Leftovers Roundup

For those of you lucky (or unlucky?!) enough to have leftovers, I have a few suggestions for repurposing them, so you don’t have to eat the same ol’ thing for yet another meal.

Potatoes

If you happen to have leftover roasted potatoes, you can always try my Smashed Potato and Kale Soup or Smashed Potato Salad, which would go great along side my White Bean Burger – or any other veggie burger or veggie dog.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, try using them as a topper for a Shepard’s Pie. I really want to try this one; it looks so good!

Raw Veggies

If your veggie tray was bigger than your guests’ stomaches, try making vegetable soup. I love clean-out-the-fridge vegetable soups. Just throw all of your left over veggies in the crock pot with a bottle of your favorite tomato juice or juice blend or a box of veggie broth and a little water, season to taste, crank up the heat and voila! The soup is ready when you are. Or, if you’re in a hurry (like I usually am), saute your denser veggies (celery, carrot, bell peppers) with onion and garlic in a little veggie broth or water (or oil if that’s how you roll) until they’re tender, add the rest of your veggies, a box of veggie broth or a bottle of tomato juice/juice blend, season to taste, bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to a hard simmer, cover, and cook until all of your veggies are tender. The lid will help keep the heat in the pot and on the veggies. If you’re REALLY short on time, don’t forget about frozen onions and jars of chopped/minced garlic; they’re great time savers that don’t sacrifce quality.

Dip and/or Dressing

Don’t think you can stomach one more snack of veggies and vegan ranch dip? Try repurposing your dip into a sandwhich spread. Puree about a cup of your favorite beans (I usually use chickpeas) in a blender or food processor (be sure to rinse and drain first if using canned) until smooth (or leave it a little chuncky if that’s how you like your sandwhich spread). Stir in about a quarter cup of your leftover dip/dressing, some diced pickles, celery, onion, carrot, etc., and seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, dried parsley flakes, etc). Add my dip/dressing if mixture is too thick. Chill for a bit in the fridge if time, then spead on your favorite bread, crackers, veggies, pita, pita chips, tortilla, tortilla chips – whatever you can think of!

Sandwich Spread in a Pita

Apples

Make an apple pie but have left over apples? Not sure what to do with them? You can always make my Apple Pie Smoothie, or try a Two Minute Baked Apple!

Two Minute Baked Apple

1 med – lg apple, quartered and cored

1 TBSP raisins

1 TBSP maply syrup

2 TBSP oats

1-2 tsp cinnamon

2 pks stevia (or 1-2 TBSP sugar)

Quater and core apple. Add to bowl. Add raisins and maple syrup. Mix oats, cinnamon, and stevia. Sprinkle on top of apple/raisins mix. Cover bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Apples will be tender but not mushy. (They still have a little bite. For softer apples, microwave and additional 30 seconds until desired tenderness is reached.)

You can subsititue pears for apples.

Before their warm, steamy trip around the microwave2 Minute Baked Apples

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Leftover Potatoes Two Ways

Did you help stimulate the economy today? I did! But just a little. I don’t have anyone to buy gifts for, really, so I was just shopping for myself. (Mr. M and I exchange a gift or two, but we usually get what we need/want/can afford when we need/want/can’t live without it throughout the year.)

After I did a little shopping (locally – bonus!), I came home  – hungry. This is not new, people. I often come home hungry. And when I’m hungry, I want food. Now. Not late. It’s a good thing I have a freezer full of delicious and nutritious food, hu? Woohoo! Today’s freezer find was a soup I made last week but didn’t get around to sharing with you. I actually used the main ingredient – roasted potatoes – to make two recipes.

Smashed Potato and Kale Soup

2 lbs new red potatoes
4 c chopped kale
3-4 c veggie broth
1-2 c filtered water
1/2 c minced onion
3-4 cloves garlic (about 2 TBSP)
1 TBSP olive oil
Seasonings to taste: Salt, Pepper, Mrs. Dash original, dried parsley flakes, etc.

