Original Recipe: Heart-Warming Fall Veggie Soup

Hi, friends!

I’ll start by, as always, apologizing for the delay in posting. My, how time flies! I have this ongoing list of great blog post ideas, and I need to start crossing it off. I’m the worst procrastinator.

I couldn’t wait to share this soup with you, so it had to be first. I’m excited about it for two reasons: 1) here in Virginia it’s PERFECT soup weather, so I crave it constantly and 2) my improvised on-the-spot recipe came out really, really good.  Soup is a filling yet typically lower calorie meal choice, making it ideal if you’re watching your weight or trying to eat “clean.” A good soup should have lean protein, preferably some type of beans, and lots, and lots, and LOTS of veggies — like this one!

I’ll get to the point (and likely why you’re here) — the recipe! This is ridiculously easy and a fantastic way to clean out that crisper drawer. Feel free to experiment using other assortments of vegetables, depending on what you have available.

Start with your veggie line-up. The amount used here made about 10 cups of soup, enough for at least a week’s worth of lunches.

Turnips, carrots, and kale, oh my!

Turnips, carrots, and kale, oh my!

  1. Chop into cubes: 1 large Yukon gold potato, 2 turnips. Place in crockpot.
  2. Make a mirepoix: Finely chop 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 an onion, 2 cloves garlic. Saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add to crockpot.
  3. Pour in: 1 quart unsalted vegetable broth, 1 cup water, and 2 cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  4. Season: black pepper, pinch of sea salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp oregano (or use 1 drop Young Living Oregano essential oil)
  5. Turn crockpot to high and let it do its thing for the next 3 hours.
    Get it cookin'!

    Get it cookin’!

     

  6. Using an immersion blender, puree some of the chunks of soup. (I just pushed some of the potatoes/turnips/chick peas to the bottom and then turn the blade on. Do this maybe 6 times.) This gives great texture to the soup.
  7. Rinse and chop 1 large bunch of kale. Throw the stems in there too — they’ll soften right up!
  8. Turn crockpot down to low; add kale. Cook another 30 minutes or so until the kale is softened but still green.Almost done...
  9. Done! Portion out into individual glass containers, or transfer to a large one with a lid. I split this batch up so I could take some for lunch the next day. Will last a good week in the fridge. Whatever you don’t eat, freeze! 20161120_205031There you have it. I’ll be making this one again, for sure! Look for more blogs coming soon. Up next: Healthy holiday dishes! Stay tuned!

Original Recipe: Spicy Marinated Tempeh Tacos

Tacos are one of my favorite foods ever. Well, to be clear, Mexican food is my favorite cuisine, and tacos are way up there on the list. Unfortunately, Mexican food has a reputation for being one of the unhealthiest out there. Fear not! I’m here to change all of that. As my followers know, I love making over foods with a healthy twist, and usually with a vegan spin. Behold — the tempeh taco! Feel free to experiment with different toppings and seasonings. You can even set your dinner up buffet-style and let people build their own taco creations. Endless possibilities!

If you’re not familiar with tempeh, it is a sort of cake made of compressed soybeans. It is gluten-free, cholesterol-free, packed with protein , and has basically no flavor on its own. This makes it incredibly versatile for everything from tacos to vegetarian chili to veggie burgers. The package looks something like this:

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Spicy Marinated Tempeh Tacos

Serves 3 (or two if you’re really hungry!)

Prep time: 10 minutes                Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package tempeh
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 6 small corn tortillas (soft or crunchy; I prefer them soft) or 4 soft taco-size flour tortillas

Toppings

  • Shredded Napa cabbage
  • Guacamole or chopped avocado
  • Sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and/or onions
  • Taco sauce
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Vegan shredded cheese, such as Daiya
  • Cashew cheese (see my mac n’ cheese recipe for how to make this)

Directions: Cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Place in a shallow bowl and add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and sriracha. Set aside and let it do its thing for a few minutes.

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Heat 1 Tbsp of good olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. While oil is heating, chop cabbage and other desired toppings. When pan is hot, add tempeh in a single layer, stirring every  minute or so. Cook about 5 minutes until most of sauce is absorbed, like so:

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Quickly toast the tortillas in the toaster oven until warm but firm enough to hold your toppings. Add whatever you like and chow down!

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My style: cabbage, sauteed mushrooms and onions, cheddar-style Daiya, and cilantro. I also used flour tortillas because that’s what I had in the house at the time. This is okay 😉 

Perfect winter dinner: salsa verde soup!

