Easy Sweet Potato Dinner


After a gorgeous run on the beach and a quick dip in the water I was  famished. During the week I typically  don’t like my dinner to take more than 20-25 minutes to prepare. This meal has become a go to for my hubby and I. It’s so filling and nutritious, but you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself…which I am big on (otherwise I’ve been known to go off the deep end  and eat a large pizza to my face, but that’s another story.) The avocados are so delicious right now in Florida so I have been taking advantage of that! I took some shortcuts as you will notice below, in the interest of saving time. I also think this meal looks kind of festive for Halloween!0520

  • Four small ripe avocados
  • Four small sweet potatoes or two large (I made more for leftovers)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt-and-pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro paste (you can use fresh if you’d like)
  • 1 small lime
  • About a cup of light Mexican blend cheese
  • One can of organic black beans (rinsed)
  • One and a half cup fresh pico de gallo (fresh store bought or you can make your own)

Step one: Place the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 7 to 9 minutes depending on size (you can also cook them in the oven at 425 degrees until fork tender.)

Step two : Cut the avocado in half (dicing it makes it easier if it’s not completely ripe…see picture below), spoon into a bowl and mash, add the olive oil, cilantro paste, garlic powder, pepper  salt and lime juice. Mix well!

lime

avocado

Step three: Take the rinsed black beans and pico de gallo and place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Step four: Turn your oven on broil. Take the sweet potatoes out of the microwave and cut them in half (see picture below) drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese and place in the oven on broil until the cheese has melted.

sweet potatoStep five: Take the potatoes out of the oven and mash a little with spoon. Add beans and guacamole and enjoy!

mash sweet

final food

 🍴

xo,

               Taylor

P.S. -pictures from my run tonight!

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Pumpkin Ginger Carrot Soup


Yesterday I went to Niagara Produce and stocked up on vegetables. I realized as I was leaving that I may have been a tad overzealous when it came to the amount of carrots I bought, so I was on a mission to make an entree out of them.  I received a Vitamix for our wedding and thought what a perfect time of year to make a carrot pureed soup in that.  I added the pumpkin since it’s Fall and this soup was delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger- peeled and minced (you can add more if you like a bite) 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. chunks
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • pinch of curry powder
  • pinch of cumin
  • 2 bay leafs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sugar in the raw (sprinkle on top to serve)
  • nutmeg (grate on top to serve)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot  over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; saute for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, water, carrots, cumin, curry powder, bay leafs and pumpkin to the pot and heat until boiling.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor (I had to do mine in two batches)
  6. Season  salt and pepper, nutmeg and sugar  to taste.   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Creamy Vegetable Curry


I made this recipe last week on a brisk fall day. I was craving something spicy and paired it with a fruitier red wine.  I took this recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook, I have tried about 5 of her recipes now and I love how easy and delicious they are. I cannot believe that I have never made cashew cream before! The dish didn’t have dairy in it yet it was so creamy and rich. This will be a go to meal in our household from now on.ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 green chile or jalapeño, seeded, if desired, and diced (optional) #I used less than 1/2 tsp. of my chile because it was so hot
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded ad chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Basmati rice, for serving *I used organic frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s instead
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Toasted cashews, for serving

Steps:

  1. In a blender, combine the cashews with 3/4 cup water and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir int he green chile (if using), potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, tomato, curry powder and salt. Sauté for 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in the cashew cream and corn. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet with a lid. Simmer, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Stir every 5 minutes throughout the cooking process. If the mixture starts to dry out, reduce the heat and add a splash of water or oil and stir to combine.
  4. Serve the curry over a bed of basmati rice and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and toasted cashews.

curry

 

 

 

Fall Inspired Dish


Fall is such a beautiful time of year in Western New York. On Monday I drove to Ellicottville and was in awe of all the beautiful foliage. I decided to make a dish that had all the colors I’ve been seeing outside. I picked lentils for brown, spaghetti squash for yellow, heirloom tomatoes for my red (and all of the colors), green mixture of kale, mustard, collard, spinach and turnips. Click here to read more about the health benefits of incorporating leafy greens into your daily diet! What I ended up with was a protein packed beautiful dinner that tasted delicious. I will be eating the leftovers again for dinner tonight, how do you think I did with matching the dish to the leaves?