Roast potatoes at 400-425F for about an hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool slighty.

In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic and kale in olive oil. Saute until kale is very wilted. Add a dash of veggie broth if pan is dry. You may also want to salt at this step to build your seasoning layers.

Smash potatoes with a hand-held potato masher. Add potatoes to soup pot along with veggie broth and water. Season to taste.

Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all ingredients are warmed through and/or soup achieves desired consistency. (Soup with be brothy.)

Serving Size: 3 two cup servings

Click here for nutrition information.

Smashed Potato Goodness in a Bowl

 I used a little oil in this recipe, which is a bit unusual for me, but I really wanted to make sure the kale was wilted. I usually use the big, flat kale, but they didn’t have any when I went to the store, so I went with the curly kind. In my opinion, the curly kind is a little stronger in flavor and a little tougher in texture. The oil really helped soften the kale, but I’m sure you could accomplish the same thing with veggie broth or water. Or, if you are familiar with the curly kale, you could probably just let the heat of the soup wilt the greens. One reason I love soup is because it’s so versatile and forgiving!

 
After I made the soup, I still have some roasted potatoes left, and I couldn’t get the idea of potato salad out of my head. I know it’s not really the season for potato salad, but it turned out well, and it was really good beside a veggie burger.
 
1/2 lb roasted new red potatoes
1 c diced parsley
1 c scallions (whites & greens), cut on bias
Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, granulated garlic, Mrs. Dash original
 
Vinaigrette:
2 tsp brown mustard
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water (or more to thin dressing)
 
Using left-over roasted potatoes, smash with your fingers. Add to bowl along with parsley, scallions, vinaigrette, and seasonings. Stir and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.Serving Size: 2 servings

Naked Potato Salad

Potato Salad DressingPotato Salad all Dressed Up

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy potato smashing!

I’m Thankful for…Pumpkin Pancakes!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderfully thankful (emphasis on FULL) day with family and friends. Or, if you just relaxed at home like we did (and have been all week), I hope you made yourself something wonderful and allowed your body to thank you for all the good food you put into it every day.

To begin my Thanksgiving celebration, I attempted to participate in my first Turkey Trot. However…I didn’t quite make it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to run outside this morning because of the cold and the driving time, but I decided to do at the last-minute, which got me out of the house a little bit later than I should have. Couple that with slow holiday traffic and no idea where the check-in site was located, and, well, I missed it. Damn.

Since I was out-of-town, I went ahead and picked up some groceries before heading home and hopping on the treadmill. (While I was gone, and then on the treadmill, Mr. M set up our new surround sound, which he bought while I was at work, and he was on vacation. Surprise, honey! ) After the treadmill, I made myself a new treat – pumpkin pancakes.

Before I share my recipe, I have to confess something…today was the first time I’ve ever made pancakes. Why haven’t I made pancakes before today? Because. Is that a good enough answer? Ha ha. Honestly, pancakes aren’t my favorite food. Some of you probably can’t comprehend this; pancakes seem to be VERY popular. But, typically, I only have pancakes about once a year – even back in the day when I could order one at a traditional restaurant. So, today was my annual pancake feasting.

I searched the net for a couple of days looking for a good first-time recipe, and believe me, it was a VERY difficult choice! Since I knew I’d be the only one eating them, I needed a recipe that didn’t make very many pancakes. That disqualified a bunch of the recipes I found. And I knew I wanted to make pumpkin (duh, it’s Thanksgiving), and since I’m new to this, I didn’t want to have to alter too much. Oh, and I wanted an oil-free recipe. As you can see, the field was narrowing. But I found one!

I used this recipe as my inspiration.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/3 c oat flour

1/2 c pumpkin puree

1/4 c non-dairy milk

1/2 – 1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash salt

1/2 – 1 tsp each cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice

2 pks stevia (or 2 TBSP sugar)

Mix everything until well combined. Drop by the 1/3 c onto a hot griddle or pan. Cook about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Click here for nutrition information.

