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Monday Meals: Hearty Vegan Kale and Suasage Soup

We’re thinking of adding Diana (“D”) on as a full-time writer to our blog since her Monday Meals are SO yummy . . . and healthy to boot!  (Plus she’s quite the little thrift-fashionista and I promise once I get back to Portland I’ll prove it to you guys by forcing asking her nicely to be featured one week).

delicious, hearty, and vegan!

Here’s something quick and hearty, an easy solution when I feel like a home-made lunch but don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes. It’s one of my favorite things to do with kale, too. It was originally adapted from some food network recipe (www.foodtv.com) but it’s been modified enough at this point that I can’t remember which one it was.

Hearty Vegan Kale and Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 veggie sausage (something spicy is best, I recommend Tofurky Italian sausage. I suppose you could do real sausage if you’re a meat-eater)
a few tablespoons oil
2-3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your desired spice level)
1-2 tablespoons salt (less if you can stand to be that healthy like Ashley!)
1/2 bag or ~4 cups uncooked kale
1 can white/cannelini beans
3 cups vegetable stock

  • Sautee the onion and the sausage in a large saucepan at medium heat in a few tablespoons of oil until the onions are well carmelized and the veggie sausage is good and brown (this helps the texture).

you want well carmelized onions and browned sausage to start

  • Add in the spices and salt and toss the onion/sausage mix, then add in the kale and mix well.
  •  Cover and sautee at medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale has turned bright green and wilted/softened so that it is about half its original volume.

wilted kale ready to become soup!

  • Next, pour half of the contents of a can of white beans into the pot, then mash the other half in the can to make a bean paste. Add this paste to the pot as well – this will make the broth thick and hearty!
  • Then add 3 cups of vegetable stock, plus 1-2 cups of water, stir and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 10 minutes (longer would make the kale even softer, but I can never wait that long to dig in!). Serve hot, ideally with crusty bread for dipping.

Makes 4-6 servings. I don’t have tips for freezing this one because even these big batches get eaten within 2 days in this house!

Enjoy!
D

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Monday Meals: Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Perfect for birthday breakfasts! Perfect for ANY breakfast!

OK so this is what we SHOULD have done for Dee’s birthday.  The Plan was to fill her room with balloons while she slept so she woke up to a surprise and then finish the morning with chocolate chip pancakes but . . . Hong Kong happened!

So Saturday we threw the “party” I had planned for no reason, and you know what?  I think it was better that way – just a nice surprise for the weekend! So without further ado, here’s my recipe for healthy semi-healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular flour)
  • 1/3 cup oats (I actually used one a pack of brown sugar oatmeal and left the next two ingredient out)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and optional 3 drops almond extract
  • brown sugar or stevia, if desired
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder (and optional: pinch baking soda for flavor)
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup w milk (or water or maybe even juice, if you wish)
  • chocolate chips galore!

Steps

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients. (This can be done days in advance.)
  2. Put liquid ingredients into dry, then stir.
  3. Cook on medium-low, flipping 1/2-way through.
  4. Top with grated chocolate or chocolate syrup sauce.

Optional:

5.  Add a toddler and a room full of balloons and you’ve got yourself one happy little camper!

Had to test the waters first but then she dove right in!!

Fun times with a room full of balloons!

meg

Monday Meals: Harvest Veggie & Quinoa Patty Salad

I don’t know if I could ever top Diana’s Lifesave Smoothies Meg posted last week!  Soooo good, but here’s a little something, something I’ve been into lately . . .

Serves 4-6 people:

Quinoa Patty & Roasted Harvest Veggie Salads

I like making the patties this way cause you incorporate a little egg and some cheese for a pretty wholesome, full of protein main course.  I use herbs to give them extra flavor because I typically go completely without extra salt and pepper.  I’ve found that Jax loves the Quinoa this way.  I do the three parts: prepping the salad, the veggies, and the Quinoa all in tandem.    I typically buy most of my stuff at Trader Joe’s.  They have really good prices for organic produce, especially the sweet potatoes and baby tomatoes.

Start by prepping the veggies:

Preheat oven to 350.

Dice 2-3 sweet potatoes, toss them in a little olive oil, and add about 1/2 a tsp of cinamon.  Then toss them on a pan and roast them in the oven for about 15-30 mins till tender.

