Easy Coconut Rice & Beans

I know I haven’t been in the kitchen too much these days, let alone posting/blogging! With our amazing 7 month old twins, involved and complicated recipe building is not really on my to-do list. Being hunkered down for Hurricane Sandy, I figured I could go through my idle ingredient stash and start to whip up some good, quick food. It felt amazing to be back in the kitchen and inspired, even if only a simple recipe!. And now that the kiddos are starting to eat solid foods I plan to be back in the kitchen making quick but deelish family friendly food. I loved that I could get a really yummy but still nutritious (one-pot) meal on the table in less that a half hour!

This recipe came out super creamy!! I used two cans of coconut milk but made sure to use one that was light to calm the fat content down a bit! I didn’t have onions but I could see sauteing some up and stirring in with the beans.  I also served this with Cholula sauce, Michael didn’t use it but since it’s my current obsession, I couldn’t resist. Also, Michael doesn’t typically love anything with coconut, but he really enjoyed this and was ready for seconds! And as you know I LOVE all things coconut!

Here is just a sampling of some of my other recipes with coconut milk:
Thai Root Veggie Curry with Coconut Milk
Coconut Lentil Soup
Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
Dina’s Chili-lime Ginger Tofu in Coconut Basil Broth with Rice Noodles
Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites
Vegan Fudge

If you are on the East Coast – Be Safe with Hurricane Sandy!! Prayers for a peaceful day ahead. We are already enjoying some inside time together after our fun-filled Halloween weekend 🙂

Easy Coconut Rice & Beans

  •  2 cans coconut milk (I used 1 Light and 1 Regular)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • onion powder, pinch (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (short or long grain)(I used white basmati because it is what I had)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can cooked beans (kidney, pinto, or black beans)
  1. In a pot, combine coconut milk, bay leaf, garlic, (onion powder), salt and rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once you see a boil, lower heat to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  3. Uncover and continue to cook & stir over low heat, until tender and creamy, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, stir, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (slow cooker)

This was a yummy warming soup that was great for this chillier weather we are having. I was hoping this would come out with a stronger “thai” or spiced flavor but I could not really taste the lemongrass, so if you rather leave it out, it would be fine. The candied ginger and the pepitas added some really good flavor and texture. Plus I love slow-cooker meals! (although I am sure you could make this in a soup pot on the stove) Start it in the morning and when you get home you have a fabulous dinner ready to go! Perfect! Enjoy this creamy squash soup 🙂

Check out these other slow cooker meals I made: Slow-cooked Open Enchiladas, Mixed Veggies with Peanut Sauce, Butternut squash, Apricots and Apples with Quinoa, Slow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Crock-Pot Oatmeal.

Before adding the squash and broth

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (slow cooker)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 tablespoon, minced ginger root
1 teaspoon, fresh cracked pepper
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed and cut in half crosswise
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
8 cups butternut squash, cubed
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups coconut milk
3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
1/2 cup of candied ginger, chopped

  1. In a skillet or a meal slow-cooker liner, heat oil over medium heat and add onions, cook for 3 minutes till softened. Add ginger, pepper, lemongrass and toasted cumin, stirring for 1 minute. Either place liner in slow-cooker or transfer skillet  contents to stoneware. Add butternut squash and veggie stock.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until squash is tender.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut milk with the curry paste and blend well.
  4. Add to slow cooker along with the rest of the coconut milk and lime juice and heat till cooked through, about 20 minutes. Discard the lemongrass.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  6. Serve with toasted pepitas and candied ginger.

Thai Root Veggie Curry with Coconut Milk

I love curries! Since winter is ending (yeah!!!!) I wanted to get one last yummy root veggie dish on the table and this turned out amazing! I also love a big one pot meal, especially if I already have cooked rice in the fridge already like I did this night! Perfection!

