Carmelized Onions and Pesto Quinoa Pasta

We had such a super lovely week of vacation! We spent most of the week out in Sag Harbor relaxing, cooking, practicing yoga with the amazing Colleen Saidman at Yoga Shanti, hanging out with my wonderful sister & brother in law and their adorable twin girls and just generally taking it super easy. (I’ll post some of our other super quick vacation recipes soon!)

We then headed out to Northport to stay with our friend Lisa Dawn. She has a beautiful studio there, Project Yoga, that I was honored to be teaching at this weekend. Such a sweet and blessed space. We spent the rest of the time there at the beach and of course cooking a little more 🙂

As many of you know, I love onions! We bought the most beautiful onions at the Farmers Market in Northport and I wanted to use them right away. Lisa had this amazing Vegan Pesto from Delpozzo at the farmers market so it was just a perfect quick and easy beach meal to throw both these together with quinoa pasta. Easy Peasy!

The pesto was Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, Garlic, Pinenuts, Tofu, Salt and Pepper. Super easy! I have never tried tofu in the my pesto and this was out of control amazing! I usually make my pestos with olive oil, pinenuts (or sometimes other nuts), salt and pepper -occasionally I will add some nutritional yeast. I always like to try new things of course, so I am excited to experiment with this one soon myself.

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite things ever. They come out so sweet and deelish!! All you have to do is cook them down and the sugar in the onions make them super sweet. Yum!

Carmelized Onions and Pesto Quinoa Pasta

 

 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-6 onions (depending on how much you love onions and if you want some for leftovers)
  • 4 ounces of quinoa pasta
  • 2-3 ounces vegan pesto
serves 2

To caramelize the onions, just peel and chop the onions. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onions, stirring. Continue to let the onions cook for a while, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t burn. You can either cover the onions with a lid and let their liquid cook themselves down or for a browner more caramelized version, keep the lid off and the liquid begins to evaporate as the onions begin to brown, just make sure you are stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. You can cook both versions for about 10-20 minutes till you reach your desired color and texture.

After you get the onions in the pan, boil the pasta water. Add the pasta and cook according to instructions.

Then simply combine the onions, pesto and pasta with a bit of salt and pepper and Enjoy 🙂

I kept the cover on for the onions, so they are not as brown, but they are soft and super sweet!

I LOVE it when it says Vegan on it!! So Special!!!

Italian Potluck Night!!

As you know I LOVE Potlucks! And now we have a pretty regular Vegan Themed Potluck Party happening 🙂 Last nights theme was Italian Night! (last month was Asian) SUPER YUM! Not kidding this meal was out of control. We didn’t end up having dessert, but we all happily had seconds of the deelish food!

Lisa Dawn made this OUT of this world lasagna! We have seen her amazing Ricotta Cheese in her Stuffed Shells, but to taste this you would think that this was gourmet ricotta cheese made in Italy. But happily it was Vegan (but still super gourmet :)) And the homemade tomato sauce was also deelish!

Joey made this amazing pesto pasta sans cheese of course. It was so gorgeous with the fresh grape tomatoes and basil! Beautiful and super tasty!

I made my favorite Raw Crisp Caesar Salad with Pinenut parmesan and Artichoke Guacamole with mulit-grain pita chips. Yum!!!

On a side note, I can’t help but brag about Lisa & Paul’s overly impressive and adorable son Luke! Lisa had this great deck of cards with all the US Presidents pictures on them. Luke was able to go through all of them and name them!!! SO CUTE!! And he is under 2 years old!

Such a super great night with friends and deelish vegan food!

Amazing photo courtesy of Lisa's fabulous husband Paul!

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.

