LAweekly’s Artopia

LAWeekly hosted what I hope becomes an annual art, music, food, photography and pretty much everything else festival in downtown Los Angeles recently. Guys, if you get a chance, you should go next time. It was pretty awesome, with artists creating on large canvases, live music (love The Record Company), a XXX peep show and all kinds of food—pretty much anything you could dream up. Continue reading “LAweekly’s Artopia”

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Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

When I start feeling a little stuffy, I like to cut back on dairy, especially before a big run (like, you know, the marathon on Sunday, no big deal). I decided a little spice wouldn’t hurt either, so I found this yummy recipe from Oh She Glows: Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole.

Holy yummers, it was delicious. And super, super easy.  These pictures don’t really do it justice, but I was in such a hurry to chow down that I didn’t pause long to take them. Oops!

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Ingredients:

FOR THE SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ground cumin
  • ground chili powder
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper
FOR THE BLACK BEAN GUACAMOLE:
  • 2 avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice off the stem of the squash and place the squash cut side down on a cutting board. With a chef’s knife, carefully slice through the squash lengthwise to create two long halves. Scoop out the seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop. Brush some olive oil onto the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet and roast for 30-50 minutes, depending on how large your squash is. When the squash is tender and you can easily scrape the strands with a fork, it’s ready. I like to check the squash after 25-30 minutes to make sure I’m not over cooking it. Be sure not to cook for too long or it will turn mushy.

Step 2: While the squash is roasting, prepare the black bean guacamole. Mash the avocado flesh in a large bowl. Fold in the onion, tomato, drained and rinsed black beans, and cilantro. Season to taste with lime juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Step 3: Remove squash from the oven, flip over, and scrape the flesh with a fork in vertical motions. Do this until you’ve scraped all the strands off the skin. Now sprinkle on some chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper (as much or as little as you want). Top the squash with guacamole and serve warm. You can also plate the spaghetti squash, if preferred.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese

Mmm, I love creamy, delicious soup when it’s cold outside (and today it was definitely cold outside). This is a fun one because it has a bit of a tangy taste (thanks, goat cheese!) and is creamy without being heavy (thanks, cauliflower!). I found this recipe on Closet Cooking.

bell peppers soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Place the red peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down, broil until the skins are blackened, about 10 minutes, place in a sealable container and let ‘steam’ for 20 minutes before pinching the skins off and dicing.
Step 2: Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in the oil, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes, mixing once in the middle.
Step 3: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: Add the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Step 5: Add the roasted red peppers, cauliflower, broth, paprika and goat cheese and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing to the desired consistency with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with goat cheese.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

For Slow Cooker: Implement steps 1 and 2, optionally implement steps 3 and 4, place everything except the cheese in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours before pureeing and mixing in the cheese while the soup is still hot so that it melts.

Option: Use jarred or frozen roasted red peppers to save some time; use a can of white beans as the thickener instead of the cauliflower; replace one cup of broth with cream or milk.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 328, Fat 16g (Saturated 6g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 517mg, Carbs 30g (Fiber 7g, Sugars 14g), Protein 17g

A Happy Start to the New Year: Vegan Whole Wheat Waffles

Happy 2014, everyone! Instead of black-eyed peas, we started the new year with whole wheat waffles, a recipe from “Vegan Cooking for Carnivores” by Roberto Martin. Don’t worry, you don’t even have to ask—they are sooo freaking good. Highly recommend. I also recommend buying the cookbook if you’re curious about a vegan diet—Roberto is excellent at making a plant-based diet palatable to those who prefer the meatier side of food.

breakfast

Ingredients

Step 1: In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Step 2: Stir in the milk, water, applesauce and melted butter until well incorporated.

Step 3: Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes while you preheat the waffle iron.

Step 4: Spray the preheated waffle iron with nonstick spray and cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with maple syrup.

*Makes 8 medium waffles.

Marathon Training vs. a Nasty Cold

Marathon training is going so well, to the point where I look forward to 12-mile runs on a Saturday morning. And right smack dab in the middle of all that goodness—a cold hits. Like, I woke up this morning and it was all stuffy nose, sore throat and cough, cough, cough. So now I’m trying to speed heal in order to be ready for our 14-mile training run this weekend. This weekend! So soon!

My go-to cold remedy is always a vegan diet, and the lack of dairy contributes to a lack of mucus, so, hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow morning. We’ll see. (I’m not much for over-the-counter cold meds, they  make me spacey and a little nauseated.) For now, it’s lots of healthy foods and maybe—just maybe—some super helpful advice from my favorite bloggers? Any suggestions for feeling better soon are welcome!

Side note: Because we’re in Los Angeles, we have the chance to try Amazon Fresh grocery delivery. We had bunches of fresh produce delivered today at Trader Joe’s prices. Worth. Every (though not many). Penny.

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Thanksgiving in Ojai

We decided to do something a little different for Thanksgiving this year. Instead of a big family dinner with tons of turkey, stuffing, bread rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, yada yada yada…we decided to take a relaxing holiday, and each person made something different for dinner: pomegranate martinis (from fresh pomegranates!), brie en croute for appetizers, spicy Italian sausage lasagne, caesar salad and pumpkin pie (some traditions we want to keep). It was so delicious! And with our non-traditional meal, there wasn’t the urge to overeat…just to enjoy our food and be thankful. Hope you had a great holiday!

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Moroccan Couscous—My All-Time Favorite Vegan Recipe

So, you guys, this is the best. Whether you’re a meat eater or a plant-based-diet lover, you’re going to love this recipe, it’s so yummy and easy. It’s from Alicia Silverstone‘s “The Kind Diet” and so worth trying.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 cubes
  • 2 cups yellow onion, large dice
  • 1.5 cups carrots, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 cubes
  • 1.5 cups zucchini, cut into 3/4 cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5  cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1.5  cups whole wheat couscous
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: Place the squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Step 3: Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through.

Step 4: While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan.

Step 5: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste.

Step 6: Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.

Step 7: Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl and add the couscous.

Step 8: Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, and pour over the couscous mixture all at once.

Step 9: Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Step 10: Add the scallions, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve

What We All (Should) Know: Preparation=Key

Good morning! Just wanted to share with you my snack prep for the rest of the week (I know, I know, I’m a bit late—hello, Wednesday!—but it’s better than never, right?).

This yummy assortment will turn into: veggie bites with hummus; bananas and apples (missing…left at work, oops!) with almond butter; a slice of toast (Ezekial bread) with avocado and sliced tomato; and this “Easy Ass But Not So Pretty Vegan Quinoa Salad” by The Skinny Confidential (we’ll see if I can recreate it. Not pictured: quinoa, plain hummus, chili flakes, lemon and pomegranate seeds).

Snacks