Freezer Cooking & Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Chickpea Quinoa Stew

Here is a super simple deelish slow cooker meal! We LOVE a great one-pot meal! I like Kathy’s suggestions to add any veggies you have on hand or use yellow lentils instead of red, potato in place of turnip and even carrots.

A while ago I spent a day doing a Huge Freezer Cook aka cooking/assembling meals and freezing then for later use! Brilliant idea but makes for one super crazy cooking day plus another whole afternoon to shop! But I made 26 meals to freeze!! Some meals required cooking and storing in tins to be later defrosted and cooked or reheated. Some meals, like this one, I cut and prepped all the ingredients/spices and put in a food saver bag so it was ready to go in the slow-cooker 🙂 We Love having a freezer full of meals for when we need a prepared meal and don’t feel like or have time for cooking!

This was PERFECT after we came home from vacation recently. We woke up in the morning and I just tossed the bag of ingredients & the 4 cups of water, in the slow-cooker and 8.5 hours later we had a wonderful & hot dinner. Which after coming back to the cold, snowy NY from hot and sunny Mexico was much needed to warm us up! Plus always so nice when the kids love the meal you prepared! Yeah!

Slow Cooker Indian S

Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Chickpea Quinoa Stew
Recipe from Kathy Hester at healthyslowcooking.com 
serves 4 to 6

  • 4 to 5 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled turnip, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 tablespoon not-chicken bouillon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • salt, to taste

Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 9 hours. Taste, re-season if needed (you may not even need the salt if your bouillon is salty.)

* If you plan to prep & freeze for another time, add the water at the time of cooking.

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Iron for Vegans & Kale and Lentil Soup!

We all know that Iron is super important in our diets. Iron transports oxygen to the blood, regulates the metabolism, provides energy and stamina, and supports other important functions. Besides hearing “how do you get your protein?” vegans and vegetarians also hear a lot of “where does your iron come from?” I thought this was important topic to cover especially now as I am not only cooking for my husband and me but also my two kiddos 🙂

“Some might expect that since the vegan diet contains a form of iron that is not that well absorbed (non-heme), vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. However, surveys of vegans have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population although vegans tend to have lower iron stores.

The reason for the satisfactory iron status of many vegans may be that commonly eaten foods are high in iron. In fact, if the amount of iron in these foods is expressed as milligrams of iron per 100 calories, many foods eaten by vegans are superior to animal-derived foods. For example, you would have to eat more than 1700 calories of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron as found in 100 calories of spinach.

Another reason for the satisfactory iron status of vegans is that vegan diets are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C acts to markedly increase absorption of non-heme iron. Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron” (http://www.vrg.org)

We can eat iron rich foods with vitamin C foods which can increase absorption, ex. rice & beans, hummus & lemon juice, falafel with tomatoes and cucumber, and beans, grains and seeds combined with fruits and veggies. There are also plenty of natural combinations;  leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy and tomato sauce have both iron & vitamin C!

Here is a list of great non-animal sources of Iron.

  • black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, pinto beans, lentils, soy beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas
  • blackstrap molasses
  • tempeh
  • quinoa
  • spinach, turnip greens, swiss chard, kale
  • tofu
  • watermelon, cantaloupe
  • enriched pasta and breads
  • green beans, beets, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, peas
  • whole grains; millet, bulgur, oatmeal
  • prunes, raisins, apricots
  • peanut butter, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, other seeds and nuts
  • potatoes that contain the skin
  • tahini
  • veggie burgers & hot dogs

Also:

Don’t drink coffee or tea or eat calcium supplements with iron rich meals.

Cook with a cast iron skillet, especially Vitamin C heavy foods!

Once you get into the swing of eating a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet, iron is not really a concern at all:)

Here is an iron-rich delicious meal!

 Kale & Lentil Soup

Thankfully my kiddos LOVE lentils as much as we do. It has been SUUUPER chilly this winter so that makes me think soup to warm us all up. I made a super tasty soup and added kale which not only increased the iron & nutritious content but also gave such a great bite & texture to the soup. I used a crock-pot, which I have always loved, but really understand now that it can be a busy mama’s best friend!! Since then we have also revisited the Crock-Pot Oatmeal. Just as good as we remembered!

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  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2-3 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes

Super simple 🙂 Put all of the above ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, if you need it cooked quicker.

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When done I like to use my immersion blender and blend it up about half way, this way there is still some good pieces but the soup gets thicker.

Next add and let cook for just 10-15 minutes longer.
3-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

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Serve and enjoy! Even better the next day!

Thanksgiving Post: Mom’s Stuffing – Vegan

HUGE bowl of stuffing with glimpses of tofurkey, brussel sprouts and apples & squash. Happy Thanksgiving!!

This Thanksgiving was a really great one! It has been quite the amazing year!

I am so thankful for my life and what this last year has brought. Although I have taught just a few yoga classes, cooked just a few meals and had literally just brief moments alone with myself (things that I always valued and still do) I am brimming with happiness and joy! There are not words to express how much I love these two angels, being their mama, how much I love my husband and how much I love being present to him being the world’s greatest and most loving father!
SO much has gone on this year with birthing and loving twins as well as buying and renovating a house all while the 4 of us live in a small 1 bedroom apartment and still this has been the best year ever. It has come with its frustrations and tensions but at the same time has brought such an overwhelming love between us and our children as well. I feel so blessed to have the amazing experience of raising and being raised by my children. Each and every moment has been amazing, even when I don’t have any free seconds, (Like right now as I type this I am still the “mama jungle gym” with the babies climbing all over me!)

This Thanksgiving we all gathered at my Sister-in-Laws apartment. Lots of great food and great family fun! (imagine her 4 year old twin girls running around everywhere and my twins crawling in every direction!)

I made enough brussel sprouts and stuffing as if there were 3x as many people but believe me, the leftovers did not disappoint us 🙂 I made my go-to brussel sprouts recipe, with 3 pounds of brussels.

Last year during my pregnancy when I was finally feeling well enough to cook again the first thing I made was Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing. So it only felt right to make stuffing again after another long departure from the kitchen! This year though I asked my mom for her amazing recipe and we were very happy with the results 🙂 (you can always halve or third the recipe if you don’t feel like you need enough stuffing for an army!)

The best thing (besides the stuffing of course!) is that this mixture can be prepared in advance and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. It can also be used at a vegan/vegetarian side dish, a condiment or a bread spread. We have used it for spreads on sandwiches, a relish for vegan hot dogs, an easy tofu scramble recipe and in a pasta sauce so far this last week alone!

Also a great thanksgiving leftover idea (Inspired by the Thanksgiving sandwich as Terri’s): take a wrap, spread cranberry sauce all over, and add tofurkey and stuffing. ENJOY!! We loved these!

Whole Lotta Stuffing!

Mom’s Stuffing – Vegan

  • 1/2 cup oil (your choice)(I used olive)
  • 3-4 lbs of chopped onions
  • 5 stalks of celery
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3-4 peppers, chopped (assorted colors, if possible)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basic recipe for 3 boxes or bags of bread stuffing (I used some corn and some multi-grain) (I used about 1.5 cups of margarine & a 32 ounce box of veggie broth. My mom says to use slightly less broth and butter than specified on the package to compensate for liquid in vegetable mixture.)
  1. Saute onions until soft – about 15 minutes.
  2. Add celery and garlic and continue to cook another 15 minutes.
  3. Drain mixture into a large colander or strainer, reserving liquid.  Pour liquid back into pot, add peppers and saute for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add onion mixture back into pot and cook for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Day of serving stuffing, prepare according to box/package with broth and margarine. (see my notes above) Add onion mixture and bake in a casserole dish (or several) according to the package. (Mine was 350 degrees for 30 minutes)

the onion mixture! fyi: my mom makes hers finer which is better for using it as a spread

Stuffing: Pre-baking

Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing

I’m so sorry to have gone MIA for so long! It was a crazy couple of months and then we went on a fabulous whirlwind tour of Australia 🙂 So no complaining here but I am happy to be back home and back in the kitchen!! And just in time for an awesome Thanksgiving recipe!!

I have always Loved the stuffing part of the meal so this dish is pretty perfect. It has all the carby goodness of the cornbread but much more veggies than a normal stuffing, so you can even enjoy this as a great fall meal. Yum! And I just love roasted squash! Plus this dish is also really low in fat compared to all the butter laden stuffing recipes out there 🙂

What are your favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes/dishes? I would love to hear from you!!

Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing 
Serves 8 as Main Dish or 16 as Side Dish

  • 1 butternut squash (love buying the pre-chopped!!), cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounce bag cornbread stuffing
  • 2 cups “chicken” flavored veggie broth
  • salt

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray sheet or roasting pan (I needed 2 pans – but I also made extra squash for buttnernut mash- nice to be able to double duty the recipe!) Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray and roast squash for 25 minutes. Rotate squash and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Set aside and reduce heat to 350°F.

In a saute pan or wok – heat canola oil and cook onions, pepper, celery and mushrooms until onion is translucent. Add garlic, cook for one minute more and remove from heat.

Combine squash, veggies, broth and cornbread in large bowl. Place in a baking dish/roasting pan (use the same 1 or 2 that you roasted squash in) and cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste and enjoy 🙂

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