Let Lunch Cook Itself!

I mean – if you’re going to be busy at home with all the family and a ton to do, why not let lunch cook itself in the crock pot, right? Because this soup feels so much like chicken noodle soup, it’s so comforting, especially in times of the unknown.

What’s great about this soup is that you can pick up large amounts of onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, and kale without worrying if they’ll go bad. I mean seriously, you can pick up 2-3 weeks worth of veggies, make this soup and freeze it.

And yes, before you ask – can you switch out the kale? Yes, you can use any greens you want. Spinach, bok choy, broccoli or anything would work. It’s just that kale is so extremely healthy for you. Plus, a little bit goes a long way.

Try this out, let me know. Take some pics. Post on social media and tag me.

Curried Lentils: Super foods for super cheap!

Who doesn’t love a good, healthy, cheap super food? I know that anytime I can make a food in bulk for pennies, it’s a serious win!! Lentils is definitely one of those foods! Super cheap, but also super nutrient dense!

Lentils are great sources of protein and carbs, as well as providing multiple nutrients. Lentils are also one of the best carbs that are antiinflammatory, as they are not highly processed, nor loaded with fillers/sugars.

Another great thing about lentils is that you can literally flavor them any way you like. My favorite is definetely curried lentils. For me, I actually like them for breakfast with two over-easy eggs. But they are also an excellent lunch and dinner side.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can do it on one pan. No need to dirty a whole lot of dishes. Let me walk you through the process step by step.

Start by putting the following into your pan on low heat:
1tsp olive oil
4 diced garlic cloves
1 full diced onion
1tsp diced or powdered turmeric
1tsp roasted red pepper flakes.

Let these ingredients saute on low heat for about 5 minutes. Together the garlic, onion, turmeric, and red pepper are excellent sources of anti inflammatory foods.

After those have heated and small amazing, add in 1 cup diced mushrooms. Let them heat for about 3-5 minutes. Mushrooms are also excellent for your immune system!

Now you’re ready to add in 1 large can (28ounces) of crushed tomatoes, with 1 small can tomato paste – which also contribute to your daily vitamins and aid your digestive system. Stir well. Leave on low heat for another 3-5 minutes.

Once all your veggies have mixed well and the flavors have come together over low heat, you’re ready to add your lentils. Add in 3 cups of lentils (assumed that you’ve already soaked them).

This is when you can add in your curry. Use a curry packet/powder of your choice. This is where you have to work with the flavors based on your liking. Add in as much or little as you want, depending on how much flavoring/spice you want. I’d suggest adding about 1tbsp at a time, let it simmer. Taste Test. Then go from there and decide if you need more. Continue gradually adding until you’ve reached the desired taste.

With this recipe, using 3 cups of lentils – that is 6 servings – since carbs should be eating 1/2 cup at a time. You can portion this out to six containers or leave in your fridge and eat throughout the week. It also freezes very well. So, feel free to double the recipe and freeze for future weeks.


Quarantine Brownies, anyone?

All jokes aside, I really did purchase baking cocoa powder, peanuts, and chocolate on my last grocery store trip before “shelter in place” began. I know that chocolate is my weakness and I knew baking is comforting. I knew that eventually I’d want to experiment.

So, let’s talk about sugar free, yet super chocolately-nutty brownies. And, why are they in individual ramekin dishes? Well, first of all, we have a rule in our house that we can only bring in desserts in individual portion sizes and we can only bake sweets in the amount we’ll eat in that sitting. We try hard to not have sweets and processed foods just hanging out. Because, let’s be honest – we’ll eat it all that night.

So, I made just enough for two individual ramekin dishes for Josh and I. I made them in FIVE easy steps!

Step 1: Bake 1 sweet potato until soft.

Step 2: Put the following into your blender: 1 cup mashed sweet potato, 1/4 cup baking cocoa powder, 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice. I had actually made 1/2 cup worth using powdered peanut butter. Add in about 1tbsp natural honey. Blend well until a brownie mix consistency.

Step 3: This is when you can add in any “extras” of your choice. I added in 1/4 cup peanuts for a nutty brownie. But you can add in any nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits or anything.

Step 4: Pour equal amounts into your ramekin dishes.

Step 5: Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until baked all the way through.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Vegan Pad Thai Stir Fry – in 5 easy steps

Let’s talk about ways to make vegetables last longer without wilting, getting filmy texture, or getting soggy. Stir fries are always great! But stir fries with flavors and that can freeze are even better!

Like most of my recipes you’ll read about on my blog, I didn’t measure a single thing for this stir fry. I have a rule in my kitchen: measure with your heart. That simply means, if you like that ingredient, add as much of it as you want. If you don’t like it, only add a little bit or simply eliminate it entirely.

Pad Thai Stir Fry is no different. Use what you like, get rid of what you don’t. Let’s talk about this in FIVE easy steps.

Step 1: Cut your spaghetti squash in half and bake it for about 40-45 minutes depending on size. The larger the squash, the longer is bakes. The smaller the squash, the less it needs to bake.

Step 2: While your squash is baking, you’ll make your cream. I’d suggest putting about 2-4tbsp of cashew butter into your blender with about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth. Add in 2-3 garlic cloves, about 1-2tsp of garlic, 1-2tsp of ginner, 1-2tbsp of curry. Blend it all together. Again, if you like one of those flavors a lot, add more. I LOVE ginger and always add a lot of it! Blend it all really well until it becomes a creamy texture. Use this moment to play in the kitchen. Experiment with your blender and the flavors here. Add more of things as you go if you’d like.