I’ve been making this soup for months and haven’t ever posted it, and I’m not really sure why. It’s delicious, one of the easiest recipes I know, and it’s incredibly convenient as it’s made in the slow cooker. When I get home, it’s ready, and no one has to wait, which is good because everyone’s usually starving by then! I usually serve it with something simple like mini vegan quesadillas or corn muffins. (Last night I made my jalapeno corn muffins — yum!)  This is a good one to please the non-vegans in your house, too. My husband’s exact words: “I was skeptical about this, but it’s actually really good!” Future note to self: find more vegan-friendly slow cooker recipes. Meanwhile, here’s this one:

Salsa Verde Soup

Serves 3-4 people

Dump the following into the crock pot:

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups beans (white or pinto work best)
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa verde*
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt
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Because I forgot to take one this time, this is a screenshot from Instagram, when I first made it over a year ago!

Set slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours. Turn down to warm, then add 2 cups of coarsely chopped spinach or kale. (You can do this in the beginning, but I found that the greens turned an ugly brown and kind of disintegrated, so I prefer to add it at the end.)

*Salsa verde – you can make this yourself by roasting and pureeing tomatillos, which isn’t difficult, but more time-consuming and unnecessary since you can find it at any grocery store. I did this once, but didn’t notice a difference in flavor. You can find it in the Mexican food aisle, and it looks something like this:

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I actually found this one at Big Lots 🙂

Serve with a squirt of lime, chopped avocado, and cilantro. For non-vegans, you can add some shredded cheddar cheese, but I really don’t think it needs it.

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The avocado provides a nice, creamy element and really compliments that little zing from the lime juice. 

Just for kicks, here’s that jalapeno corn bread recipe:

  • 1 7-oz package of corn bread mix
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax mixed in 3 Tbsp water (this replaces the egg)
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray and place in oven to warm up. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Remove muffin pan from the oven and spoon cornbread evenly into 6 wells. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I would tell you to take the leftovers for lunch the next day, buuuuuut there won’t be any left 😉

 

Original Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac n’Cheese

Pasta is a well-known vice of mine, and macaroni and cheese was a particular comfort food for me growing up. Because dairy just does not agree with me and no dish is worth the stomach pains, I had to find another way to enjoy this childhood favorite. I’ve come across many of these recipes using butternut squash, but I like to play around until I come up with my idea of perfection. The sauce is creamy, cheezy, and satisfying, (with a “z” to distinguish from ACTUAL cheese), and truly is the ultimate comfort food. We had a bout of extremely cold, windy, wintry weather this weekend, and I made this Friday night in a desperate attempt to warm my bones. It worked! I think you’ll find it quite effective too.

Also, this recipe is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies. I add some of this into my hubby’s “real” mac n’ cheese — it allows me to use less butter and milk and therefore cuts the fat significantly. He doesn’t seem to notice 😉

This recipe takes a little preparation, so I recommend making the cashew cheeze ahead of time. (I pretty much always have a batch made — it’s so versatile!) Otherwise it takes less then 30 minutes to prepare. So, without further ado:

Butternut Squash Penne & Cheeze

Serves 3-4 (depending on who you’re feeding — I have a 16-year-old son, so this only feeds the two of us!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 box penne pasta
  • 1 cup cashew cheeze (see below)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the butternut squash one of two ways.

1) Quick prep – fill a casserole dish with about 1 inch of water. Slice the butternut squash and place the halves face down in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap (BPA free) and microwave for 10-15 minutes until pierced easily with a knife.

2) If you’re not pressed for time, preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in half and brush with olive oil. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until pierced easily with a knife. (I prefer this method simply because roasting brings out some great flavor from the squash!)

Cook pasta while squash is cooking, as per usual pasta-boiling directions.

Cashew Cheeze:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (boiled for 10 minutes)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Scoop cooked squash out of the skin and into the food processor. Blend until it looks like this:

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Your cheeze sauce is ready. When pasta is done cooking and has been drained, dump it back into the pot and pour the cheeze sauce over the top. Stir well to combine, season to taste, and serve immediately. Served with steamed broccoli or other favorite green veggie.

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Dig in!!

Peace, love, and veggies,

Jean

 

 

 

Product Review: World Peas

20151113_110403 I received a packet of these in my most recent Urthbox (for those not familiar, it’s a subscription that delivers you a little box of vegan snacks every month.) While I’d tried World Peas products before and thought they were good, I had never had the ranch flavor. It should be noted that I’m a sucker for ANYTHING ranch-flavored, so I was thrilled to pull this little bag of goodness out of the Urthbox. I was so impressed with the flavor and nutritional content that I decided to write the company and request some samples. Lucky me — they said yes, and sent me a whole box of these bad boys!! I did a happy dance when I opened the box, for sure! I promised the company a product review, so read on.

