the stem and became partially unpeeled. I threw the bananas in the freezer and decided to do something with them later.

That afternoon, the four of us happened to be home when the summer afternoon seemed to scream smoothies. I remembered the frozen bananas from that morning and turned to the pile of cookbooks I’d recently borrowed from the library.

Sure enough, the perfect recipe was found in Dinner Solved! by Katie Workman.

Berry Banana Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

1½ cups strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen  (I used raspberries and blackberries)
1 banana, fresh or frozen, sliced into chunks
1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt  (I used regular plain yogurt)
½ cup milk  (I used almond milk)
3 to 4 tablespoons honey, to taste
1 cup crushed ice

Smoothie - Banana Blackberry 21. Place the berries, banana, yogurt, milk, honey and ice in a blender. Pulse a few times, then puree to desired texture.

2. Pour into glasses and serve.

Definitely a very refreshing summer drink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #48 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

feeding the mother of all adrenaline crashes

IMG_20160509_174028_741

Holy mother of all adrenaline crashes.

When I tell you that I am in a nearly comatose-like zonked out state from my Listen to Your Mother experience this weekend, I am not exaggerating.

Well, okay, maybe a little. But Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, am I exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for the rest of the week. The month.

Hell, make that the rest of this year.

I don’t know how you people who do things like run marathons or perform for thousands are able to function after this kind of rush. I really don’t. I took today as a vacation day from work and after doing some errands, I spent most of the afternoon in bed.

I know this is the aftermath of an intense week, which included heightened stress — some good (pre-show prep) and some that I could have done without, thank you very much. I’ve had a jackhammer of a headache since Thursday.  I haven’t been sleeping more than a few hours per night nor eating very well. It’s Mercury retrograde. And this weather — steel-gray sky, colder than usual even for Pittsburgh — ain’t helping matters.

No wonder I want to retreat to my bed.

Time to recharge the batteries, starting with tonight’s dinner.

I wanted soup, something hearty and healthy and fast. Enter this bowl of deliciousness, right here.

IMG_20160509_174028_741

Tortilla Soup from Cook the Pantry: Vegan Pantry-to-Plate Recipes in 20 Minutes (or Less!) by Robin Robertson.  (Note that the addition of shredded cheddar is my doing.)  I really like Robin Robertson’s recipes for their simplicity and speed.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe online and since I noticed that other bloggers include a publishers’ permission when posting Cook the Pantry recipes, I’ll refrain from posting it here because I’m not interested in being sued. It’s pretty basic; you probably have something similar in your culinary repertoire.

All these ingredients are staples in our house — olive oil; garlic; chili powder; salsa; diced tomatoes; frozen corn (I used canned because our frozen corn has been recalled); vegetable broth (I used homemade stock); and black beans.  I didn’t have scallions and we didn’t miss them.  I did have an avocado and vegetarian chicken strips, which I substituted for the Soy Curls listed as optional in the recipe.

Tortilla Soup and Salad - 5-9-2016It came together quickly, as promised.  I served the soup with a simple green salad (lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, with a slight drizzle of olive oil for dressing) which was last night’s leftovers.

The Husband and I liked the Tortilla Soup. The kids, as expected, didn’t want anything to do with this.  Whatever. Their loss. They opted for leftover rotisserie chicken and nothing else. They’re 14 and perfectly capable of making their own dinner if they didn’t like what was offered.

Simple, convenient and fast. Can’t ever get tired of recipes like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking: Toasted Avocado and “Chicken” Sandwich

Toasted Avocado and Chicken Sandwich

Every summer seems to bring its own particular food or simple meal that I become completely obsessed with and crave nonstop. Before going gluten-free, it was pasta salad  – which I still love, of course, but it’s been difficult finding the right GF pasta that can make it into a second day of leftovers. There also was the summer of hummus, cucumber and tomato sandwiches. So good.

This year belongs to the avocado. More often than not, my go-to dinner is smashed avocado and tomatoes (a humble guacamole, nothing fancy) for dinner with tortilla chips. That’s it. I don’t need much more than that.

Avocado toast is all the rage on many of the food blogs I read.  I hadn’t really been swayed to try it one way or another, but it certainly wasn’t out of the question because, avocado, yo.  I’ve been instituting “Buffet Night” once a week  – usually a Saturday or Sunday – where dinner becomes a free-for-all, a smorgasbord of still-good leftovers where at least one damn thing on the table is bound to meet the approval of everyone in this picky-eater family.  So one night we had some leftover mock chicken strips but not quite enough to make fajitas for all or something resembling a meal.

I had an avocado that had just reached perfection, and I looked at it and the fake chicken strips and thought, hmm … this has possibilities. And so, the Toasted Avocado and “Chicken” Sandwich was born.

(This is definitely not a Melissa Original, by any means; a Google search on “avocado and chicken sandwich” yields 2 bazillion hits, but I certainly felt like a brilliant five-star chef.)

It’s so easy. And so good. All you need to do is toast some bread (I used Aldi’s gluten-free white bread), and mash an avocado. Spread on the toast.  Add chicken. I used Beyond Meat’s Lightly Seasoned Chicken Strips. You can add tomato, as I’ve done on several occasions.

