Friday, February 22, 2013

Ginger Veggie Stir Fry

Ginger veggie stir fry, a classic dish that is packed full of vegetables.  This dish is a staple in our house.  Often, we simply see what veggies we have leftover from the rest of the week, and throw all of them into the wok or saucepan.  It is hard to go wrong with this fiery, sweet, and filling meal.  The variety of colors you see in your pan speaks wonders to all the nutrition you are about to consume.  Enjoy! 
You can see all the bright colors as you
mix all the veggies together!

Ginger Veggie Stir Fry

1/2 Cup cold water
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Cups broccoli and or cauliflower
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup chopped onion
1 Clove garlic, minced
1/2 Cup fresh sugar snap peas, tips and strings removed
1/2 Of a large red or green sweet pepper, cut into strips
1/2 Can baby corn, drained and halved
1/2 Can sliced water chestnuts, drained

In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, and ginger; set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add broccoli and/or cauliflower, carrot, onion, and garlic; stir-fry for 6-8 minutes or until just tender.  Add peas, sweet pepper, baby corn, and water chestnuts; stir fry for 2 minutes

Stir cornstarch mixture; add to vegetables in wok or skillet.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Serve over cooked brown rice

*Note:  You can always add more or less of any veggie.  Don't feel restrained to just this list.  It's more of a list of suggested veggies!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Healthy Vegan Nachos

Malissa and I have been getting several requests for recipes involving snack foods, and kid-friendly meals where they won't realize they are eating something healthy.  Because of this, we decided to try a couple of our recipes on our twin nieces to see if they are worthy of being called kid-friendly.  These nachos have all-natural ingredients, are gluten free, and vegan.  They also passed the test; the twins loved them!

Our niece Kailey said they were delicious!
Vegan Nachos

-Tortilla Chips (look for some that only have three ingredients: Corn, oil, salt)
-Red or Green Pepper Slices
-Black Beans
-Vegan Refried Beans (If not homemade, make sure the canned version you buy says its vegetarian)
-Salsa (If you buy it from the store, make sure it has all-natural ingredients. Pace is a good brand)
-Pickled Jalapenos (optional)
-Olives (optional)
-Vegan Cheese (we like vegan gourmet, non-gmo, gluten free.  Can be found in most health-food sections of grocery stores)

Layer aluminum foil on a cookie sheet.  Lay out chips over sheet, top the chips with all the ingredients except salsa, in whatever order you choose.  Finish with cheese sprinkled all over the chips.  Put in the over at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Top with salsa.  Enjoy!

Homemade guacamole also goes great as a topper for this!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vegan valentine cooking class

    Malissa and I thought it would be a blast to begin attending a free monthly vegan cooking class held at Sprouts Farmers Market.  The class is always full of good food and great fun!  Because of Valentine's day, this month's class was based around some delicious chocolatey treats!
We learned some great new recipes and discovered a phenomenal product to use when trying to make our own delectable desserts.

    It was no surprise that the first dessert made was the classic chocolate covered strawberries.  These were made with a specific brand of chocolate that was incredible!  It is called Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.  I was amazed to find out that these chocolate chips only had three ingredients! (all organic: cane juice, chocolate liquor, dairy-free cocoa butter).  They are vegan and gluten free as well.  Malissa and I bought some and used it for our own chocolate covered strawberries last night and they were divine! I will never go back to any other kind of chocolate.

    Next on the menu was the chocolate peanut butter cups.  They used the same chocolate, melted it and set it in a mold, then dropped a small ball of peanut butter in the middle of each one.  Although their peanut butter was vegan and organic, I wasn't impressed with how much sugar was in it.  I am someone who loves the deep, rich flavor of dark chocolate and this one was sweetened up too much.  Also, they used too much sugar for me to justify calling it "healthy".  That being said, this would be easily fixed!  We are going to make this same dessert, use peanut butter that only has one ingredient (you can probably guess what that ingredient is), use less sweetener and only a natural variety.  These have some great potential and are extremely easy!  I am excited to give it a try.

Overall, this month's class was exciting and great fun!  The enjoy life chocolate has found a permanent place in our cupboard and I am thrilled at the prospect of finding new recipes to use it in.
Happy Valentines Day!

February 28th we are attending a free raw foods cooking class by chef Vickie Talmadge!  Hope to see you there!