Taken on Monday in Ellicottville, NY
Taken on Monday in Ellicottville, NY

final

Ingredients:

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • Avocado oil or oil of your choice (lightly spread on squash)
  • 1 medium sized red onion -diced
  • 3 cups of organic vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 16 oz bag of green mixture (mine had collard, spinach, mustard, kale and turnips)
  • Packet of 1lb mini heirloom tomatoes -halved
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle
  • Red chili flakes to taste
  • 1lb of cooked lentils
  • Everyday seasoning spice to taste
  • Salt and pepper to tastepotstomatoes

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees, cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and lightly coat in olive oil, place in oven for 35 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. In a medium sized skillet add the vegetable broth, greens and everyday spice, cook over medium to low heat for roughly 10 minutes or until greens have wilted a bit. Stir occasionally and cover. *Side note- I always like to make sure my greens STAY green and it’s important to watch out for overcooking them because you will lose some of the nutrients.
  3. In another skillet add 1 tsp of avocado oil (or your favorite oil) and add the onion over medium to high heat, stir frequently for about 5 minutes, lower heat and add garlic for 1-2 minutes and add the tomatoes.
  4. Let the onion, garlic, tomato mixture cook 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally and add them to the green mixture, stir together saute over low heat.
  5. Take the squash out of the oven and fork the squash to get the spaghetti like consistency, add the squash to the green mixture. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and cheese and serve immediately!bowl

Zucchini Bites


I have always shied away from picking the larger zucchini out of my dad’s garden. I prefer the smaller to medium sized ones. However my dad convinced me that the large ones were just as good as long as you prepare it correctly. So he cut them into large slices and seasoned them and put them on the grill. He was right they were totally awesome. Last night after a weekend of eating lots of carbs and dairy my husband and I were in need of a lighter meal. These could be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. We had about 3 each and we were stuffed! The dish was bursting with delicious flavors and only took about 25 minutes to make! veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion (large dices)
  • 1 box of 13.4 oz cannellini beans (I highly recommend these!)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic (I love garlic- you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1 large zucchini (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • Italian seasonings (as needed)
  • Garlic powder (as needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar (as needed)
  • Olive oil (as needed)
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • 8 cups loosely packed spinach
  • Red chili pepper flakes (to taste)
  • ¼ cup of filtered waterspinach

Steps:

  • Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In the meantime- take 3 teaspoons of olive oil and heat in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to caramelize, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Set aside.
  • Take a deeper pan and put ¼ cups of water in it add the spinach and cover over low heat until spinach has wilted and immediately remove from heat.
  • Add the beans, onion and garlic to the spinach and mix- add salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasonings to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  • When the oven has heated up to 400 take the sliced zucchini and lightly baste in olive oil (Wegman’s basting oil would be really good!), drizzle balsamic vinegar, sprinkle garlic powder, and Italian seasonings. Do this to both sides of the zucchini.
  • Place in oven for 10 minutes or until it’s fork tender, take out and add the tomatoes. Turn oven on a low broil and put back in for 5-7 minutes or until zucchini has started to brown and the tomatoes have started to roast.
  • Take the spinach bean mixture and add to the to top of the zucchini, sprinkle parmesan cheese and red chili flakes!final image

Lentil Quinoa Salad


When I was visiting my sister in NYC last month we had lunch at this cute restaurant. My sister Tess ordered the lentil salad and I immediately wished that I had ordered it as well. The arugula paired perfectly with the lentils and fresh squeezed lemon- such refreshing flavors! After eating poorly this past weekend I wanted something light for dinner and this salad seemed like the perfect option. This salad would also be amazing with sliced avocados. Lentils and Quinoa are full of fiber, whole grains, and protein! Quinoa is a fiber-rich whole grain as well as a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. As far as the quantity of each ingredients it’s a salad so its really just personal preference of how much you would like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Inca red organic quinoa (cooked according to package directions; there will be leftovers)
  • 1 cup dried green lentils (cook according to package directions; there will be leftovers)
  • Organic grape tomatoes (cut into fours)
  • Red onion (chopped to your preference)
  • 1 large spear of organic asparagus (cut off the ends and wash)
  • Lemons
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Organic arugula (the store didn’t have just arugula so I used a blend of arugula, spinach and radicchio)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Steps:

  1. Start by cooking the quinoa and lentils according to package directions, Strain the lentils when they’re cooked and let cool. Pour the e.v.o.o on the cooked quinoa and let cool as well.
  2. Turn your grill on medium to high heat and spray with olive oil, spray the asparagus and place on grill, cover grill, let cook for five minutes and turn over and cook for five minutes and remove.
  3. Take the desired amount of arugula onto your plate, add the desired amount of quinoa, lentils, onion, tomatoes and asparagus onto your plate as well. Grate lemon zest over your plate, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper and squeeze lemon juice all over. Image

Interesting article

Spicy Red Lentil Soup


Wegman’s always has such a great variety of soup. A few years ago I tried their spicy red lentil chili and was blown away! To my delight they had the recipe online and I have been making this soup ever since. The recipe calls for some things I don’t cook with like cornstarch and butter so I have made my own adjustments to make this soup healthier and easier to make. You really don’t need to add a thickener to this soup because the lentils expand so much it makes the soup thick on it’s own. Also always remember that food is customizable so for the tobasco and seasonings you can alter them according to your tastebuds! I added a few drop of the tobasco in each bowl I served because I happen to love spice. This large pot of soup costs under $10.00 to make and its so filling, cant beat that 😉

Ingredients:

Sorry about my kitty's head
Sorry about my kitty’s head
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 large Tbsp Earth Balance spread
  • 1/2 cup white onion- diced
  • 1 cup scallions- finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery -diced ( I throw the leaves in for flavor)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves- diced (I love garlic you can add less if you’d like)
  • 1 medium tomato- cored and diced
  • 1 large green pepper -finely diced
  • 1 large carrot- peeled and finely diced
  • 6 cups veggie stock (you can make your own or use store bought)
  • 1 Tbsp Tobasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp  turmeric (“few sprinkles”)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (“”)
  • 1/2 tsp  chili powder (“”)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (one sprinkle)
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Start by pouring the veggie broth into a large pot along with the lentils over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring ocasioanlly and turn heat down to medium low and cover loosely.photo 2
  2. In a seperate skillet add the earth balance spread over medium to high heat let melt, add the scallions and onions and stir frequently for 3-5 minutes, add the garlic and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the finely diced carrots, celery, peppers and tomatoes into the skillet and let cook down for 7-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring freqeuntly.photo 3
  4. Pour the veggie mixture into the pot with the lentils. Add your spices; tumeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add the tobasco
  5. Stir all of the ingredients together, let cook over medium to low heat, loosely covered for about 40 minutes, stirring ocasioanlly. photo 4photo 5

Tofu hash with sweet potatoes


Betty‘s is my favorite place in Buffalo to get brunch. I discovered it about 3 or so years ago when I was vegan because it was listed as a vegan friendly restaurant. My two personal favorite brunch items are the chilaquiles and the tofu hash, although my fiance argues that the breakfast burrito is hands down the best menu item. Well now that I am back to cutting out most animal products I recently went there and fell in love all over again with the tofu hash. I gave Betty’s a calll yesterday morning and asked them what they used for the flavor, and they were nice enough to tell me they cooked the tofu in garlic and used soy sauce and hot sauce as well. My dish didn’t turn out like theirs, but it was still really yummy. To be perfectly honest I am not a tofu lover, I actually ask for no tofu in a lot of dishes. Tofu is a very adaptable ingredient and can taste very different depending on the dish. So if you think you may hate tofu you should try this recipe out or ask for a tofu hash next time a restaurant offers it. My fiance LOVES this dish and that says a lot because he is not really one you would peg as a tofu lovin man. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 yams
  • 1.5 box extra firm tofu -cubed
  • 1 small red onion-diced
  • 1 red pepper- diced
  • 2 teaspoons of “butter” spread
  • 2 heaping teaspoons garlic (I ran out of fresh so I used jarred garlic)
  • 3 teaspoons Tabasco (add less or more depending on how much spice you like)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (gives it a beautiful color!)
  • drizzle of organic honey
  • 1 can organic bpa free black beans-rinsed
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 whole wheat vegan pitas