Top each pancake  with Pumpkin Maple Syrup (1/4 c pumpkin puree plus 1 tsp maple syrup, heated 15 seconds in the microwave).

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Maple Syrup

Since I’ve never made pancakes before, I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be like. Mr. M said they were too cakey, but I liked them that way. These are definitely not a light and fluffy pancake. But who wants to feel like they’re eating air? I want something hearty with a lot of mouth feel. Um…creamy, cakey pumpkin. (Insert Homer Simpson drool here.)

Carob Peanut Butter Banana Butter/Fudge

I have a problem. A serious problem. My body is rejecting a vital nutrient. Something I need. Something I can’t live without! Oh, the horror! I can’t….I can’t…I can’t eat chocolate anymore!!!!! (insert sobs and wails of anguish)

I’ve shared before that I have gallstones. They bother me off and on, but I’m usually able to keep things under control by watching my diet. The first thing to go was dairy, which had been making me sick for months – years really since I’ve been lactose intolerant since birth – so in a way, my pesky gallbladder helped me go vegan. Nice. But now it’s bothering me and more and forcing me to cross foods and drinks off my OK list rather quickly. Not nice. (If my gallbladder was on Santa’s list, it would get a lump of coal for Christmas!)

I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just have the stupid thing taken out and be on my merry way, chocolate bar in hand (with a decaf latte in the other, followed by a popcorn chaser *sigh*). At first, I couldn’t get a surgeon to agree my symptoms warranted removal, then I finally got a GI doctor to refer me to a surgeon, but my symptoms went away,so I was advised to wait. Flash forward to today and me calling the GI doctor with a message that it’s time to get that referral! I’m nervous, but if I focus on the chocolate, I think, hope, know I’ll be OK!

My pain is your gain!

I couldn’t completely give up on the chocolate experience, so I payed a visit to my old friend, carob. Years and years ago, I gave up chocolate due to a caffeine sensitivity. (I still have it and shouldn’t eat chocolate even when my body isn’t rejecting it, but it’s just so darn good! My symptoms have lessened over the years, and I don’t eat much at any one time – mostly because of the calories.) During that time, I experimented with carob and had pretty good results.

As soon as I opened the canister of carob powder, my nose remembered the unforgettable scent. And then, after I tasted my new creation, my tongue remember the unmistakable tangy bitterness of the lovely carob fruit. (Did you know carob was a fruit?!) 

A little carob powder, a super ripe banana, some bottom of the jar peanut butter, and a secret ingredient later (psst…it’s beans!), this tasty, not too sweet/rich/tangy spread/fudge emerged.

Carob Peanut Butter Banana Butter/Fudge

1/2 c white beans

1/2 c peanut butter
1 very ripe banana

2 TBSP carob powder

4 pks stevia

pinch table salt

Puree beans. Puree banana. Heat peanut butter for easy spreading (30 seconds in microwave). Combine all three. Add carob powder, stevia, and a pinch of salt (if using natural PNB with no salt or sugar).

Store in refrigerator.

Click here for nutrition information.

I used chunky peanut butter; you can see the peanut pieces in this photo.

I planned about 4 servings of about 2 TBSP each. If you want to spread the mix into a dish and chill until a little more solid, I’m sure you could cut it into about 8 little squares.  I used my mix as a butter/spread on toast, on fruit, and on a spoon.

Bean & Lentil Veggie Burgers

When I made my Bean & Lentil Chili, I made enough lentils to make some veggie burgers. I’d been tossing around the idea of for a while, so when I finally got around to making them, I was pretty psyched – even though I hadn’t written down any of my ideas, so I had to wing it. Oooops!

This is what I came up with…

Bean & Lentil Veggie Burgers

3 c cooked beans (2 cans)
2 c cooked lentils (French, green or brown)
4 T soy sauce
1/4 c banana peppers
1/2 c tahini
1/2 c ea diced carrot, onion, celery, green pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven 350F

Saute carrots, celery, green pepper, onion, and garlic in a little bit of broth.

