Glorious kale salad

I used to be intimidated by kale because it was so thick and ribbed and bitter if not prepared correctly.  However, if kale is properly prepared the bitterness and tree-like texture is replaced by tender deliciousness.  This salad is also incredibly nutrient-dense, so much so if I have a lot going on and need some extra boost sometimes I eat all of it as a very large and satisfying meal.  Although there would be some nutrient loss, I suspect this meal could also be cooked/wilted in a large wok on a cold day, just wait to add the avocado and mandarins until after it is removed from heat.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

10 cups of kale

2 apples (I used golden delicious), chopped (peeling is optional, although I peeled mine)

3 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned.

1 avocado, in small cubes

1 large beet, shredded

1/8 cup or so of walnut pieces and/or pistachio kernels (optional)

Dressing (puree the below ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender):

2 TBSP coconut aminos (or Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce or tamari)

4 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp original Herbamere or sea salt

t TBSP yellow mustard

2 TBSP garlic granules or fresh garlic

3 dates, pitted

1 mandarin orange, peeled

2 tsp ground mustard seed

1 TBSP garlic sauce

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp coconut palm sugar

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil or tahini (optional, but adds a nice flavor)

1/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS:

De-rib and shred kale.  Pour dressing over kale and mix thoroughly for a few minutes to coat all leaves.  Let sit for five minutes, stirring occasionally,  then add remaining ingredients, let sit another 5 mintues, then stir again until leaves are desired tenderness.         

  

Easy vegan tortilla chili (or chili avocado wraps)

I had three avocados that were about to go bad so I decided to make mashed avocado spread to put on chili tortilla sandwiches.  To make the spread, I simply mashed the avocados then added a splash of lime juice and a teaspoon of Veganaise and a 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder.

For the chili filling, drain one can of diced tomatoes, one can of sweet corn, and one can of black beans.

Simmer tomatoes, beans, and corn in a large saucepan or medium stockpot until boiling.  Meanwhile, dry fry one chopped sweet onion and 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced.  While dry frying, add chili powder, coconut sugar (or other sweetener), a dash of cinnamon, and some garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  You may also add chopped jalapeno peppers if desired.  Cook onions and garlic until carmelized, adding water once in a while after blackening starts to occur.  Add to saucepan and simmer.  Stir in about 1 cup of crushed lowfat tortilla chips and stir until blended.  Add cornstarch and nutritional yeast until sauce thickens.  This can now be eaten as chili topped with mashed avocado and maybe some fresh cilantro, or you can heat up tortillas on a panini press or by dry frying briefly in a cast iron skillet and once the tortillas are hot and slightly crispy, slather mashed avocado on them and then add a scoop of chili mixture and some fresh cilantro, wrap and eat.

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Quick Mexican skillet tacos or nachos

This is so fast and simple to make and is one of my husband’s favorites. INGREDIENTS: 2 bell peppers (I used red and yellow) 1 onion 1 can of Eden’s Caribbean Rice and Beans 1 jar spicy salsa (I use a low sodium) 1 can corn, drained (or fresh) 2 avocados  Nutritional yeast (optional) Lime juice (optional) Tortillas for tacos or tortilla chips for nachos.       INSTRUCTIONS: Dry fry onions and peppers in a large skillet or wok.  Do not use oil or water.     Add salsa once the peppers and onions are charred.      Add beans and rice and corn and heat, stirring constantly. Mash the avocados.
Add some lime juice and nutritional yeast if desired to the mashed avocados.        Heat tortillas (I used a panini press).  To serve, spoon a little of the rice and bean mixture onto a tortilla with a dollop of mashed avocado.      Enjoy!   Alternatively, heap mixture onto tortilla chips with some vegan cheese.

“Doctored up” canned black bean soup for lunch

For lunch today I didn’t want to spend too much time or effort and I am low on ripe fruit so I decided to have a can of soup.

Health Valley organic no salt added black bean soup.  By itself, it lacks the flavor I crave so I add the following ingredients while I am heating it up on the stove:

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp minced onion

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp coconut aminos

fresh cilantro

I then top it with one chopped avocado.

My grandmother used the phrase “doctoring it up” to describe the process of adding fresh ingredients to a store-bought convenience food to make it healthier and to taste more homemade.

Fajita wraps for dinner

I was shopping at Giant last evening and came across five red bell peppers on the reduced produce shelf for under $4.00. Hence, I decided that I would make fajitas for dinner.  These fajitas are oil free and salt free and are packed with nutritious goodness.  I typically try to derive at least 80% of my calories from carbs and no more than 10% of my calories from protein and 10% from fat throughout the week (80/10/10).  Usually I am closer to 90/5/5 on a daily basis so once or twice per week I will make a meal like this which has much more protein (from the beans) and much more fat (from the avocados) than I typically eat for dinner.

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INGREDIENTS:

5 red bell peppers (or a mix of various colors of peppers, perhaps even add a jalepeno if you want more spice)

2 onions

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp each of dried minced garlic and rice vinegar

2 tsp each of nutritional yeast, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, coconut aminos, and corn starch

3 tsp coconut sugar

1 jar of salsa

2 ripe avocados

1 tsp lime juice

1 can refried beans

1 package of soft tortillas (or red chile sandwich petals like I used)


 INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Wash the bell peppers and take out the seeds and trim the white parts.

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2.  Slice the peppers into strips and slice the onions into wedges.

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3.  Place peppers into one skillet and place the onions into a separate skillet.

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4.  Do NOT add water or oil, but dry fry over very high heat, turning and stirring with a metal spatula every few minutes as the vegetables are charred.

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5.  Once the vegetables are charred and beginning to soften, transfer the onions into the same skillet as the peppers and mix them together and turn off the flame.

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6.  Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water into the hot empty skillet that the onions were cooked in then add cayenne pepper, dried minced garlic. rice vinegar, nutritional yeast, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, coconut aminos, corn starch, and coconut sugar.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  The consistency should be like a thin gravy and not everything will dissolve.

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7.  Add peppers and onions and half the jar of salsa to the bubbling sauce and cook over a high flame stirring constantly for two minutes then turn off flame and let set to thicken.

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8.  Add a little water to the canned refried beans to thin them out then cook over medium flame until hot.

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9.  Mash the two avocados and add lime juice and whip with a fork until creamy.  Place refried beans, mashed avocado, and remaining half a jar of salsa into bowls and get ready to assemble a fajita wrap by placing a large serving of peppers and onions into the center of the wrap then adding the salsa, a couple dollops of mashed avocado, and a slathering of refried beans.

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10.  Enjoy.  I ate three of these tonight and saved the rest for leftovers tomorrow.  Beware as they are extremely messy to eat.  Sometimes I give up and use a knife and fork.

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