Thai Root Veggie Curry with Coconut Milk
Serves 4

2 cups rice, cooked and set aside
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 turnips, trimmed and cubed
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth, or more as needed
1 teaspoon red or yellow Thai curry paste, or more to taste
1 cup low-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and set over medium-high heat. Add ginger, onions and salt and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the onions softens. Reduce the heat to low and add the butternut squash, turnips, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini and simmer.
  2. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, whisk the hot broth with the curry paste until the paste dissolves. Pour the broth over the vegetables to cover them; simmer over medium heat, covered , for 20 to 25 minutes,until veggies are tender.
  3. In the empty broth saucepan boil coconut milk until it reduces in volume by half. The pour over the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lime juice and serve over rice with lime wedges.

Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites

I have been doing my best to get as much protein as possible lately. (Thank goodness for Brendan Brazier’s Vega Bars!) I have made many versions of this snack throughout my life, but never added protein powder before and it really was such a perfect addition! I made both vanilla and chocolate versions to enjoy 🙂 Awesome!

These were so super fast to whip up and even faster to eat haha so make sure you make some extra for the perfect on the go snacks.

Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites

Chocolate Version

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (as I mentioned above – I love Brendan Brazier’s products from Vega and his Shake & Go Smoothie Chocolate is amazing!!!!)
2 tablespoons Artisana coconut butter (this is the best stuff ever!)
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 heaping teaspoon organic peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/4 cup light coconut milk

Vanilla Version

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my absolute favorite vanilla powder – Life Time Lifes Basics Plant Protein)
2 tablespoons Artisana coconut butter
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 heaping teaspoon organic peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/4 cup light coconut milk

Combine all ingredients. You might need a little more protein powder or coconut if too wet or some coconut milk if too dry. Roll into balls in your hands.

Optional add ons:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Extra shredded coconut

Melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip the bites in the bowl. Then sprinkle coconut over and freeze until firm.

Spring/Summer Cleanse 2011: Week 1

It is that time of year, cleansing time! I love to do fasts and detoxes a few times a year. I have done so many different cleanses ranging from green smoothie cleanses, to juice cleanses, to the master cleanse and even gallbladder and liver cleanses. I decided this time around to embark on a longer more sustainable cleanse. It is a combo elimination diet and detox. This is helping me cleanse easily and effectively while I am continuing to eat. But I have cut out foods that would interfere with the cleansing process and that I feel I rely too much on in my diet. I used Dr. Alejandro Junger’s, Clean Program as a loose guideline. I am hoping to maintain eating primarily the foods of the Elimination Diet even after I finish the cleanse, while occasionally enjoying some of the other foods.

My Plan for the Cleanse:

Weeks 1-3 (21 days): (I plan on doing this part for 4 weeks)

  • Breakfast: Smoothie/Juice or Protein Shake
  • Lunch: Clean meal made of detox friendly foods (see list below)
  • Dinner: Smoothie/Juice/Soup/Blended Foods
  • Snacks: anything from the approved list, but only snack when truly hungry, not just bored. (I can certainly relate to this!)
  • Drink A LOT of water and/or herbal tea.
  • Also ideally lunch should be the real food meal, but of course since this is an extended cleanse, if you need to switch lunch and dinner sometimes it is fine, BUT make sure you keep
    a 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast free of food for optimal digestion and detoxing. (This actually makes this so much easier to sustain for weeks at a time, knowing that you can still go out for dinner sometimes!)
  • The shakes/smoothies/juices are meant to help decrease the amount of work your digestive system has to do so it can rest and  restore.

The general list of foods to remove for Elimination Diet includes: grains with gluten, anything processed (including all soy products), fatty nuts, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), condiments, sugar and obviously no dairy, animal products, alcohol, caffeine or soda. Click here to see Elimination List. and here to see the Shopping List.

Weeks 4: Juice Cleanse

I love my juice cleanses! See this post for more details.

Weeks 5: Back to the Elimination Diet Cleanse detailed above

With all stages I will include lots of Yoga of course and some cardio exercises.

Here is my first week of the cleanse broken down meal by meal to make it super easy for you to cleanse! Of course adjust times and recipes for your life and preferences. Meals in Bold have recipes listed below. I will post a few more recipes next week to add more variety 🙂

DAY ONE

8am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
10am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Morning Green Smoothie
1:30pm (lunch): Romaine with Caesar Dressing and Capers
8pm (dinner): Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

DAY TWO

8am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
10am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Morning Green Smoothie
2:00pm (lunch): Kitchari from JivamukTea Cafe (they use brown rice instead of white basmati! perfect!)
4pm (snack): A handful of mixed seeds and nuts
7pm (dinner): Shake: 1 serving UltraClear and MetaFiber mixed with water

DAY THREE

8am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
10:30am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Morning Green Smoothie
2:00pm (lunch): Raw Sesame Nut-meat salad from Bonobos
7:30pm (dinner): Shake: 1 serving UltraClear and MetaFiber mixed with water

DAY FOUR

5 am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
7:30 am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Morning Green Smoothie
12:00pm (lunch): Kitchari and a kale side from JivamukTea Cafe
4pm (snack): A handful of mixed seeds and nuts
8:30 pm (dinner): Cucumber and Avocado Soup

DAY FIVE

8am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
10am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Shake: 1 serving UltraClear and MetaFiber mixed with water
1:30pm (lunch): Berry Protein Shake
4pm (snack): A handful of mixed seeds and nuts
7pm (dinner): Coconut/Avocado Raw soup & Lover’s Salad from Caravan of Dreams

DAY SIX

9am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
11am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Berry Protein Shake
1:30pm (lunch): Chocolate Protein UN-Milkshake
4pm (snack): A handful of mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds
7pm (dinner): Soba Noodle Soup at Souen Ramen

DAY SEVEN

9am Upon Rising: room temperature lemon water &/or herbal tea
11am Breakfast(at least an hour after waking): Mango and Coconut Smoothie
2:30pm (lunch): Leftover Soba Noodle Soup & Small Salad  with Caesar Dressing
5pm (snack): A handful of mixed seeds and nuts
9pm (dinner): Leftover FROZEN Berry Protein Shake (so fun! I was able to eat it like a creamy sorbet instead of drinking it :))

RECIPES

Morning Green Smoothie (2 servings)(We drink this most days as it is now :))

1 cup frozen Blueberries or raspberries
1 cup frozen Mango or Pineapple
big handful of baby spinach or 3 stalks of kale or chard
2 heaping tablespoons Synergy Green Powder, Vitamineral Green or other green powder
1 tablespoon Maca
1 heaping teaspoon Crystal Manna Blue green algae or E3AFA2 heaping tablespoons Psyllium Whole Husks or MetaFiber1 serving of Vegan Protein (soy-free) powder; Vega, UltraClear, Life’s Basics
2 cups Almond, Hemp or Coconut milk
1/2 cup water or coconut water

optional: coconut (unsweetened) or avocado

Blend everything together and Enjoy! Feel free to play around with ingredients (adding or ommitting them) but pay attention to the elimination diet guide (ie no bananas for this smoothie)

Berry Protein Shake
Recipe adapted from Dr. Alejandro Junger

1 cup nut/rice/hempseed milk of your choice (either homemade with 1/2 cup nuts and 1 1/2-2 cups water, or unsweetened)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (optional)
3 pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 serving of Vegan Protein Powder
1 serving of Fiber powder, Psyllium Husks or 2 ounces aloe juice
Handful of Spinach or serving of green powder

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons agave
  • 12 ounces almond, coconut milk or coconut water
  • handful of baby spinach

Blend and Enjoy!

Chocolate Protein UN-Milkshake

This was out of control deelish! It was so creamy and chocolatey! I would not have it everyday, but for a treat, especially when cleansing, it was amazing!