Baked Freekah Risotto

I just recently tried out Freekeh “free-kah”. To me it was a new product but I have read that it has been around forever originating in the Middle East. It used to be only found in Middle Eastern markets but now it is popping up in restaurants in NYC and can be found in Whole Foods. Freekeh is a roasted green wheat and can be used in place of rice, bulgur or any grains and substituted in recipes for salads, pilaf, tabbouleh, or soup. I made a baked risotto with the freekeh and it came out sooo good! I used the whole grain version (instead of the cracked) which had a really nutty flavor and texture.

Baked Freekah Risotto

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of one lemon
1 medium onion
sea salt
1 1/2 cups freekeh
1 cup tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 recipe Pinenut Parmesan (below), divided or Nutritional Yeast
1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

Pinenut Parmesan from Raw Crisp Caesar Salad Recipe

1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup whole cashews or macadamia nuts
2 teaspoon good oil or fresh water
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
pinch dried garlic granules or powder
pinch Celtic or sea salt

In a food processor or blender: Chop pinenuts and cashews into a fine meal. Drizzle in a touch of oil or water. Chop in pulses until moist and ground. Add nutritional yeast, dried garlic and salt and chop in pulses until crumbly.

 Baked Freekah Risotto

  1. Preheat oven to 400F, with a rack in the top third. Spray non-stick oil over a 8×8-inch baking dish and sprinkle with lemon zest.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine the olive oil, onion, and a couple pinches of salt. Cook until the onions soften up and begin to become translucent, a few minutes. Add the freekah, stir until well-coated, and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato sauce and the broth. Bring just to a simmer, remove from heat, and stir in about 3/4 of the Parmesan. Carefully taste a bit of the liquid, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Transfer to the baking dish, cover with foil, poke a few slits in the foil, and bake for about 55 minutes or until the grains are cooked through. Uncover and add remaining Parmesan a cook for a few for minutes.

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Braised Greens, Raisins, and Nuts

I love the ‘Skinny Bitch in the Kitch’ Ladies! This is such an amazing and deelish meal and beyond healthy and nutritious. Of course love that too 🙂

Great Combo! We love all things Kale. We have been eating it so many times a week lately and just can’t get enough of this super nutrient-rich green. Expect a bunch more kale recipes coming up soon, but typically we steam it and mix it with some tamari or sea salt and enjoy just like that. So good! But if you want a little something extra, check out some of my other ways to enjoy this amazing vegetable: Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce, Kale Chips, Sunshine Joy Soup, Green Goddess Pasta and of course Everyday Green Juice.

And Spaghetti Squash is always so fun. It really adds a substantial and tasty addition to any meal. I remember as a kid loving to have fun with this one. See here for an extra Simple Spaghetti Squash Recipe.

See the other Skinny Bitch Recipes I have played with and enjoyed here: ‘Chicken salad’ sandwich, Green Goddess Pasta and Vegan Summer Garden Pasta

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Braised Greens, Raisins, and Nuts
adapted from ‘Skinny Bitch in the Kitch
6 servings

4 lb spaghetti squash, scrape out seeds
water
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil
3 cloves of garlic
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced or 2 jalapenos or other hot chiles, seeded and minced
2-3 bunches kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, or combo, cut into 1/2 in. strips
2 cup vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375
  2. Place the squash flesh down in  baking pan. Add 1/2 inch water and bake for about 1 hour, until squash is easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a 4-6 quart stockpot over medium. Add garlic and chiles and cook for 1 min.
  4. Add the greens, stirring until they’re all in the pot. Add 1 cup or more of the stock, 1 tsp of the salt and the raisins. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook until greens are tender, about 10-15 min (15-20 for collard greens) (If pan gets dry before cooked, add more stock a bit at a time, 2 tablespoons as a time)
  6. Stir in the pinenuts.
  7. When the squash is done, use fork to separate the strands into a large bowl. Add olive oil and salt and toss gently.
  8. Transfer “Spaghetti” to plates and top with greens mixture. Garnish with pine nuts and serve.