Dice zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots and toss them with olive oil.  Then toss on a pan and roast for about 15 mins till tender.

Once those are cooked and tender, pull out and set aside.

To make the Quinoa (yields about 10 medium sized patties):

Follow the directions on your bag of quinoa.  Typically it’s a ration of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of water, simmered for 12-20 minutes.  However, I add about 1/2 a cup extra of water, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool then place it in a bowl (or if it’s cooled completely and the pan is not hot use that), and add the following:

  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I usually use the Mexican style shredded cheese that comes in the bag already shredded)
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley
  • dash of salt, dash of pepper (I go really light on these cause of Jax and I’m definitely the healthier – especially with the salt)
  • 1tsp of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder

Mix it all together.  Meanwhile, add about a tablespoon of butter to hot skillet.  Grab a handful of the Quinoa mix and make a patty (this is kind of awkward.  I try to mold it in my hand a little, but then shape it in the pan immediately after I drop it in).  Cook each side ’til golden brown on medium-low heat.

Dice when slightly cooled.

Rinse and lightly chop some spinach – about 4-6 cups.

To Plate:

Put the spinach in a bowl, throw some of the Quinoa and roasted veggies on top, and serve with balsamic vinegar (I also like using Apple Cider vinegar) and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste if you’d like, since it’s very lightly seasoned for Jax!

FOR YOUR WEE ONE: dice the Quinoa, and plate some of the sweet potato and veggies (such as the zucchini).  Good for 9 months and up (from my experience).

Hope you like it!  Feel free to make substitutions as needed.  These were just my solutions.  If you have any feedback or good suggestions feel free to leave us a comment!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Diana’s Lifesaver Smoothies

Today’s Monday Meals comes to you via one of my best friends in Portland, Diana, or as I like to call her D (Yes there are lots of Ds in my life).  It couldn’t have come at a better time because Nate left for China and Dee and I are flying solo.  The first day did.not.go.great. So I didn’t really have time for a Monday Meals post. Dun-du-da-duuuuuhhhnnnn *super hero song*. In flies D and her fabulousness!

From D:

Kid or not, I like to use the strong flavor of berries to overpower the flavor of healthier things I may not eat otherwise. By adding a small smoothie to whatever I’m eating most days I at least feel that I’ve covered my nutritional bases.

Hidden healthy quick smoothie recipe

Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen berries
– 2 peeled fresh bananas (frozen works, but you’ll need to add more liquid to compensate)
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/2 cup orange juice, plus extra if needed to blend
then hidden goodness ingredients . . .
– 1/2 cup chopped carrots
– 1 cup kale, steamed (don’t skip the steaming! microwaving the kale with a few tablespoons of water in a loosely covered bowl for 1 minute will cut down the bitterness of the kale and hide it much better!)
– this is a great place to use up little extra bits of sweet or green veggies from the fridge or freezer (think peas, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini) – just make sure to steam potentially bitter veggies first. Adding more than 1/2 a cup of any extra veggie might start to affect the flavor, though, and of course no veggies that have been cooked with oils or seasonings!

A warning to vegans/lactose intolerants – I would not recommend adding tofu, it does unfortunate things to the texture! I would try vegan soy-yogurt, coconut milk, or even some white canellini beans to add a protein punch and get that creamy consistency.


Seems easy enough, and we all know smoothies are healthy, but the biggest problem with making them is that nobody wants to break out the blender every day. Fortunately one of my wise friends taught me the best trick for smoothies (and everything ever made in liquid batches) – an ice tray.

Pour everything you don’t want to drink right away into empty ice trays and freeze, then throw all of the smoothie cubes into a ziploc to use the rest of the week. Then every time you want a quick snack you can throw 5-6 cubes in a cup, microwave for 30 seconds and mash with a fork to get back to smoothie consistency. So easy! This recipe makes enough for one small smoothie plus about 3 ice trays.

Thanks D!  Let’s hope there’s many more where that came from :)

Also, these are great ways to get veggies into your kiddos too.  Dee never realizes she’s eating spinach, kale, or other great green veggies that she’s hesitant to eat on its own.

meg

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