Click Here for the store's address

Vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Yesterday was Valentine's day so of course Malissa and I had to make chocolate covered strawberries for dessert!  The day before, we discovered a new chocolate that we have been completely converted to.  It's called  Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.  These chocolate chips had a great taste, are vegan, and only have three ingredients!  The strawberries were great!  We ate them with the chocolate still nice and melty, however, the chocolate hardens nicely and gives you a crunchy treat for later.

Vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 Case strawberries
1/3 Package vegan Chocolate Chips (can be found in the health food section of most grocery stores)

Melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for about a minute and a half.  Stir, dip strawberries in melted chocolate.  Either eat immediately, or place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's Talk Frozen Fruit!

Unlike me, Malissa loves having dessert after every dinner.  She has the worlds biggest sweet tooth, and I thought finding a way to satisfy that was going to be hard!  Fortunately, we found a secret weapon.  Frozen fruit!  There are so many ways to prepare and enjoy healthy and delicious desserts using these things.  Here is a list of your favorite fruits that you can turn into your favorite desserts:

Bananas-  Occasionally, we have too many bananas to use before they go bad. There are a couple of things you can do to preserve these and turn them into delicious desserts.  First, you can peel and slice them, then freeze them and turn them into banana ice cream (Add some frozen raspberries to it and it is divine).  Another great idea is to melt some cacao chips (oh so good! They have a bit of sugar in them, but aren't too bad) and cover the bananas in the melted chocolate.  Freeze the bananas and have frozen chocolate bananas! YUM!

Berries-  Berries can be easily frozen and used in many different ways.  A Sorbet (with any type of berry) only takes 2 minutes to make and is amazing!  Frozen berries are also great to be used in smoothies (for more tart berries, add a bit of agave or other natural sweetener to the smoothie).  They make a great topper for other desserts, or on cereals in the morning as well.   Although some frozen berries can be a bit tart, many are also great to just eat plain.

Grapes- Frozen purple grapes have become my new favorite treat! (green grapes work too, but aren't as sweet)  You can leave them whole, or if they have seeds, just cut them in half and throw them in the freezer.  If you need something sweet, open your freezer and start eating.  The texture compliments the already delicious taste and will make you wanting more and more.

Peaches- Oh man I love peaches! Peaches for me! I could eat millions of peaches!  At the end of peach season, buy a bunch and freeze them for later use.  These need to be cored and sliced to freeze properly.  To preserve freshness, they either need to be vacuum sealed, eaten quickly,  or have some citrus juice or "fruit fresh" added to them.  These have a better texture and taste much better than canned peaches.  Also, canned peaches have added sugars and the nutrients have been sucked out of them, whereas frozen peaches retain some nutrients with no added sugars.  This same technique can be used with plums and nectarines.

This is a short list of the MANY fruits you can freeze.  What frozen fruits have you enjoyed?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Marinara Portobello Spaghetti


Portobello mushrooms are incredible.  They provide an amazing texture and a deep flavor that will have you melting after your first bite.  Because of how filling they are, people often use these mushrooms as a replacement for meat in their favorite recipes.  Obviously, I am not one of those people (Portobello mushrooms are way too delicious to be looked at as a simple “meat substitute!”).  This recipe is surprisingly easy and very delicious.  The garlic and onions mixed in with the mushrooms brings an extraordinary flavor to the marinara sauce, and you can rest easily, knowing that there is nothing but healthy ingredients in every bite!

Marinara Portobello Spaghetti

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Large shallot, finely chopped (if not available, just add an additional ¼ cup onion)
2 Cloves garlic, minced
¼ Cup onions, chopped
2 Portobello mushrooms, cut in ½ inch squares
2 Medium tomatoes, cut in ½ inch squares
The finished product before serving over spaghetti
24 Ounces tomato sauce (three 8 ounce cans)
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (or to taste)
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1 Small package whole wheat spaghetti, cooked

Over medium heat, sauté shallot, garlic, and onions in olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, sauté for 5 more minutes.  Add tomatoes, sauté for an additional 5 minutes.  Mix in tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and simmer until warm.  Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.  Enjoy! 

Bon Appetite

Friday, February 8, 2013

Healthy Homemade Refried Beans

A good friend of mine, Neil Reed has been looking for a healthy refried bean recipe.  I was introduced to this recipe when I first began eating healthy and it has been a favorite ever since!  Very easy to make and extremely delicious!  You can make this will all sorts of different bean variations as well.