A simple and satisfying summer sandwich.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

 

Weekend Cooking: Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free, Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Melissa's Gluten-Free Vegetarian No Tofu Mock Chicken Noodle Soup

Just in time for a holiday weekend, I’ve caught a nasty case of (what I am fairly certain is) bronchitis. We didn’t have any plans for this Memorial Day, but I was hoping to do a few things around the house other than cough my way nonstop through the weekend. Instead, I sound and feel miserable (“Mom, you sound like you’re coughing up a hairball,” The Boy told me last night. “Or maybe two cats.”)  He has a way with words, that kid. And he’s right.

Last night, I wanted a bowl of chicken noodle soup in the worst way possible. This is easier said than done when you’re gluten-free and vegetarian. Fortunately, after finding some recipes on Pinterest and taking scraps from here and there, I was able to throw together a steamy, soothing bowl of what I’m calling my Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup. I made this up as I went along, so forgive the imprecise measurements. I also have no affiliation with the products mentioned; I’m just a happy customer.

Homemade Gluten-Free, Tofu-Free Mock “Chicken” Noodle Soup

2 tbsps. olive oil

onion and garlic (I used about 2 or 3 cups of Birds Eye Recipe Ready Chopped Onions and Garlic, as I wanted a lot of both)

a few dashes of dried thyme

a few dashes of dried parsley

8 cups hot water

4 cubes Not Chick’n boullion (I like Edward & Sons)

about 2 cups small-shaped gluten-free pasta (I had a choice between elbow macaroni and medium shells; I went with the macaroni)

I had about 1/3 of a package of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned chicken strips remaining in the freezer, so I decided to add them

Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in pot.
Add onion and garlic blend along with the dried thyme.
Saute for a few minutes till it is nice and sizzling.
Add 8 cups hot water, then the Not Chick’n boullion cubes.
Stir and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the parsley.
Add pasta and continue to boil for the package directions (mine was 7 minutes)
Microwave the Beyond Meat chicken strips and toss in the pot.
Add salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t add salt, as it didn’t seem to need it.

This seems flexible enough to add carrots, celery, or peas if you choose. I hate celery and didn’t have carrots or peas, otherwise I would have probably added those.

The result was exactly what I’d hoped for – a very soothing, comforting bowl of a classic favorite.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Weekend Cooking: The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs

The China Study All-Star Collection

The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs
by Leanne Campbell, PhD.
BenBella Books 
2014 
304 pages 

When T. Colin Campbell and his son Thomas M. Campbell published The China Study ten years ago, the possibility that the food we eat (particularly animal products) might be affecting our health was seen as somewhat radical.  A decade later, being vegan is practically in vogue.

While some may choose to dismiss The China Study either because of the controversies surrounding its research methods or skepticism or personal dietary preference, there’s no question that more people are more cognizant of what they are eating.

I’m one of them.

As regular blog readers know, I’ve been a vegetarian (well, pescetarian, if we’re getting technical) for almost 19 years. During the past year and a half, I’ve been adapting to a gluten-free diet to help with stomach woes and migraines, both of which have greatly diminished. I follow a lot of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan blogs and of course I can’t resist checking out any cookbook from the library that might offer a few new recipes fitting those categories.

The China Study All-Star Collection was a cookbook that recently caught my eye because two of my favorite vegan chefs, Dreena Burton of Plant Powered Kitchen and Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore fame, have recipes in this book. The author, Leanne Campbell is the daughter of T. Colin Campbell, who advocates eating “whole, plant-based foods, with little or no added oil, salt, or refined carbohydrates like sugar or white flour” (from Whole, pg. 209).

Not all the recipes are gluten-free, but many offer suggestions for modification – or, if not, could probably be made GF with some minor adjustments. The photography is well-done throughout the book and nearly every recipe includes a photo.

What I Made: Haven’t had the chance to try any of these yet.

What Looks Good (all of the recipes I listed below seem to be naturally gluten-free or easily modified):

Apple-Swirl Loaf, by Dreena Burton (pg. 15)

Caesar Salad, Jazzy-Style, by Laura Theodore (pg. 80 and 82) ~ with a tofu-based Caesar Salad Dressing recipe also provided; this one is GF except for the croutons, which could be easily substituted

Fresh Corn Salad, by Leanne Campbell (pg. 86)

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, by Dreena Burton (pg. 106) ~ this looks perfect for the fall!

Everything Minestrone, by Lindsay Nixon (pg. 114)

Mellow Lentil “Sniffle” Soup, by Dreena Burton (pg. 117)

Sweet Potato and Yellow Split Pea Soup, by Chef AJ (pg. 121) ~ another one that I want to try this fall

Sneaky Chickpea Burgers, by Dreena Burton (pg. 127) ~ the oats in these would need to be GF

Barbeque Portobello Sandwiches, by John and Mary McDougall (pg. 128) ~ obviously, the buns would need to be GF

Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos, by Lindsay Nixon (pg. 134)

Savory Mushroom Stroganoff, by Laura Theodore (pg. 162)

Most of the recipes are accompanied by bright, well-done photography and none of the directions seemed particularly cumbersome.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.