A very green dinner

Tonight for dinner, I had a felafel patty, carrots and celery with Kimberly Snyder’s zucchini-based “hummus” and some Emerald kale salad.

Now I have some homemade crackers in the oven.

This might be the most excited I’ve been about recipes in a while. Recipes to be posted by the end of the week.

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{made}

I like to buy myself a gift for my birthday. Last year I decided that what ever I buy as a gift for myself that it has to do good for someone else; I bought myself a pair of Toms shoes.

This year I decided to get a little more personal and to support {made}. {Made} is an incredible group or artists(many from my hometown) that make eco-conscious goods by hand. Many of them re-purposed from other things, with the message of give.receive.repeat.  Their pieces are absolutely brilliant.

I treated myself to a new pair of earrings and a new rolling-pin made from wood grown on the land of the artist. More than just getting to look at the cool products on their page, there are profiles about each of the artists. You get to see who {made} the things you get. Not a nameless, faceless machine in a faraway country. And if there is one thing that my artist boyfriend has taught me, if you are going to buy art, do it in the way that most benefits the artist.

Maybe you don’t live somewhere that {made} goods are sold. You can shop online or they are doing a cross-country tour this summer. And they have a blog full of great and entertaining reads connected to their website.

Glowing green smoothie

I’ve read The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder and thought some of her concepts are interesting and informative. I’m a fan of green smoothies and juices and am excited to try the Glowing Green Smoothie. Or the #GGS if you have seen it hash tagged on Twitter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 -2 cups very cold, filtered water
  • 6 cups organic spinach, chopped
  • 5 cups organic romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 stalks organic celery
  • 1 organic apple
  • 1 organic pear
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1-2 tablespoon organic lemon juice

Start by adding water, spinach and lettuce to your blender and blend on low until smooth.

Then add in celery, apple and pear. Blend on medium until smooth. Add in banana and lemon juice, blend on high until smooth.

Kimberly recommends drinking this for breakfast daily, along with following the rest of her plan.

The fruit makes it sweet enough to hide all the great veggies that you are taking in and unlike juicing, you are getting in a lot of fiber.

Wabi sabi

That’s how I feel like my life is right now.Wabi sabi.

There a lots of definitions for the term, some more spiritual, some more geared towards the arts. I just like to look at it that there is beauty in imperfection and that all things are always in flux.

Why a post like this? Well, I’m having a birthday this week. My 31st birthday. So, it’s time for me to look back and examine my life. If you would have told my 21-year-old self that this would be my life at 31, I would have laughed in your face.

However, I am very glad that this is my life at this moment. I am probably the healthiest that I have ever have been in my life. I eat very little processed food and exercise regularly. It’s not perfect, but I’m still working on it and educating my self more.

In the past year, I traded my high stress job for a less stressful job(with a smaller paycheck) that has better hours, a more positive work environment and has given me my life(and weekends) back.

I appreciate my family more than I ever have and love spending time with them. I greatly look forward to trips home and when they come to visit me. And to top it all off, I have an amazingly supportive boyfriend.

Everyday I try to be a better, kinder, healthier, more knowledgeable and less-selfish person. I know I am a work in progress. I know I will stumble sometimes and will try to be less hard on myself…and others.

But, right now my life is perfectly imperfect.

Wabi sabi.

Grass-fed meatballs

There is something amazing about meatball sandwiches. So amazing.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never made meatballs before(I made taco meatballs, but they don’t count). I grew up not liking meatballs. So, as an adult, I would occasionally get a meatball sandwich at a deli or buy pre-made meatballs at the store and cook them for a meatball sandwich at home. But that’s all fake.

So, I decided to put my big girl pants on and make meatballs. Who knew they were so easy(recipe adapted)? What was I afraid of all this time?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons A1 steak sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Put all ingredients into a big bowl and combine with hands until just mixed. The original recipe did not call for onion, but I added it in as I didn’t want the grass-fed beef to get dry.

Roll into golf ball sized balls. Place on a baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes until no longer pink.