Flavor: The peas are crunchy but not dry, and have a great, authentic ranch taste. They taste salty without actually BEING salty. My taste buds were jumping for joy!

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Nutritional value: non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, low sodium, and cholesterol free. There aren’t too many dietary needs that these wouldn’t accommodate.  They might even be Paleo, but I’m no expert in this area. The label may be hard to read, so here is the breakdown:

(per packet)

160 calories, 3 g fat, 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Are they a nutritional powerhouse? No…..but as a salty snack goes, these still blow chips out of the water. You won’t find many chips with this type of protein content, so that was a big plus for me. The protein in these will fill you up longer (the fiber helps too) and you’re saving a significant amount of fat as well. For comparison, standard snack chips have 7-8 grams of fat per serving.

Price: The company website sells these for $15 for a pack of 12, which equivocates to $1.25 per 1.2-oz serving. Vitacost also sells a 5.5-oz bag for $3.69. Overall, these are a good value.

Convenience: I’m the weirdo who always keeps snacks in my glove compartment, so these fit the bill perfectly. (I have two of these in there right now, in fact.) Portable and healthy is an important combination!

The World Peas Snacks company urges you to “go ahead and give peas a chance.” I would have to agree!

Vegan Walnut Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

Hi guys! Miss me?? I can’t believe it’s been nearly 3 months without a post. This summer has been so busy for me, so I apologize for my absence. Hopefully this amazing pancake recipe will make up for it a little bit!

On an extremely rare occasion, I found myself alone this Sunday morning. My husband got called into work, and my teenager is still sleeping. I had a major hankering for pancakes (a food for which my husband does not share my enthusiasm!), so I started flipping through my cookbooks. I settled on this one from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, which I’ve had for ages. (In fact, it was my first vegetarian cookbook — my mother gave it to me as a teenager.) Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I made a few minor changes/editions.  As you can see, this is one sexy stack!

Boom. Mouth explosion.

Boom. Mouth explosion.

Vegan Oat & Walnut Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes, depending on size

Dry ingredients:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp Nude Foods Breakfast Boost (optional, see below)

1/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts

1/4 quick cooking rolled oats

Wet Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups almond milk

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil

1 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar

Mix all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ones. Stir just until mixed. Ladle onto a hot skillet sprayed with cooking spray.

About that Breakfast Boost — this is a product I have used for some time. I typically put it into smoothies but wanted to see how it would work with this recipe. (FYI this is not a paid endorsement of any kind, I’m just a big fan!). It’s a fantastic superfood powder that adds a nice nutritional boost. Dried berries, almonds, and flax are key ingredients.  It’s somewhat hard to find (at least where I live), but I’ve been able to buy it on http://www.abesmarket.com and Amazon. I’m sure this recipe would be equally delicious without it, I just wanted to amp it up a bit.

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Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup pomegranate juice or water

1 tsp lemon zest or 2 drops lemon essential oil

2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp water

Heat blueberries and juice over medium heat in a saucepan until liquid starts to bubble. Turn heat up to high and add corn starch, bringing up to a boil. Stir constantly for 1 minute or until liquid thickens. Turn off heat and cover; it will thicken a little more as it sits.

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Congratulations! Your breakfast is ready!! Layer pancakes with almond butter (I used this incredible superberry macqui camu almond butter I bought online, also at Abe’s Market), peanut butter, or really anything else that strikes your fancy. Then dump the compote allllllll over that stack. Proceed to devour.

Greek style calzones with tofu “feta”: Original recipe

I was really craving calzones last weekend, so I made these for my (non-vegan, non-vegetarian) husband and me. It was a totally improvised recipe but it came out really good!

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The final, delicious product!

Ingredients:

1 ball pre-made pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s brand). Obviously you can make your own crust if desired.
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms, sauteed with garlic
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup mixed Greek olives
Tofu “feta” (see below)

To make tofu feta:
Take half of a block of extra firm organic tofu, and squeeze dry (the best way to do this is to layer it between several paper towels, place it on a cutting board, and put a heavy book or frying pan on top for a few minutes). Crumble into a bowl. Add 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp Greek seasoning (or a mix of oregano, garlic, marjoram, and sea salt), and 1 tsp black pepper. Combine well and set aside.

