Abundance (2 recipes)

food 002

I used to think that abundance meant having so much more than I needed, that I’d never run out.  Because I struggle the the disease of  ‘not enough-ism’, there were many days spent wanting for excess of everything: money, friends, time, activities, and of course: SUGAR!!.  It was difficult to see that what I had right now was enough.  God forbid my  cup not runneth over in excess every second of the day, right??

Thank goodness life is changing me for the better.  Nowadays I relish in the opportunities I have to find the abundance in what already lies within me and within my grasp….and my fridge.  Take this morning, for instance.  I was cooking for  a potluck tonight, and out of that experience THREE abundance opportunities found me.

Let me explain.

Opportunity #1:    When I open my mind (and my cookbooks), new ideas emerge that I hadn’t seen before.  So, this morning when  I cracked my trusty culinary companion Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison – check her out, she ROCKS!!), I nearly squealed with delight when I auspiciously opened to “Curried Quinoa” and realized I had exactly what I needed to make this dish, down to the frozen peas.

Opportunity #2: Fast forward 2 hrs and I’m stirring away in the kitchen.  I glance at my bowl of left-over carrot pulp from juicing for the quinoa dish…and a cookie recipe idea was born!!  A quick review of the pantry (yes, just enough turbinado for 1 batch….2 eggs left in the carton, the right amount of flour…..perfecto) and I was off and baking.

Perfect timing, too, becuase Matt really needed a healthy homemade treat after a hard morning.  Walking in to the smell of curry and baking cookies is enough to make any troubled soul feel welcomed and loved!

Opportunity #3:   Not so glamarous, but it saved me the $$ and energy of going out for lunch (part of that not-enoughism is wanting for things I don’t have so I can go out and buy them!).  I used the rest of that carrot pulp in my mish-mash lunch of hummus, carrot pulp, beans and avocado, a concoction also inspired by looking around at what I have and keeping my mind open.

I feel good about my kitchen finds and how much fun I had working with the abundance right in front of me.

CURRIED QUINOA (from D. Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for everyone)

2 tbsp oil or butter (I used butter)
1 onion: 1/4 finely chopped, 3/4 coarsely chopped1
1 cup washed quinoa
2 tsp curry powder
salt, pepper to taste
2 zucchini, diced into small cubes
1 cup carrot juice (I juiced 5 carrots)
1 cup peas
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

heat half the oil in a small soup pot, adding the finely diced onion and cook on med for 3 min.  Stir in quinoa, 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups bioling water and then simmer covered for 15 min.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a 10″ skillet.  Add chopped onion, zucchini and remaining curry powder.  Cook, stirring frequently over med heat for 5 min.  Add 1/2 cup water and carrot juice + 1 tsp salt.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes adn add peas adn scallions.  Cook a few minutes more, adding cilantro at the end.  This is a ‘wet’ dish.

food 003

CARROT/COCONUT COOKIES (fresh from the brain of Rebecca this AM)

2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup turbinado
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1.5 cups spelt flour
1 cup br. rice flour
1 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and carrots.  Set aside.  Mix dry ingredients and fold into wet ingredients.  Texture is like that of sugar cookies.  I maked small balls and patted them onto a cookie sheet (1-2″ cookies).  Cook @ 350 for 8 minutes.  Keep moist by storing in airtight container.

Wheat free vegetarian lasagna recipe

Hello all,

I am making a lasagna for a class I teach (titled “off white”, naturally….) and feel the recipe is just too good not to share.

BUT, before I do…a word about the cost of veggies.

You’ve probably noticed an increase in the cost of veggies this year so far.  For instance, I paid nearly $7 for 3 large zucchini for the lasagna.  I feel that the committment to eating “off white” and creating that base of fruits and veggies is going to be more at risk as the cost of “healthy” food rises while junk food stays cheap.  Just today I saw Kellog’s cereals, like Trix, on sale for $1.88/box.  That is quite cheap.  Even in my hayday of eating those items it was difficult to get them for under $2.  It may be that the overlords of processed foods will take advantage of the economic times and tempt us to make choices for economical reasons.