Step 3: Let the blender set for a while and start stir-frying your veggies in a saute pan. Start with 1tsp coconut oil in the pan. Add in 1 diced onion and let it become carmelized and flavorful in the coconut oil. Add in some diced green onions and about 2-4 sliced carrots – more if you love carrots as much as I do. Let the carrots get soft before adding in your peppers. I say: think Asian stir fries. Go for the color in your peppers. Add a few of each color. Let all those veggies fry together for a hot minute.

Step 4: Remember the sauce in your blender. Pour that into your veggies and stir well. Leave it on a low simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

Step 5: By now your spaghetti squash may be done. Take it out of the oven. Scoop it out onto your plates. Give each person about 1 cups worth of spaghetti squash. Top with as much veggies as they’d like.

Now realize – you can add whatever foods into this stir fry you’d like. I’ve made it many times and put different veggies in. For example, I have started adding mushrooms because they are delicious and I feel like mushrooms appear in a lot of Asian recipes. You can also add in some chicken or sausage so you have some protein in your stir fry.

I encourage you to use this as a “foundation” to your stir fry. Think outside the box, make some changes. Make it the way you like. When you try it, snap a photo, post it and tag me.

Lastly, this does freeze well. So if you have loaded up on veggies while quarantined, make some stir fry in bulk and freeze it.

Tofu Tomato Soup

Doesn’t everybody just feel better and a sense of comfort with a good ol’ creamy tomato soup? I know that I do. I love a good, creamy soup of any kind. But, this one really really really hits the spot for me.

I thought that during times of shut down, quarantine, and staying in, that this might come in handy. The ingredients are easy to buy canned/frozen and it’s easy to make in bulk. And, great news is that it’s fairly cheap. The other added benefit to this soup is that the tofu brings a sense of creaminess and PROTEIN. Tofu has 18 grams of protein in one serving, it’s plant based and super healthy for you!

Now, before you see the recipe and ask about substitutions, modifications, changes and all that, just remember that this is YOUR recipe, and you can make it the way you like. You can use more or less amounts of certain ingredients. Or, you can entirely eliminate some ingredients. This all depends on what YOU like in your tomato soup. I’ve made tofu-tomato soup at least six time this year and never made it the same. I change things up based on what I feel like, what I have in stock, and what I don’t have. This right here is a basic foundation. There is no wrong way to make it.

To begin, heat about 1tsp of olive oil in a pan. Saute 1 large onion until carmelized. Add in 2-3 cloves of garlic. Add in 1 cup of diced mushrooms. Saute/heat these ingredients for about 5 minutes.

Transition these sauted items to your blender. Pulse for about 20-30 seconds.

Then add in 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 can tomato sauce, and 1 large can of crushed tomatoes into your blender. Blend really well.

After that has all blended, add in 1tsp crushed black pepper, a dash of salt, and 1tbsp basil. Pulse for about 10-20 seconds.

This is when you’ll add in your block of tofu. An entire block of tofu is about 4.5 servings. So, dice your block of tofu, add it to your blender, and blend. Realize now that you have approximately 4.5 servings or more of soup. If you are serving this right away, return the entire blended soup to a pan and heat until ready to serve.

On that contrary, if you are making this for your meal prep, portion it out and put it into a fridge or freezer. In a fridge, it stays good for about 5-6 days. In the freezer it will last as long as you need.

1tsp olive oil
1 onion
2-3 garlic cloves
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp basil
1 full block/package tofu

Stock Up On Nutrients

Wow! What a few weeks it has been. I don’t think there is anything that ever prepares you for your entire country to change in just a few days. But, since we are all in worry together (I prefer the word WORRY, rather than panic) let’s share some ideas.

I know that food is a comfort amenity that has been available to us in large portions over the years. As the grocery stores have been stripped clear over the past few days, it’s evident that food is definitely a source of comfort. While food is very important, I want to really talk about the difference of FOOD versus NUTRIENTS. I want to help you learn how to stock up on nutrients, rather than just food fillers. And, since you know I am a huge advocate of eating all the food groups and balancing macros, I am listing out the foods that fall into each category and save/freeze really well.

I’ve heard that proteins are very hard to find these days. However, if you can find some, frozen meats, canned meats, yogurts, and eggs all do last. You can also freeze yogurt. If it thaws with a weird texture, add some fruit and granola to make it into a parfait. Or blend it into a smoothie. But, please don’t deprive yourself of the amino acids and probiotics that proteins provide our bodies.

When it comes to your carbs, I know that oats, quinoa, rice, beans, barley, lentils and other dried goods don’t sound delicious. But, the great news is that you can make them taste like any dish. Curried lentils is one of my favorites!

When it comes to your fats, staying focused on your plant based fats will help. Seeds, nuts, coconut, and coconut oil last a very long time. These are dried goods that can be purchased in the bulk food section and last for months. Enjoy them!

Fruits and vegetables are going to be your biggest challenge. Rumor has it that even the freezer and canned sections are cleared out. Hopefully you can find at least a few. But hey, when you do, stock up. They last a while.

Need a good recipe to incorporate these foods in a “bulk” recipe. These are two “breakfast” recipes, but could actually be eaten any time of the day. And, your kiddos may love them, too!

Like I said, freezing yogurt is okay. Once you’ve frozen it, you can make some overnight oats. I’d say they last well for 3 days. After that, the texture gets weird. But, it’s balanced macros and delicious!

Breakfast shakshuka is one of my favorites. I LOVE any type of Mediterranean/Arabic/Indian flavored foods. This recipe is perfect becuase not only are these items fairly easy to find in bulk and it freezes well, but it’s also very anti inflammatory. So if you are eating to stay healthy, lean, free of illness, this one is super helpful.

Enjoy these recipes. Try them. Take photos. Post them, tag me!