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Preheat oven to 375. Roll out pizza dough into a circle about 10″ wide. Cut dough in half. Spread hummus on each. Fill one side of each calzone with half of the tofu and half of the vegetable mixture, like so:

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Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and seal the edges with your fingers. Using a wide spatula, carefully transfer the calzones onto a pizza stone. Bake for about 10 minutes, then flip calzone over (this is why they need to be well sealed!) and bake another 5 minutes. Brush tops with olive oil and bake 5 additional minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Enjoy!!

Spinach enchiladas with spicy corn – original recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, and since I made it tonight, I decided I needed to post it already! Mexican food was always a vice of mine, so I’ve had to find ways to eat it often without facing serious weight gain. Quesadillas, enchiladas, and even taco salads can be loaded with fat and calories, thanks to the cheese and/or fried tortillas. The solution: make it myself and veganize it! These are very easy to make, and go well with a variety of sides.

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

Makes 8 enchiladas

For the enchiladas:

1 small onion, chopped
2 lbs baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 corn tortillas
1 can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup Daiya, any flavor (or other dairy-free cheese)
1/4 cup cashew cheese, optional* (see below)

For the corn:
2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 tsp vegan butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pinch of sea salt

*1 hour before beginning preparation, boil raw cashews in water for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let soak as long as possible until needed. May also soak overnight in the fridge in an airtight container.
To make cashew cheese: Combine soaked and drained cashews in a food processor with 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Saute onions and garlic with a small amount of olive oil. When translucent, add cumin and chili powder and stir to coat. Slowly add in spinach, cooking until wilted. Drain off any remaining water and keep warm. Spray a large skillet and a 9×12 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lightly fry tortillas on both sides until slightly crispy. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl and stir in nutmeg. One at a time, dip tortillas in enchilada sauce and place in the baking dish. Place some of the spinach mixture in the center and top with Daiya and cashew cheese. Roll up, and repeat this process until all are done. Spoon any remaining enchilada sauce on top, and sprinkle some more Daiya for good measure. Pop ’em in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, melt vegan butter over medium in a small saucepan. Stir in cumin, then add corn and cayenne and stir to coat. Heat 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve meal with sliced avocado.
Other great side dishes include pinto or black beans, Mexican-style brown rice, or diced potatoes.

A more attractive attempt, when I made served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.

A previous, more attractive attempt, served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.

Breakfast, baby!

I’m stuck at home after a snowstorm, so I had to take advantage and post this because I’ve been talking about it forEVER. Breakfast is my favorite meal of all time, and I’ve been saving up tons of pictures for this post. Most of these I’ve made up, but if it is a recipe and I have online access to it, I will provide the link or at least tell you where it came from. Why should you eat breakfast? What should a healthy breakfast contain? Your burning questions answered and your taste buds tantalized!

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Vegan oatmeal-banana pancakes with figs and strawberries – recipe from Moosewood Collective Cookbook and is in an earlier blog post 🙂

Now, the FAQs:

Does it really matter if you eat breakfast?

In a word, yes!! Think about it — you’ve been sleeping for (hopefully at least eight) hours, and your body is ready to replenish. If you don’t eat breakfast, your metabolism still thinks you’re asleep and therefore conserves any energy it would release to your cells. Breakfast — BREAK the FAST — is meant to give you that kick start so you will start using energy, and therefore, burning calories. Studies have shown people who eat breakfast are leaner for this very reason. In addition, breakfast eaters have improved mood, increased concentration, and get fewer headaches than those who skip it. If you’re stomach isn’t growling, you can focus on what you’re supposed to be doing at work/school/whatever it is you do all day 🙂 With children, all of the above benefits are shown as well as better test performance. It’s a win-win, really!

What should I be eating?

Breakfast should contain 2-3 food groups, two of which should be carbohydrates and lean proteins or healthy fats. The third is usually fruit or a dairy/dairy equivalent. Carbohydrates provide that cell energy, protein/fat keeps you full, and fruit gets some vitamins and fiber into your system. Choose from the following foods to maximize the benefits. Avoid greasy meats, large quantities of cheese, pastries, donuts, biscuits, or anything else with a high fat or sugar content. This will just cause a blood sugar crash and subsequent sleepiness, which is definitely counterproductive!

I’m not hungry in the morning. Do I still need to eat?

Again, yes! For some people, it takes a little training to get your stomach used to it. Start with something small, like a fruit & almond milk smoothie or a slice of toast with peanut butter. After about a week, you will start waking up hungry and ready to take on something bigger. Remember, you’re not trying to pack in a whole day’s worth of calories. 300-350 is plenty for more people, but if you exercise early in the day, go up to around 500 calories.

Build your Breakfast!