Puree beans in food processor. Add lentils, veggies, soy sauce, tahini, and banana peppers. Stir to combine. Mixture will be very wet.

Drop giant spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Form into patty shapes.

Bake 60+ minutes or until dry to the touch.

Makes 6 very large burgers. Freezes well.

Click here for nutrition information.

Bean & Lentil Veggie Burger (topped with banana peppers)

These burgers are a little dry. I think next time I make them I’d add a couple tablespoonfuls of nutritional yeast to help take away some of the pre-baking moisture. Of course, you could always use oats or quinoa flakes to help bind the ingredients.

 
While these were in the oven, I kept thinking about turning the mix into a “meat” loaf or even mini loaves.
 

Bean & Lentil Burgers Freeze Well!

Bean & Lentil Chili

Sundays are typically my cooking and baking days. I spend hours in the kitchen testing recipes and creating new ones – and washing an endless pile of dishes. But, after I’m done, I have enough food to get me through the week, except for breakfasts (smoothie, anyone?) and the occasional dinner or lunch I squeeze in on Monday or Tuesday, respectively.

Last Sunday, I had already prepped a bunch of veggies, made dip for the veggies (or salad dressing with a little thinning), two muffin batches, and some brownies, so I was on the fence about more cooking. I knew I had veggie burgers and a few different kinds of soup in the freeze (I love freezing left overs!), and coupled with the fresh veggies and some fruit, I knew work meals could easily be taken care of. But then we got company. We never  get company.

I can literally count on one hand the number of times we’ve had company in the year and a half I’ve lived here with Mr. M. And only one of those times, except for last Sunday, included my making food.

Anyway, back to our company. My mother-in-law stopped by on her way through the area while driving home from a traveling nursing gig she’d been doing in Montana for the past few months. (Before that, she’d been in Maine doing the same thing. Crazy!) We were happy to see her, of course; it had been over a year since either of us had seen her. She was a little surprised to see me – minus 60+ pounds. Apparently, I look a little different – ha ha.

To entice her to spend the night with us instead of staying in a hotel (like our company alone wasn’t enough – ha!), I went ahead and cooked dinner. So much for freezer meals all week 😉

I’d been tossing around an idea for bean and lentil veggie burgers, which I’ll share in another post, but I’d also been craving chili. That’s unusual. I never used to like chili. I used to pick out the beans and chunky tomatoes and leave everything else when we’d have it at home, and in later years, but before I became vegetarian, obviously, I used to occasionally like Wendy’s chili. I wanted a really thick chili with a lot of flavor but not a lot of heat (I don’t do heat, in case you haven’t noticed), so I thought about adding lentils to the beans and other goodies. And why not? I could make a big batch and use them twice. Score!

Bean & Lentil Chili

2 cans dark red kidney beans (about 3 cups), rinsed

2 cans mixed beans* (about 3 cups), rinsed

2 c cooked lentils (any variety except red will do – I used French or green)

1 giant jar mild or medium picante sauce or salsa (or 2 smaller jars)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes (about 1 cup)

1 c veggie broth

1 c diced onion

1 c diced carrot

1 c diced celery

1 c diced green bell pepper

4-5 cloves garlic, minced (or about 2 TBSP)

Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder/granulated garlic, Mrs. Dash chipotle lime (my new fav!), etc.

In a large soup pot, saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, celery in a little bit of veggie broth until tender. (I put the lid on the pot to help the softening.) You may want to add some seasonings here so the flavors have time to develop. Add beans, lentils, tomatoes, salsa and veggie broth. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover for thinner chili or leave uncovered for thicker chili. (You can also add broth to thin out your chili and make it more soup-like.) Season as you go until it’s just right. Serve once everything is heated through.

Makes 6 large servings (about two cups each)

Click here for nutrition information

* I used Kroger’s Private Select Organic Tri Bean mix, but you could use any bean or bean mix you like.

