Spring Pasta Salad

Today really felt like SPRING! So amazing outside!!!!! While we were playing outside I got the idea to make a pasta salad! It just felt right, so seasonal and perfect! LOVE!
I normally make things on a large scale but this was just for my kids’ lunch and husbands’ dinner 😉 So if you want to make this bigger, double or triple the recipe! This salad will taste great right away but also will get more tastier as the flavors get to mingle in the fridge! Yum!

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Spring Pasta Salad

1/2 a box of pasta (1/2 pound) elbow or other
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, diced
1/2 a cucumber, diced
1/2 a can of black olives, quartered
1/2 a can of chickpeas
1/2 an avocado, chopped
1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Bring water to boil and cook pasta according to the pox.
2. While pasta is cooking prep and chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good stir.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and cool for a few minutes. Then add to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
4. Chill further and enjoy!

And here it is as lunch for my littles 🙂 Fun!!!

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Greens and Quinoa Pie

This is a delicious recipe that was perfect for Passover and will definitely be repeated throughout the year! SO good! We love to use quinoa since it is such a super food and so delicious! It is not a grain so totally great for Passover as well 🙂 I doubled this to feed the whole table. Super protein-riffic meal!
Greens and Quinoa Pi
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Greens and Quinoa Pie
Recipe adapted from http://www.vegetariantimes.com
Serves 6
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz.)
  • ¼ cup grated aged goat cheese (1 oz.)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Stir greens into quinoa. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grease a 9-inch pie pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.

Butternut Squash Potstickers

It was my MIL’s birthday so I wanted to come up with a special menu of her favorites. I know she loves Apples, Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter, so I thought those were good ones to start with. I made these potstickers, Apple Cider Caramel Dipped ApplesPeanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites and White Bean Dip and crudite & sliced toasted baguette. (recipes to come!!) YUM!!!

On Lisa Dawn’s site I found an awesome recipe for Butternut Squash Potstickers and knew we would all love them. It was no joke, these are amazing!!!! I used her recipe, the original (from Martha Stewart), added more fresh ginger and we all loved them. I doubled the recipe and made the whole batch while keeping half in the warming drawer to serve a little later. (not too much later as these went fast!!)  also used Lisa’s perfect dipping sauce. Perfection!

I had leftover filling and it was great as a pasta sauce and also for the babies, they LOVED it!

Butternut Squash Pot

Butternut Squash Potstickers
makes about 20 potstickers

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded, flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup tamari
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
20 vegan wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
  1. Place squash, tamari and sugar in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until soft and drain. Mash with a potato masher or immersion blender until smooth. Add the scallions and ginger and mix to combine.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each wrapper; brush edges with water. Bring up corners to make a triangle; press to seal. Place on a baking sheet; freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add 10 potstickers, and cook, shaking pan frequently, until bottoms are golden brown. Turn pot stickers over; very carefully (holding the lid in front of you) pour in 1/2 cup water, and cover. Steam until most liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and repeat with remaining oil and pot stickers. Serve with dipping sauce.

Lisa’s Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, sliced thinly

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Butternut Squash Filling

Butternut Squash Filling

Filling as a pasta sauce

Filling as a pasta sauce

Mini Bean Black Cups Stuffed with Guacamole

This was a really fun dish! I love the idea of the serving cup being edible and not being the typical chip or bread.  For the filling I used avocado guacamole but you could try out something new and fun like Edamame Guacamole or Garbanzo Guacamole.

Mini Bean Black Cups

Mini Bean Black Cups Stuffed with Guacamole
Recipe from cakebatterandbowl.com

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of your favorite guacamole

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 24 cup mini-muffin tray with cooking spray. Pulse black beans, flour, cumin, paprika, salt, and olive oil in a food processor until soft dough forms. Place dough evenly into the 24 mini-muffin cups and form mini-cups by spreading dough up the sides of each cup. Bake the cups for 15 to 20 minutes at 350ºF or until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes, and fill cups evenly with guacamole.

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Layered Lentil and Butternut Appetizers

I hope everyone had a great holiday!!! The season is just beginning! This is a great dish that can be an appetizer or easily adapted into an entree. Perfect seasonal food to keep you toasty & warm! Plus it was AMAZING!

The only thing I would do differently next time is make more and make some of them in kid-friendly serving-ware as they love love loved this dish! The lentils are so easy and similar to what I make often for us as a staple. And the butternut was so amazing and smooth with the coconut milk added to it. YUM!

Layered Lentil and B

Layered Lentil and Butternut Appetizers

Adapted from Eatwell101.com 

Mashed Butternut

  • 1lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Put butternut squash into a pot or a large saucepan and soak up with water, cover and cook until the squash pieces are tender.
  2. Drain the butternut keeping the cooking water.
  3. Then blend it with coconut milk and cinnamon adding a little cooking water to obtain the desired consistency.
  4. Adjust seasoning and pour into the bottom of the glasses.

Mashed Lentil Curry

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 lb green or brown lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large pan, sauté the onions in olive oil.
  2. When the onion is softened , add the lentils, water and curry. Cover and cook until lentils are tender, add a little water during cooking if necessary.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked, drain them keeping the cooking water.
  4. Immersion Blend half of the lentils and add more water depending on desired consistency.
  5. Season to taste.