4 ounces of water
8 ounces of almond milk (unsweetened)
1/2 of an avocado
2 teaspoons organic almond butter
a pinch of sea salt
1 serving Chocolate Protein Powder – Vega Chocolate is Great!
1 serving MetaFiber
1 tablespoon Agave
1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe from Clean Book; Dr. Alejandro Junger

2 cups Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped
2 stalk celery
2 green apples, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
4-5 cups water

  1. Blend all ingredients except tarragon in a high speed blender.
  2. Check Seasoning
  3. Add the tarragon and blend again for 10 seconds, just enough to be mixed in.
  4. Serve in a bowl or mug slightly warm or at room temperature.

Cucumber and Avocado Soup
Recipe from Dr. Alejandro Junger
1 serving

zest of 1/2 lime
juice of an entire lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, roughly chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled and roughly chopped

Blend everything together until totally creamy and smooth.

Vegan Fudge: Soy, Tree Nut, & Gluten Free

Thanks so much Averie for this recipe! OMG! This one “magically” dissappeared fast out of the fridge over the week. 😉 I don’t normally make these kind of desserts to keep in the house, but it was Birthday Week so I thought we could have this special treat. SO good, So fast (to make AND to eat!!). YUM!!!!!! It’s rich, decadent, fudgy, wonderful.


Vegan Fudge–Soy, Tree Nut, & Gluten Free; and a 10 Minute Recipe
Recipe from Averie

1 Cup Vegan/Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 box Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Dairy-Free Margarine (Earth Balance)
1/2 Cup Regular Coconut Milk *DO NOT USE LIGHT Coconut Milk*
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate chips, sugar, and cocoa.
  2. Separately, place the margarine and coconut milk in a small saucepan, and stir together over medium heat.
  3. Cook the mixture until the margarine has melted, and bubbles just begin to break at the surface.
  4. Remove it from the stove, and immediately pour the liquid over the dry chocolate & sugar mixture.
  5. Let everything sit for a couple of minutes (and if you wait too long and it hardens up on you, feel free to nuke it for 15 seconds at a time or until melty), and then stir vigorously to melt the chocolate and incorporate the dry ingredients.
  6. Continue stirring until a completely smooth mixture forms.
  7. Mix in the vanilla, and quickly pour everything into your prepared pan, a lightly greased or cooking-sprayed 8×8 pan (or another similar size)
  8. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

I'm surprised any of this made it into the pan 🙂 It was so good! The ultimate spoon licking dessert!!

Ready to Chill

Coconut Lentil Soup

My friend Lisa Dawn is an amazing Yogi, Wife, Mother and Cook! We were talking recently about simple, nutritious, delicious and fast vegan meals and she served me such an amazing soup that I had to replicate it at home! Sometimes I forget how simple meals can be so amazing delicious, fun and taste so complex! Thank you Lisa for Inspiring me and Reminding me of this! I had so much fun in the kitchen dancing, stirring, singing – I have been so busy lately and have been neglecting cooking; it was good to find my way back 🙂

p.s. this soup/stew is AMAZING!!! Michael and I were so excited to have such a big batch to eat all week at home.

Soup while using the immersion blender

Soup after immersion

Coconut Lentil Soup
inspired by Lisa Dawn

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 cans coconut milk (I used 1 light and 1 regular)
  • 4 cups of water (+1-2 cups once the pasta is added)
  • 8 ounces of little pasta (I used Conchigliette)
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste (black pepper is fine, I just wanted to stay with the colors)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and lentils and continuous stirring for 1 minute more. 
  2. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Reduce hear and simmer till lentils are cooked.
  3. Using an immersion blender or by pouring into a blender – puree the soup.
  4. Add the pasta into the soup and the additional 1-2 cups of water. Enjoy!

note: It came out super thick for me, but we enjoyed it that way. If you want more of a soup consistency add more water.


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