Bean & Lentil Chili

And, in case you’re wondering, this chili freezes (and thaws) really well!

Frozen Chili

No-Bake Pumpkin Custard

I haven’t felt very creative in the kitchen lately, but when I stopped to review all the recipes I’ve made in the past couple of week, I guess I have been!

Today, I made a no-bake pumpkin custard, but that’s not what I set out to make. I’m not sure exactly what I had in mind, but it had something to do with gingerbread. What I ended up with wasn’t exactly gingerbread; it was more like pumpkin pie filling, which is awesome because that’s the only part of pumpkin “pie” that I like.

Combine everything in a bowl

No Bake Pumpkin Custard

1/2 c white beans
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
4 pks stevia
2 TBPS maple syrup
1 TBSP chia seeds
1/4 c oat flour

1/4 c oats
1/4 almond meal

Puree beans until smooth. Add to bowl with remaining ingredients. Combine thoroughly. Spoon mixture into a glass baking dish and freeze or refrigerate. Mixture remains ‘loose’ and will probably have to be spooned out of container (unless frozen).

Serving Size: 4 large servings

Click here for nutrition information.

Pumpkin Custard Ready for the Fridge

I refrigerated my custard instead of freezing it, so it remained pretty “loose.” I don’t really know how else to describe it. It’s not “set;” it will probably have to be spooned out, but it could be shaped into a square or wedge shape if you’re concerned about that.

I think this filling would be awesome in a pie shell. I’d probably pop it in the freezer then so the pieces set enough to be taken out of the pie without falling apart.

You may also be able to bake the custard/pie filling/pie. I didn’t try that because I love the flavor of cold pumpkin pie filling (I’ve never liked pie crust).

I bet this would also be delicious with oatmeal, as the sandwich filling between two cookies or graham crackers, etc. It would probably also make a great smoothie filling and/or be great with a cold cereal.

Spoonable Pumpkin Custard

Recipe Review: 1 Minute Chocolate Cake

Apparently I’m craving chocolate cakey goodness this week.

I tried another one of Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipes tonight: One-Minute Chocolate Cake. Wowza. I’ve seen microwave cakes all over the web for years, but I’d never tried one because I just couldn’t picture the thing actually rising and cooking in such a short time. Guess what. It did. Both!

Click here for Katie’s original recipe.

I went ahead and made two servings of one-minute chocolate cake. The amount of ingredients seemed really small, but one cake would have been plenty! I couldn’t even finish the second one, and I love me some cake.

The first cake I made fat-free, but I added a tablespoon of chocolate chips to the top before I cooked it. I also used whole wheat flour, applesauce instead of oil, unsweetened chocolate almond milk, and two tablespoons of sugar. Roughly. I kind of winged the ingredients. The only measuring utensil I used was a regular tablespoon, so for those of you who like to bake because of the measuring, this recipe is fail proof. As long as you’re in the ballpark, you’re golden.

Fat Free One Minute Chocolate Cake

I cooked the fat-free cake for 50 seconds on hight in the microwave, and it was the perfect doneness.

The second cake I made with coconut oil like the recipe calls for. I went ahead and used the whole wheat flour again and two tablespoons of sugar. For the non-dairy milk, I used French vanilla creamer. This batter was a little dry, so I ended up adding 1-2 more tablespoons of creamer. I cooked this cake for 50 seconds on hight also, but it wasn’t quite done, so I’d suggest 60 seconds for that one.

One Minute Chocolate Cake with Coconut Oil & Coconut Meal

When it came out of the microwave, I added some coconut meal because my coconut butter was frozen. (Is it supposed to be stored in the fridge?!) The coconut added a nice little punch of flavor.

These cakes were so rich, I had a nice, cold glass of chocolate almond milk mixed with French vanilla creamer to wash down the chocolately goodness.