Healthy Homemade Refried Beans

4 cups dry pinto beans (soak overnight, pour water off and rinse)
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Cook beans in big pot covered in water about 3-4 inches above beans.
Add all ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer 5-8 hours until water is
blended with beans to desired consistency (make the consistency just a little less than what you want.  It will thicken a bit as it cools).  Mash beans and stir well.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Malissa and I love quinoa (Keen-wah).  It is a protein packed grain that tastes fantastic!  In fact, every time I see this dinner scheduled on our meal plan, my mouth starts to water.  With a great lime dressing, lots of healthy veggies, and a garlic kick, this one is definitely a favorite as a side or a main course.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa (If you can, find it in the bulk section of the grocery store.  That will save a lot of money)
3 cups cold water
½ t salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (or 1 T minced fresh ginger)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped celery
1 carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced thin diagonally (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh yellow or green beans (optional)
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 t cumin powder
1 t coriander powder
1 large ripe tomato
½ c sliced olives (optional)
2 cups cooked black beans (drain and rinse well)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro or basil
¼ c chopped scallions

2 T freshly squeezed lime juice,
¼ cup olive oil
1 t salt
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch cayenne or chili powder

Place quinoa, water and salt in 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside. Sauté jalapeno, fresh garlic, celery, carrots and beans in 1 Tablespoon oil until garlic is browned and pepper and celery are softened. Add green and red peppers and sauté briefly. Add cumin and coriander and remove from heat.

Blend dressing ingredients with a whisk. Gently combine sautéed veggies, tomatoes, olives, black beans, quinoa and dressing in a large bowl. Stir in cilantro and scallions. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cover
and chill.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Bi-Weekly Meal Plan

Meal Planning has been great for the following two weeks.  We found some amazing deals on celery, carrots and oranges (10 POUNDS of oranges for 2 DOLLARS!)  As a result, we are planning on making a lot of great tasting juice! YUM!

Here is our dinner meal plan for February 5th-16th

Oriental Noodle Bowl (coming soon!)/Oranges
Taco Salad, Guacamole, Mexican Rice/ Juice: carrot, celery
Marinara Portobello Spaghetti/Spinach Salad/ Juice: Orange
Leftovers/ Juice: carrot, celery, apple
Family dinner
Wild Mushroom Stroganoff (coming soon!)/Beets, Beetgreens/Frozen Grapes
Dumpling Soup (coming soon!)/Juice: orange, apple, spinach
Ginger Veggie Stir-fry (coming soon!)/Juice: orange, apple, spinach, celery
Tortilla Soup/ Garden Salad

Hope you enjoy your meals for the next two weeks!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Perfect Homemade Guacamole

In honor of the big game yesterday, this post is dedicated to a favorite among snack foods.  This guacamole will only take a couple minutes, is inexpensive, and is extremely delicious!  Although the chips you dip into the guac generally aren't healthy, you can find tortilla chips that aren't too bad.  Look for tortilla chips that only have three ingredients:  Corn, oil, salt (lime is okay too).  Read the labels carefully and you can go home knowing that you aren't eating any terrible preservatives or MSG's.  Although football is over, March Madness right around the corner so grab your dip and watch some ball!

Easy Guacamole

3 Small avocados (or 1-2 big ones)
2/3 Cup salsa (we use pace, no bad ingredients in it) 
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 Cup non-dairy sour cream (optional, makes it a little creamier, you can find it in the health food section of most grocery stores. MAKE SURE you get the non-hydrogenated kind, it's usually in a blue container)
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper or chili powder, to taste (optional)

Cut, peel and pit avocados.  Add all ingredients to food processor (if you don't have a food processor, simply mash the avocados in a bowl).  Puree for only a few moments to mix all the ingredients, while still leaving it a bit chunky.  Place in bowl and enjoy! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Healthy 2-Minute Strawberry Sorbet

It's time for a delicious dessert here at the Moench household.  Because we have our summer strawberries frozen and waiting for us, this beauty only took about two minutes to make and was so good!  We could feel good eating it too, knowing that this delicacy had no harmful ingredients.

Strawberry Sorbet

16 Ounces frozen strawberries
1 Cup soymilk (Almond or coconut milk works too)
1/4 Cup natural sweetener (we use agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy (you may have to push down the excess from the sides with a spatula).  Serve immediately or store in freezer until serving time.