Carbs: Oatmeal, high-fiber cereal (5 g fiber or more), sprouted grain bread (like Ezekiel), whole-grain bagel or English muffin, stone-ground grits (NOT instant), whole-grain waffles or pancakes (such as Kashi), flatbread, wrap.

Proteins: Eggs (free range for better cholesterol content), egg whites, tofu, quinoa, organic cheese, low fat organic milk, soy milk, Greek yogurt, soy yogurt.

Healthy fats: Nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, avocado, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut shreds or oil

The combinations are almost endless. Get creative, and feel free to veer away from traditional breakfast foods. As long as it meets the above criteria, you can basically eat anything. I know people who don’t like breakfast food, and end up eating last night’s leftovers instead. Again, the rules are yours to make, but make sure to get your 3 food groups!

All of the following meals take less than 5 minutes to prepare, making them perfect for busy weekday mornings! All pictures are mine. I’m getting better at food photography, I think!

Gluten-free rolled oats with chunky almond butter, hempseeds, and pomegranate stewed apples

Gluten-free rolled oats with chunky almond butter, hempseeds, and pomegranate stewed apples

Avocado on Ezekiel bread with a clementine

Mashed avocado on Ezekiel bread with a clementine

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Blueberry soy yogurt with muesli, dried cherries, and pomegranate arils

Half a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and sliced apple

Half a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and sliced apple

A less traditional route: Mashed sweet potato with raisins, walnuts, and a little maple syrup.

A less traditional route: Mashed sweet potato with raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.

Smoothie bowl: Beets, banana, strawberries, hemp, and chia seeds. Sprinkled with granola for some crunch.

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Kashi waffle sandwich with almond butter and banana

Peach-mango soy yogurt, chia/hemp seeds, dried persimmons and oat clusters

Peach-mango soy yogurt, chia/hemp seeds, dried persimmons and oat clusters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a little more time or can prepare ahead, you can make some more fun stuff like pancakes and breakfast breads. I absolutely LOVE these two recipes from Ceara’s Kitchen:

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Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes with almond butter, pumpkin butter, and chocolate chips. On the side – a beet, berry, and chia smoothie. These pancakes are made in the blender and are SO easy and SO amazingly delicious. This picture actually made me a pseudo-celebrity on Instagram, and was reposted by Ceara herself!

 

 

Vegan Banana Oat Breakfast Cake. I baked this last night and we ate half of it immediately! Great by itself or with a smear of vegan cream cheese or almond butter.

Vegan Banana Oat Breakfast Cake. I baked this last night and we ate half of it immediately! Great by itself or with a smear of vegan cream cheese or almond butter.

Links to recipes:

http://www.cearaskitchen.com/healthy-vegan-banana-oat-breakfast-cake/

http://www.cearaskitchen.com/pumpkin-oat-blender-pancakes-flour-free-gluten-free-vegan/

With awesome foods like this, fast food is COMPLETELY unnecessary and obsolete. If you don’t even have five minutes to make something, keep low-sugar, high-protein bars like Clif, Larabar, Kind, or your other preferred brand in the pantry. Also have plenty of fresh fruit, so you can grab a bar and a banana on your way out the door. This way, your belly is happy and you can confidently drive right past that drive-thru!

That’s all, folks. Happy breakfast-ing!!

Original Recipe: Vegetarian Chili-Cornbread Casserole

I know, I know, I promised you a breakfast post. It’s coming, I swear!!

I posted this on Instagram last week and said I would provide the recipe, so first thing’s first! This casserole was a dish I made for my department’s holiday party. Of the 20+ people in the department, I am definitely the only vegetarian. I had to come up with something that I could eat, but that the others would too. Enter this brilliantly easy and delicious recipe. It is perfect for gatherings of any kind — football party, potluck, etc.

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Vegetarian Chili-Cornbread Casserole

Serves 8 (or 4 as a main dish)

Filling:

2 cups cooked beans (I used black and garbanzo, but feel free to use whatever you have around)

1 cup sweet corn

1 can organic diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup Quorn crumbles (may use other brands, this is just my preference as it lacks processed soy)

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Topping:

Non-GMO cornbread mix of your choice (I used Pamela’s cornbread and muffin mix, which is gluten free. I have a coworker with celiac.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add onions and saute 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add Quorn, tomatoes, beans, corn, and seasonings and stir to combine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cornbread according to package directions. Pour bean mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with cornbread mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot. Serve as is or with desired toppings, such as chopped avocado. Watch it disappear! (Tip: your husband, kids, anyone else will not even know it’s vegetarian. Score!) This also makes great leftovers (if there are any) for your vegan lunchbox the next day!