French Vanilla Chocolate Almond Milk

These cakes are great go-tos when you’re short on time. And they’re a pretty decent size for a treat. I haven’t built any of the NI yet, but when I do, I’ll share. The nutrition information. Not my cakes.

Recipe Review: Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Brownies

I really need to remember to take pictures of my food. I’m a bad food blogger. By now, photography my treats should be second nature. But it’s not. So I apologize.

Over the weekend, I went on a bit of a baking spree, and although I didn’t get  to make everything I wanted, I did have a chance to try another recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie, and, as usual, it was awesome!

Click here for the original Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Brownie recipe.

I made a few changes, including subbing the wheat flour for oat (home-made with gluten-free oats, so the recipe was gluten-free), reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup, adding 4 pkts of stevia, and replacing the oil with equal parts pumpkin (so the total pumpkin amount was 7 TBSP, or just shy of a cup). I also used a heaping 1/4 c coca and French vanilla soy creamer for the non-dairy milk. (And I may have added a few more chocolate chips, but who’s counting?!) I baked my brownies in a pretty small pan, so they were kind of thick, and they took about 10 minutes extra to cook (probably due more to the oat flour than the size of my pan). I was able to hold out for the suggested hour and a half, and it was worth the wait. They were awesome! VERY rich and gooey – perfect brownie, in my opinion. If you like a more dense, chewy brownie, you might want to try Angela’s recipe (but be prepared for the full fat/full sugar nutrition numbers – which are well worth it!).

I cut my brownies into about 22 one inch square pieces, and they came out to be about 50 calories each. Click here for nutrition information.

I took the rest of the brownies to work the next day, and they were a huge hit. I think they were gone before lunch!

I also tried making avocado chocolate pudding/frosting, and it didn’t turn out very well. I didn’t really follow a recipe; I just looked online for some ideas and kind of winged it. I think I should have picked a recipe and followed it.

Notcho Average Nachos!

I made something tonight I haven’t made in a really long time – nachos!

I made chips by baking some organic corn tortilla chips I had in the freezer. (Cut tortillas into triangles and bake on 350 for about 10 minutes.) I made pico (diced tomato, onion and cilantro with a squeeze of lemon juice), chunky guac (two smashed avocados, diced onion, tomato, granulated garlic, salt, lemon juice, and a few sprinkles of chipotle lime Mrs. Dash), and cashew sour cream.

Cashew Sour Cream

1/2 c soaked cashews (soaked at least 2 hours)

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp apple cidar vinegar

5-7 TBSP water

Blend cashews, lemon juice, ACV, and water in high-powered blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet.) until smooth, adding water 1 TBSP at a time until desired consistency is reached.

I ended up adding quite a bit of water and the juice of basically a whole lemon, plus a dash of salt. I was really impressed with the results. I haven’t been overly pleased with the cashew based items I’ve made because I find the cashew flavor odd (even though I love cashews – well, roasted and salted cashews anyway).

I think this original recipe is Ani Phyo’s, but I found it the taste space.

Aside from some shredded lettuce, green and black olives, tomatoes, onions, and fat-free refried beans (Yes; they’re from a can, but they’re so easy and good!), my final nachos ingredient was Quick Queso Sauce (p. 263) from The Happy Herbivore cookbook. This is the first recipe I’ve made from this cookbook, and it was a huge hit! I was literally excited to have a tasty, fat-free, soy free, and gluten-free (I made the sauce with home-made gluten-free oat flour) cheeze to add to my nachos. It made them so much more authentic!  

Healthy Nachos. Can you belive it?!

Overall, I was really, really pleased with the results of my nacho plate. It definitely made enough for two, and even though I thought I could eat my way through the entire plate by myself, I wasn’t able to. I love when that happens! I put the rest in the fridge to turn into a taco salad tomorrow for quick lunch.

 
If you would have asked me even a year ago if I could make delicious, heart healthy nachos with all of my favorite toppings and be stuffed from half a plate, I would have had serious doubts. Doubt no more, people. It can be done!