Tuesday, February 19, 2013

butternut squash soup (vegan and gluten-free)

a couple weeks ago I decided I was in the mood for some butternut squash soup. I ended up buying way too much squash haha so I ended up making two batches of soup, one in the crock pot and one on the stove. Both were good, but the one on the stove was my favorite.

Here is the recipe for the soup on the stove: click (main ingredients: pears, onions, broth and squash)
Here is the crock pot recipe: click (main ingredients: apple, onion, squash, broth)

  1. Buy your butternut squash from a local farmer's market, or I've heard you can find pre-chopped and frozen butternut squash at trader joe's or Walmart.
  2. You need a good amount of vegetable broth (especially if you're making two batches). Look at my previous post on how to make your own in a crock pot for cheap!
  3. The most time in these recipes comes from chopping up the various vegetables but especially the squash-it is HARD to cut
    1. If you have a food processor you can use this to chop up the onions etc
    2. If you have a boyfriend/husband you can use this to chop up the butternut squash
    3. Here is a quick how to for peeling and chopping the butternut squash: click. I thought their idea of putting it in the microwave beforehand to soften sounded great. 
  4. Butternut squash soup freezes great so if you have extra squash I suggest doing what I did and making two batches. It may seem ridiculous but you'll thank yourself later when your fridge is empty and you remember you have delicious soup in the freezer!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Paleo Lasagna (gluten/grain, egg, and dairy free)

      So I am really excited to share this recipe with you because although I drew inspiration from a couple cookbooks and recipes online, this recipe is my first 100% original recipe :)
     When I first gave up milk I was so sad to think about all the cheese ravioli and lasagna I would never eat again. Pasta dishes and pizza tempted me in my dreams. Two nights ago I decided to make the cauliflower pizza (the recipe is on my blog) with dairy-free Daiya cheese. This cheese is sworn to be a miracle by vegans and dairy-free people everywhere because it actually "tastes and melts like real cheese". Liars. It was disgusting in its melted form. It had the worst slimy, gooey, stick consistency I've ever experienced. It ruined the whole pizza :( Even my very non-picky boyfriend said it was gross. I'm not swearing off Daiya forever, I will probably try it again in a smaller amount, but the whole experience made me so sad; the one sliver of hope in my cheeseless world had vanished in a gooey sticky mass that I could barely swallow.
   However! Last night redeemed my faith! I am a dairy-free cheese believer again thanks to Kris Carr. If you've never heard of her or her "Crazy Sexy" books, documentary, tv appearances etc I highly suggest you get on it. Her books are hilarious and full of sexual innuendos but also full of awesome healthy tips, recipes and lifestyle advice. While flipping through her book Crazy Sexy Kitchen last night I found a recipe for Cashew Pine-Nut Ricotta Cheese that she uses in her raw lasagna. The recipe I have posted is very similar to hers and I highly suggest you buy her book Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Thinking I had nothing to lose I decided to make some of my own and make a lasagna with it (not her raw one because, no offense, but if I'm making lasagna it's going to be full of a delicious red meat sauce). We had some zucchini in the fridge so I used those for the noodles for a healthy grain-free version! Enjoy!

Cashew Pine-Nut Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup raw cashews (buy in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp of parsley (minced or powder)
  • 2 tbsp minced basil ( I used fresh but you could substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup of water
  1. Soak cashews for 1-2 hrs in hot water to soften
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor (if using a blender add cashews in small amounts and blend as you go). Blend until smooth.
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • 3 Roma tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz jar pasta sauce (I used Prego Traditional)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1.  Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat saute onions, garlic, and beef until beef is cooked through. Drain the grease from the pan. 
  3. Add oregano, salt, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce and balsamic vinegar to sauce pan. Stir and let simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes while you do the next few steps
  4. Chop each zucchini in half then slice zucchini lengthwise about 1/4" thick (I have an awesome slicer thing that helps me do this, if you don't and lengthwise is too much of a pain, you can slice it in 1/4" thick circles instead)
  5. In large lasagna or casserole dish start layering: zucchini slices on bottom, then tomatoes, then meat/tomato sauce mixture, another layer of zucchini then meat/tomato sauce mixture. If you have any tomato slices left put them on the very top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes
  7. (optional: Mine turned out a little soupy on top so I turned the broiler on high and let it cook for 3 minutes just to make the top look more "finished")
  8. Once out of the oven spread the Vegan Ricotta cheese over the top (it's not going to look perfect so don't try haha)
  9. Enjoy! (keep in mind this lasagna is going to look messy but taste delicious!)

*Another option for this recipe that I want to eventually try is a layer of the Vegan ricotta cheese in the middle, but I wasn't sure how this would work out with the heat because Kris Carr uses hers with her Raw Lasagna recipe*

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Chips

This is another recipe that I used my dehydrator for and I'm sorry because I know not every normal 20 something year old has a dehydrator and I originally made this blog for people my age who were not huge cooks, so I apologize. But! you can do this in the oven. here's a good recipe: apple chips in oven. Apple chips are a great snack and they curb that potato chip craving. I also dehydrated strawberries (just slice, no pre-treating necessary) but an entire lb of fresh berries made 1/4 jar of dehydrated slices and the taste and texture was not appetizing plus they took FOREVER to slice up. I suggest just eating your berries fresh.


Apple Chips
  • 4-5 apples (or more if you have a bigger dehydrator, I used gala apples)
  • Cinnamon
  • apples in my steamer
  • (optional: lemon juice)
  1. Core and slice apples in fairly uniform thickness (Mine were about 1/4" thick). I didn't peel my apples because I like the crunchy peel but you can if you want.
  2. Pre-treat apples (this can be done a couple ways and helps preserve flavor and color)
    1. Steam- this is what I did. I just threw them in my steamer basket for 5 minutes.
    2. Lemon juice- Put them in a mixture of 4 cups of water + 2tbsp lemon juice for a couple minutes
  3. Use a paper towel to blot them dry then load them onto dehydrator trays
  4. Sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top of the slices
  5. Dehydrate until done. I would give a time but it all depends on your dehydrator. Mine does it in about 7 hours. To check if they're done they should break when you bend them sharply. Also if you tear the fruit you shouldn't see any moisture in the part of the fruit that's torn. Another way to check is to put a few warm slices in a ziploc bag squeeze out most of the air and wait a couple minutes to see if condensation forms. If it does they need more time in the dehydrator.
  6. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place (I use Mason Jars or recycled pasta sauce jars)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts

    So this whole week I've been on set so I haven't had much time to blog or cook (the week before I made some chicken chili in the crock pot and it was good but literally  I was just cleaning out my pantry because I was too broke to go buy more groceries haha so I didn't think that was blog worthy. 
      However! I do want to pass on an awesome go-to recipe that I use a lot and it's so easy but it tastes delicious! Brussell Sprouts! Again some people love them some people hate them, I used to only like them in those frozen microwaveable packages smothered in cheese sauce (but then again I would eat dirt if it was smothered in cheese sauce) but I had some in the fridge a while back (this is a plus of my boyfriend working on the Paula Deen show- he always brings back TONS of food) and decided to roast them in the oven. After a quick seach on the food network website I found this recipe. So simple, so easy, virtually no ingredients but delicious! The only thing I don't like is waiting 40 minutes for them to cook haha :) Enjoy!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
(there's even a how-to video posted which is kind of funny since this is so easy)
Photo from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook