Meatless Monday: Field Greens with Pear Vinaigrette

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Explaining to people what a “food blogger” is (does?) can be…awkward? Complicated? I’m not really sure, but I always get tongue-tied with my response. How do you explain, “I make food, take pictures of it, and post it online,” and make it sound…cool. Because let’s face it, food blogging is totally cool in every way.

What’s even more awkward is when food bloggers all get together and take photos of food. In crowded public places. At least then there’s power in numbers and the awkwardness is diminished. But, I digress from where I was going with this whole food blogger thing…

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I made the big mistake of getting Mr. Prevention the Xbox One he wanted for Christmas. My basement has quite literally turned into a man cave and I see him much less than I used to. I look over to his Lay-Z Boy expecting to see him, but then I hear him in the basement…swearing or making weird comments at the video game.

Saturday, I heard him talking…to someone. “How do you do that move, dawg?” (I’m so not kidding. This 33-year-old man turns into a 12-year-old with a game controller in hand.) Then I heard more of the one-sided conversation and totally confused, I went to the basement. The Man Cave, I mean.

There was Mr. Prevention, with his headset on…talking to his opponent, a 28-year-old who lives in LA. I didn’t believe him, so he handed over the headset and then began my conversation with the guy as he continued kicking Mr. Prevention’s tush in the NBA game.

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The (nameless) guy asked if I was on Instagram and he followed me (Yes, I know his handle but not his name.). He questioned, “How do you have so many followers?” I then tried explaining the food blog, rather unsuccessfully because he couldn’t quite figure it all out. In the end, he understood that I make food, photograph food, and people come to my site for recipes. Mostly healthy recipes, to which he replied, “Yeah, I hate vegetables.”

The conversation didn’t last much longer, but this recipe reminds me of the very humorous conversation with the nameless guy I met over Xbox One on Saturday who I now follow on Instagram. Technology…what can I say? He may appreciate that this salad is not only full of veggies, but also lots of fruit. Mmmmm.

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4.0 from 1 reviews
Field Greens with Pear Vinaigrette
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
Vinaigrette:
  • ½ Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
Salad:
  • 5 oz field greens
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup walnut halves
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. In a blender or small food prep/food processor, puree the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients and drizzle with the vinaigrette; toss well and serve immediately.
Notes
Vinaigrette in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to a week.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe, including vinaigrette Calories: 350 Fat: 26.0 Carbohydrates: 28.8 Sugar: 18.8 Sodium: 179 Fiber: 5.0 Protein: 3.0 Cholesterol: 0

 There looks to be no crazy winter weather or anything to keep this from being a full 5-day work week. DARN IT! ;)

Be well,

sig4

4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #10 – Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

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This is it. The 10th and final chili recipe of my 4th Annual Chili Contest! And yes, I still love chili. This year’s contest was a huge success and I’m not looking forward to having to choose just one best chili.

I had intended for the chili contest to end along with the Illini football season but seeing as the post-season was a no-go for our oh-so-pathetic football team, the contest wrapped up in the start of college basketball season. Which, by the way, is going much more smoothly for my beloved Illini. The basketball games are bit more enjoyable to watch when winning is actually a possibility ;)

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With temps of -12 degrees and the measuring of snow in FEET rather than inches…it’s chili kind of weather out there (in many parts of the US, anyways). Schools are already closed for tomorrow and if a plow doesn’t come down my street in the next hour or so, I may have major difficulties getting to work this morning. Spring, please come early. Pleeeeeeeease.

Not only is it chili weather, but with so many people focused on health and wellness, this chili really couldn’t get any healthier.

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Packed with fiber and low in fat, this chili is also vegan and gluten-free. Dried beans take a bit of forethought, but the results cannot be replicated with canned goods. With a bit more texture than canned beans, dried beans are also incredibly low cost.

Don’t be put off by the 2 hour simmering time of the black beans. This chili reheats beautifully for a quick weeknight meal that would pair perfectly with a salad or a crusty piece of sourdough bread. Yum!

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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This gluten-free, vegan chili is beyond healthy and full of flavor!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb uncooked dried black beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Soak beans in 2-3 quarts of water overnight (at least 8-10 hours) at room temperature. Drain soaking liquid and transfer beans to a large pot. Add 6 cups water and bay leaf, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, partially covered.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are tender. Add tomatoes with juice to skillet. Add jalapenos, chili powder, salt, paprika, oregano, cocoa powder, cumin and cinnamon. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomato mixture to the beans. Stir in vinegar. Continue simmering another 30 minutes or until beans are very tender and chili has thickened slightly. Discard bay leaf.
Notes
Recipe submitted by Judy P-H.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1⅓ cups Calories: 206 Fat: 2.7 Carbohydrates: 40.5 Sugar: 5.7 Sodium: 596 Fiber: 9.8 Protein: 10.5 Cholesterol: 0

 STAY WARM! DRIVE SAFE!

Be well,

sig4

Recipe Repeat & Meatless Monday: Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans

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We went out for create-your-own stir fry followed by a create-your-own yogurt creation on Saturday night with our friend and her 4-year-old. Other than coloring Care Bears with her, it was fun to see her create her masterpieces to eat.

Before we got up from the table to create our stir fry, she was encouraged by her mom, “Let’s make healthy choices, okay!”

She returned with nothing green in her bowl and nothing in sight other than meat, noodles, rice, and the roti bread the serve the stir fry with. She was in carb with a little red meat heaven — her favorite.

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As we were getting up to leave dinner and head down the street to the yogurt shop, I offered a piece of broccoli from my dinner so she could earn her yogurt dessert. She ran the broccoli through her teeth, removing hardly any of the “leaves” and allowing most of the broccoli floret to crumble onto the table beneath. It was cute.

She claimed the broccoli was spicy. After Mr. Prevention reheated the leftovers yesterday…that may very well have been true (to a 4-year-old), though I certainly didn’t think so at the time. Hearsay, children and dogs are more sensitive to both temperature and heat.

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The same would hold true for adapting a recipe like this one. I used 2 jalapenos – seeds and all. And while I don’t think I like things overly spicy, my cooking class attendees would say otherwise. So, adapt this one to suit your heat preferences.

Outside of the jalapenos, this recipe is a complete no-brainer. And that is not a typo…these beans cook on HIGH for 10 hours. This is the kind of recipe the working woman loves to see. Ten hours on high is the perfect crock pot recipe to not have to worry about while you’re away all day long….hence the reason it is reappearing on the blog. This super healthy, gluten-free, vegan refried bean recipe is a real keeper. Do try them and see for yourself! While it makes a lot, the leftovers freeze beautifully!

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Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on HIGH for ~10 hours.
  2. If there is quite a bit of liquid remaining, use a ladle to remove some of the liquid to reserve. Using an immersion blender, blend smooth or semi-smooth to desired consistency, adding back the liquid as needed.
  3. Note: I removed no liquid and had somewhat thin beans, which is how we prefer them. This will vary from crock pot to crock pot, however. The second time, I made the beans in a larger crock pot and added some water to the beans, in addition to the 8 cups of water/broth...worked great!
Notes
Recipe adapted from Queen Bee Coupons
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 79 Fat: 0.06 Carbohydrates: 17.5 Sugar: 2.0 Sodium: 259 Fiber: 4.4 Protein: 5.6 Cholesterol: 0

 I missed hockey on account of all the crazy weather in the midwest yesterday and so it’s off to the gym this morning! Have a good week :)

Be well,

sig4

Meatless Monday: Vegan Pumpkin-Coconut Muffins

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Most recently, I’ve had coconut in the form of a pina colada. A REAL pina colada made with REAL coconut and REAL pineapple. I splurged and had one while in Mexico. I enjoyed every last sip of the calorie-packed cocktail. It was glorious. As someone who rarely consumes cocktails, a pina colada while on a beach vacation is an absolute must.

And as a lover of all things coconut, I’m convinced that it is an ingredient that belongs in sweet and savory dishes alike.

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New Ambrosia with Buttermilk-Coconut Dressing. Salad dressing…coconut.

Blueberry Coconut Bread. Blueberries and coconut are made for one another – fact. I learned that after making Vegan Blueberry-Coconut Muffins.

Coconut and Fruit Cold Oat Breakfast Salad. A cold oat breakfast can only be made good with coconut.

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers – proof that coconut and savory totally work. And Thai Shrimp Soup with Lemon and Jalapenos in case you prefer more sophisticated dishes .

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While this not-so-lovely, cold, Michigan-in-November Monday does not have a pina colada in my future (not even a Skinny Pina Colada), I will be grabbing ones of these muffins from the freezer as I dash out the door for what promises to be a very busy day.

Wait, no. Not just a very busy day but an insanely busy week.

Perhaps I should grab TWO muffins for the road.

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Vegan Pumpkin-Coconut Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line muffin pans with 15 liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling about ⅔rds full. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an air-tight containers for 3-4 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin Calories: 177 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 22.1 Sugar: 7.5 Sodium: 214 Fiber: 4.1 Protein: 2.1 Cholesterol: 0

 Monday blues. :(

Be well,

sig4

4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #6 – 3 Bean Sweet Potato Chili + Weekly Menu

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I’m slowly transitioning back into reality. I’ve been MIA the past few days because we took a short vacation back to Cabo San Lucas. Same resort, same wonderful experience. Except this time, I wore sunscreen and I’m not coming back a bright red, painful mess. I learned my lesson once — the hard way, the very hard way. Michigan sun is not the same as the Mexican sun. I mean it is, but not really…you know what I mean.

Mr. Prevention snapped me back to reality as we were heading to the airport to head home when he said, “Yep, we’re leaving 85 and sunny for 5 months of frigid cold and snow.” I must remember to remind myself that Michigan summers are worth enduring the winters for.

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I’m trying to think of the best thing I ate this week, but it’s tough. There’s nothing that passed my lips this week that I didn’t like. Herein lies a problem – I’m such a foodie. I do think that fish tacos, banana ice cream, and real quesadillas and refried beans top the list, however.

But honestly, there’s nothing better than a strawberry margarita, a great book, a stunning view, and the sun warming you from the inside out. It’s probably not surprising to share that I blew the resort a kiss from our oceanview room as I stood oh-so-sad reminiscing over the short stay before heading to the lobby to checkout. I had a moment.

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I did workout — 2 of the 3 days we were vacationing and not traveling. I’ll call that a victory.

It never fails, though. As good as vacation is — and as glorious as it is to just enjoy the finer things of life…in slight excess for a few days — I’m always anxious to return to healthy cooking. And my bed. And Lily. Of course, Lily.

Whether you’re reintroducing lots of veggies and fiber into your diet after a vacation like me, or you’re looking for a super healthy, vegan chili recipe…this one is for you. It tops the charts when it comes to good-for-you food. Just what I need!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
3 Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ¾ Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes or until softened slightly. Add potatoes and cook an additional 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika; saute an additional 30 seconds. Add the veggie stock and all the beans and tomatoes; cook 5-10 minutes. Add corn, pepper, and salt, and cook an additional 20-30 minutes.
Notes
Recipe from and submitted by My Whole Food Life
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 218 Fat: 2.4 Carbohydrates: 42.1 Sugar: 9.2 Sodium: 312 Fiber: 11.2 Protein: 10.1 Cholesterol: 0

 Weekly Menu: November 10th – 14th

Back to reality. :(

Be well,

sig4