To create the layers. Pour the squash into the glass first, follow with the lentils and finish by topping your with a second layer of butternut puree. Serve warm or hot.

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One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese

I have wanted to try this one for a while and it was really great. After too many leftover meals in a row this was super welcome and I had all the ingredients already at home! This was so quick and so good, I know it will become a regular!

One Pot Gluten Free

One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from www.pure2raw.com

4 cups water
2 cup quinoa

  1. In small saucepan over high heat bring the water to a boil. Once boiling add quinoa and return to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes *There might be some water left over, but that is okay.
  2. Remove from heat and pour the quinoa into a bowl and set aside.

The cheezy sauce

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I was a little short so I used some almond milk mixed with coconut milk)
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using the same pot that the quinoa was in, place it back on the stovetop over medium heat and add coconut milk and tahini. Whisk together. The tahini will melt into the milk. Then add remaining ingredients and whisk. Raise the heat to be medium high. It will start to thicken, takes about 1-2 minutes. Once it starts getting thick pour the quinoa back in the pot and stir till well combined.

Mini Potato Kugels

I love that all the food we cooked for this year’s Passover Sedar, we cooked as a family! Such a sweet day with the four of us! Most of the recipes we made were also great for year round.

In searching for some kiddo & adult friendly Passover recipes I found this one for Mini Potato Kugels. They are perfect little cups of fried onions and potatoes, so really yummy handheld hash browns 🙂 My kids really liked them (even raw as we were making them) and pressing them into the muffin tins! Plus it was super fun for both of the kiddos to take turns pressing the on/off switch on the food processor to grate these.

I was also inspired because this is one of Mayim Bialik’s recipes and LOVE all things Mayim! True to form it was great 🙂

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Mini Potato Kugels

5 medium potatoes, grated
1 large onion, grated
3 Tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon potato starch

Salt, to taste (somehow I missed that this was not in the recipe, so notice the salt I sprinkled on top 🙂 but best to add to the mixture first!)

  1. Grate the potatoes, and then drain the liquid from them.
  2. Saute the grated onion in 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil until soft but not brown. Add paprika.
  3. Mix onions into the potatoes and add potato starch and 1 more Tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Push into greased muffin tins, filling each muffin space all the way to the top, and spritz with a little more oil.
  5. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes.

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs with Sriracha Mayo

Happy Passover! If you celebrated the last two nights, I hope they were joyous ones!! We are stuffed, exhausted but had a great time!

This year I made a bunch of new dishes (and some old favorites!!)  and they all came out super deelish!! I wanted to concentrate on some kid friendly dishes that I knew the adults would love too. We had fun as a family cooking these up together. So sweet 🙂

This one was a perfect appetizer for Passover or really any party 🙂 It was a hit both nights and we are super happy to have some leftover! I doubled the recipe to make sure we would have enough and will do next time since they everyone loved them!

Mashed Potato Quinoa

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs with Sriracha Mayo
recipe adapted from http://brazenkitchen.com

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs

1 lb. potatoes
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups very finely chopped greens such as lacinato kale, swiss chard or spinach
1-3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread
¼ cup almond milk or rice milk
Salt and pepper to taste
vegan mayonnaise
Sriracha
ketchup
lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Steam or boil until soft. Drain.
  3. Mash the potatoes well or put it through a ricer.
  4. Once the lumps are gone, add all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Using a tablespoon, form into 1 inch balls or using two tablespoons, form the into rough “quenelles” or oblong discs. (I used a mini ice cream scoop/cookie scooper)
  6. Drop into parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the puffs and bake for another 15 minutes.

Sriracha Mayo

  1. Mix Sriracha and mayo to your desired spice level
  2. Kick up with some ketchup and lemon juice.

 

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

I love Gena’s site and have always been happy with how her recipes come out! We love Polenta in our house, so not surprising when I saw this one I had to try! I am such a sucker for appetizers too, they really are always the best part of any meal or party! I made these for several gathering and parties and they were always a hit. Enjoy!!!

You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, and the tapenade up to 3 days. On the day of your party, simply broil the polenta squares and top them with the tapenade. The polenta can also be used as a base for many different seasonings. Try & play around 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes and I am sure many more to come: Creamy Polenta with Barbecue Seitan SauceVegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta Squares with

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
Recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com 
Serves 22 (recipe can easily be halved)

Polenta Party Squares

6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade

Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they’re lightly toasted. You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 cups water
2/3 cups walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes. Allow them to soften for 20 minutes. Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they’re finely ground. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You’re aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.

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Easy Slow Cooker Lentils

My friend Dina told me about a super easy slow cooker lentils recipe. It was really yummy and beyond easy! There is something so nice about placing everything in a slow cooker and hours later having a hot cooked and deelish meal waiting for you! Perfect for weeknight dinners 🙂

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Easy Slow Cooker Lentils

2 cups brown lentils
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (I keep mine peeled and frozen so it is super easy to grate )
1 tsp each garam masala, turmeric, cayenne, cumin
Salt to taste

Mix all of the above in the slow cooker and put in enough water to cover by an inch plus. Cook on high for 2-3 hrs or low for 3-4 hrs. (add more water if needed) I served it with yogurt and chopped cucumber. Deelish!

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