Eat plain, on top of spaghetti, or in a sandwich or wrap.

I made a sandwich for Brian and brown rice tortilla wrap for me. Unfortunately, we only had a loaf of bread at home, so Brian’s wasn’t on a giant hunk of crusty bread that would be so good. I did add a little earth balance, garlic bread sprinkle, and soy mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to the bread and tortilla first and broiled for a few minutes to up the delicious factor.

Peanut butter banana muffins with flax and chia

Brian started a new job this week that involves a decent commute. It also sounded like a good reason for me to bake. Wouldn’t I be girlfriend of the year if I made muffins for him to eat on the train to work?

I ran across this recipe and knew that I could make it a little healthier. Oh man, these are good. Even though I have been cutting gluten out of my diet, I have been eating these muffins. They are just too good to pass up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats(not instant)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and the cinnamon.

In another bowl combine mashed bananas, water, peanut butter, egg, oil, flax, chia seeds and vanilla; mix well. 

Add this to the dry mixture. Stir until just combined, making sure not over mix.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This recipe made 18 muffins.

Also excellent eaten for dessert, topped with coconut butter.


Lentil burgers

These might be the biggest flop in my quest for the perfect veggie burger. The flavor is good, but they are in crumbles in a bowl in my refrigerator right now(and that might be my fault). I will probably use them to top a salad.

Recipe adapted.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats(or bread crumbs, if not GF)

Place lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone. Transfer to a bowl, add vinegar, and mash well.

While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet. Saute onion for about 7 minutes. Add remainder of ingredients, excepted oats and saute about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add sautéed mixture to the lentils and oats. Mix to combine.

Chill for about an hour before forming patties. This is where I messed up. I put the mixture in the refrigerator and did get around to making the patties until the next day. I think the mixture dried out a little too much.

Turn on broiler in oven.

Form into 4 inch patties. Even though I packed them tightly, I knew that they were going to fall apart. I cooked them anyway.

Broil 7 minutes on each side.

Brian and I both agreed they had good flavor when we tried a broken off chunks of the patties. It’s a recipe that I’ll definitely try again and not deviate from the recipe so much.

Strawberry mini muffins

After blogging about the coconut banana bread I was really itching to bake. I knew just what it was going to be, too.

Earlier this week I had seen Fat Free Vegan’s Strawberry mini muffin recipe and wanted to make them. So, I set off to the store for a carton of strawberries. Adapted from Fat Free Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk( I used vanilla coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax(optional)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set to the side.

Place strawberries in a medium-sized bowl and roughly mash. I wanted nice sized pieces of strawberry in my muffins once baked, so I left the strawberries a little chunkier.

Add in maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, ground flax and coconut milk. Stir together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.

Make sure not to over mix. Place about one tablespoon of muffin mix in mini muffin tin.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Yields 24 mini muffs.

They turned out a weird blue-brown color, but were super moist and tasted great. If I were serving them to someone other than Brian and I would probably make a frosting to disguise the odd color of the muffin.

Blueberry terragon chicken salad

Do you have a spring gathering that requires bringing food? Do you really want to wow them? Perhaps a baby or bridal shower? Make blueberry tarragon chicken salad. This is afresh, simple and flavorful recipe that you would expect to get in an upscale cafe. Now, you can make it at home. Recipe adapted from Our Life in the Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken tenderloin, cooked and diced
  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried tarragon
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 light extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate vinegar(or blueberry or blue pom)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, green onions, 3/4 cup blueberries, tarragon and blue cheese. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, muddle 1/4 cup blueberries and sugar.

Add the oil, vinegar, poppy seeds and a little black pepper.

Whisk it all together.

Whisk in the cream.

Pour over the chicken mixture. Stir until just combined.

Maybe before you started making this, you also made some fast baguettes. And maybe they were coming out of the oven just as you finished mixing everything. Coincidence? Perhaps. Probably not.

Serve atop a bed of greens with a chunk of fresh baguette on the side. It would be great on a croissant or the baguette as well.