I get it that paying $7/lb for bell peppers (which I heard of today) is not sustainable.  And this blog is all about sustainable, so what can we do to keep our options open?  Here are some ideas.  The recipe is next, I promise 🙂

  • Plant a garden.  Invest in a few  good organic plants (which are inexpensive when they are  small).  Two or three good plants may yield ample amounts to get you through the season
  • Share your garden bounty with friends and trade for what you do/don’t have
  • Buy what is on sale (especially local stuff) and freeze excess.  Frozen veggies and fruits are almost as good as fresh
  • Don’t let those veggies go to waste.  raise your hand if you sometimes throw away produce that goes bad?  At $5-7/lb that won’t happen, right?
  • Shop local farmer’s markets, roadside stands, etc
  • Buy organic frozen veggies when you can and it makes sense for what you are cooking
  • Buy bulk at Costco – share with a friend if its too much

Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Sneaky Spelt Lasagna (wheat free, vegetarian)

7 Vitaspelt Spelt lasagna noodle
1 bag frozen organic chopped spinach
1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
8 oz real mozzarella
8 oz mozzarella almond or rice cheese
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large jar organic marinara sauce, flavored as you like it
1/2 cup cream of tomato organic soup (optional for added flavor)
3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 large zucchini, thinly sliced using a Mandolin or with a knife

Boil noodles to al dente.  Place 3 noodles + 1/2 in the bottom of a lasagna dish.  Mix the marinara with the chopped onion, mushrooms and soup.  Set aside.  Defrost spinach and then add with basil, thyme and ricotta.  Blend until fully mixed.  Shred the cheeses.

Add approx 1/3 of marinara mix to 1st layer of spelt noodles.  Next add similar amount of ricotta mix.  Now add a similar amount of shredded cheese. Add a layer of Zucchini, fully covering the dish (this acts like a pasta layer).  Repeat with the marinara, ricotta and cheese.  Add the last of the noodles.  Add marinara and ricotta layer and THEN ADD 1 MORE ZUCCHINI LAYER.

Finally, coat the top with leftover cheese.

Cook at 375 for 30-40 minutes, with at least 10 of those with the dish uncovered.  It makes A LOT of lasagna 🙂

Other options:

1. use cottage cheese in place of ricotta, or silken tofu, flavored with Italian spices

2. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts into cheese mix for added texture and fat

3. Use only almond or rice cheese for a low/non-dairy option

4. Add about 3/4 lb ground turkey to marinara mix for a carnivorous delight

I Heart WinCo

Winco

If you think that switching to wheat or white sugar free foods means that your stuck shopping at expensive chains like Whole Foods, think again. I’m discovering the wide variety of products available at large, inexpensive chains, like WinCo.

Now before you get up in arms about WinCo being a large grocery chain, or about how unattractive their store is (which I totally agree – no $$ put into decorating, that is for sure!), let’s consider a few things:

  • Not everybody has the $$ to shop at places like Whole Foods or Wild Oats or local health food stores
  • It is more realistic to find the healthy gems of a big chain store and point them out, than to live idealistically and expect everybody to shop farmers markets. That is just reality.
  • Not every town is equipped with a local health food store.

So, here are just a few of my favorite gems, all coming from WinCo, all at good prices:

  • Almond milk Blue Diamond Almond Milk – Sometimes I can even find unsweetened

  • Anney’s Organic Dressings
  • Quinoa – check the bulk section. Better yet, its in the pour out type of bin, versus the kind that you dip your hands in to scoop stuff out…..
  • Spelt flour – bulk section. Sometimes in the pour out section
  • ready-cut collard and mustard greens – near the pre-bagged salads
  • Bulk almond butter: so much cheaper than the jar, and you can buy just what you want. This is especially nice if you are just trying almond butter for the first time and don’t want to invest $7 for a jar.

I am not a big fan of WinCo produce because it looks a little picked over and old, and the organic options for produce are pretty slim. However, I can save so much money on the dry goods and bulk foods, that it is worth a trip, about 1x/month.

My husband and I also go to Winco to buy snacks for mountaineering/snowshoeing or travel because they have some unique options, and we can get everything we need.
In a typical pre-travel grocery trip, we get the following:

  • Flax chips (bulk)
  • raw almonds (bulk)
  • some trail mix w/less thant 10g of sugar (bulk)
  • rice cakes (WAY cheaper than any other store, except Trader Joes)
  • Think Thin bars and/or Luna bars for climbing/mountaineering/snowshoeing
  • Peanut butter (Smart balance) or sometimes Almond butter in bulk! WAAAYYYY cheaper than buying it in a jar