Simple Roasted Veggies

This is one of those recipes where you can interchange almost any veggie or root vegetable and keep it delicious! When I am cooking a lot of other dishes, it is nice to make a simple veggie side that does not need a lot of attention or prep. It is not the most exciting recipe, but its simple and healthy.

Simple Roasted Veggies

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bunch of broccoli, cut in to florets and stem peeled and chopped
1 cup baby carrots
10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 whole sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine the cauliflower, broccoli, carrots,  garlic, and onion in a roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies and season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place the rosemary around the veggies and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
  2. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes. Using tongs toss the veggies and add more oil if they are too dry. Roast for another 15 or so minutes.
  3. Take out the rosemary and chop up the softened leaves to sprinkle to veggie with.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy! So simple!

Fabulous Pot-Luck part 2

After enjoying plenty of wine and Judith’s Amazing Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschettait was time to sit and enjoy the main course. I made 3 dishes for our pot-luck; a Chestnut and Mushroom Pâté en Croûte, an updated version of my Fresh Summer Bruschetta Pasta, and my go-to brussel sprout recipe. I must say, that everything turned out deelish 🙂

To see the recipe for my Fresh Summer Bruschetta Pasta click on the link. The only differences were that I used red onion instead of shallots and fresh ricotta instead of goat cheese. I also doubled this recipe which could have fed 10+ people! The fresh ricotta was an amazing addition. Mixing it with the hot, fresh pasta made the cheese melt right into it and it was soo good! Because I had doubled the recipe we had tons of leftovers! Good thing Michael really enjoys this dish 🙂

For the side dish I made my go-to brussel sprout recipe. It was inspired around my Aunt Carole and Aunt Joanne’s brussel sprouts. I am so lucky to come from an amazing family full of fabulously talented women! This dish would make a person who thought they hated brussel sprouts a true believer! They are super tasty and so good for you!

I have never written down this recipe so all my measurements are approximates.

For the other entree I made a Chestnut and Mushroom Pâté en Croûte! mmmm! I first made this a few years back when Michael and I were just dating. It is still a main concern of mine to make the most scrumptious food out there, but of course when you are dating you want to really impress! This is an exceptional entree or side dish that is so deeeeelish! Yummy filling and puff pastry, how can you really go wrong? You can play with the filling, for instance if you aren’t into mushrooms just leave them out or substitue some cauliflower or cooked potatoes. This is a luscious and playful dish, have fun with it 🙂 If you want to keep it 100% vegan use soy milk to brush on top of the pastry to get that gorgeous shine instead of an egg wash. (1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of water)

I had a little trouble cutting it, but it was still amazing!

Brussel Sprouts with toasted Pine Nuts

2 pints of brussel sprouts, cleaned and trimmed, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
onions (optional)
salt to taste

In a large pot saute the brussel sprouts with the olive oil and garlic for 5-10 minutes. They will turn bright green and gorgeous! Add in the pine nuts and salt to taste. Enjoy!

*the cooking time depends on if you like your brussel sprouts crispy or cooked through, taste as you cook to tell.

*sometimes I saute some onions beforehand and put them in with the brussel sprouts, always delicious!

*to toast the pine nuts; pour onto a baking sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, being careful that they do not burn.

Chestnut and Mushroom Pâté en Croûte
serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup red wine
2 cups canned chestnuts, pureed
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb frozen puff pastry, defrosted
soy milk or egg wash

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pot, add onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook for 2-5 minutes until most of the liquid has reduced. Remove the pan from heat and add in the chestnuts, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

Roll out the pastry dough into 2 strips. The first should be around 6x12in and the other 9x12in. Place the first strip onto a baking sheet which has been sprayed with cooking spray or water. Spread the chestnut mixture over the pastry, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge. Form the mixture into a neat loaf. Brush the edges with water and lay the 2nd piece of pastry on top. Press the edges down to seal and trim. Make a few steam holes with a fork and brush with soy milk or egg wash.

Bake for 8 minutes and reduce heat to 400degrees and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!!

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