Steps:

  1. Start by peeling and dicing the yams into bite size pieces and rinse. Place them in boiling water and lower heat to medium, cook until fork tender, drain water and set aside.
  2. In a skillet take the “butter” spread and place heat on medium to high, once the “butter” has melted add the garlic, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the pressed tofu (read on how to get the water out of tofu in the link). Let the tofu brown up and stir frequently. Add the onions, red pepper, and rinsed beans to the dish (making sure they are all as dry as possible), continue stirring for 5-7minutes.
  3. Add the yams and the turmeric, soy sauce, Tabasco, pepper and honey. Let cook for about 3 minutes stirring to let all the flavors combine.
  4. Serve with a warmed grilled pita! unnamed

 

 

Vegetable Stock


I normally just buy organic vegetable stock pre-made at the store, but yesterday after looking at all of the fresh produce I had I decided to make my own. It’s so easy and its great to freeze to have on hand when the recipe calls for it! I ended up using the vegetables for our dinner afterwards. I diced the veggies then added some barley, lentils, cabbage and kale to my dish with about 3 cups of the veggie broth.  When making a basic vegetable stock, you want something with a fairly neutral savory flavor. Some recipes recommend adding salt and other spices, but unless you know how you’re going to be using the broth , it’s better to add those flavors when you are making the actual dish. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 to 3 carrots
  • 3 to 4 celery stalks
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic

Steps

  1.  Roughly Chop All The Vegetables: Wash any visible dirt off the vegetables and give them a rough chop. You don’t even need to peel them first unless you really want to. Throw all the vegetables in a pot big enough to hold them plus a few extra inches of water
  2. Cover with Water and Simmer: Cover the vegetables with enough water that you can easily stir them in the pot. Less water means that your stock will be more concentrated; more water makes a lighter-flavored stock. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to just under a boil. Once you start to see some bubbling around the edges of the pot and a few wisps of steam on the surface, turn the heat down to medium-low
  3. Cook for One Hour or So: This isn’t an exact science, but one hour is generally enough time to infuse the water with vegetable goodness. If you need to take it off the heat a little early or don’t get to it until a little later, it will be fine. Give it a stir every now and again to circulate the vegetables
  4. Strain and Store Take the pot off the stove and remove all the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Set your strainer over a big bowl and line it with cheese cloth or coffee filters. Pour the stock through. Divide the stock into storage containers, cool completely, and then freeze.

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Loaded Vegan Sweet Potato


I was feeling very inspired yesterday and wanted to make something with really pure ingredients. I absolutely love mushrooms, but unfortunately my main squeeze does not. I decided last night that I wanted to get back together with mushrooms and I did just that. They were so good. This dish was seriously satisfying, I feel very lucky that my fiancé not only eats meals like this but actually embraces and enjoys them. I love to cook for him because he has such a great appetite for healthy food, and how awesome is that? Happy Friday!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic broccoli- rinsed and diced
  • 1 cup organic baby bella mushrooms-rinsed and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 5-6 leaves of organic kales- rinsed and chopped
  • 1 15 oz can organic BPA free can of black beans- rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 organic avocado -diced
  • olive oil as needed
  • 4 organic sweet potatoes – washed and poke holes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves organic fresh garlic-diced
  • 1 tablespoon of an all spice herb (I used 21 spice by Trader Joe’s)

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees, bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium to high heat, add the garlic, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes, add the scallions and let cook for another 3-5 minutes, continue stirring.
  3. Add the kale and turn the heat down to medium, stirring occasionally, cook for about 5 minutes or until kale begins to wilt.
  4. Add the beans, mushrooms (I had mine in a separate pot because of my fiancé), salt, pepper and spice blend.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are ready, cut open with a knife and place the veggie mixture on top! Add the avocado, and some feta cheese if you eat cheese 🙂