Super Bowl

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about the Super Bowl lately but honestly I have no idea who is playing. I do know that it is today and many of you have planned your food already. If you are a bit of a procrastinator you can still show up with great food.

Here are a few of my top picks…

The Best Chili EverThe Chili is completely customizable to suit your spice tolerance. I’ve even had some of the most committed meat eaters sing it’s praise to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus. Make it quickly by using canned beans, canned diced tomatoes, and peppers.Grilled Portobello Burgers and Vegan Potato Salad

If you’d rather have a burger try a Bean Burger or a Portobello Burger. Most grocery stores have something suitable in the freezer section; read the ingredients in because their could be something scary lurking. Potato salad or sweet potato wedges would make a great side dish.

NachosNachos are by far one of the best party foods. Try it with precooked quinoa (it comes in little pouches near the rice) seasoned with taco seasoning, canned refried Beans, then whip up some Faux Cheese Sauce.

Even if you don’t go that far you can still pick up some chips, salsa, and guacamole; yes it is easy but it’s also good.

Strawberry ParfaitOf course you will also need dessert. Try Making a large parfait, it’s easier than making individual cups. A large container of yogurt (I like coconut milk yogurt), fresh berries, and store-bought granola comes together in a few minutes. It makes an impressive presentation in a large clear bowl and you can even add dark chocolate chips for an unexpected indulgence.

large fruit bowlDon’t underestimate the power of a large bowl of fresh fruit. It is beautiful and tasty, more impressive than the customary veggie tray. Mix peanut butter and melted chocolate together (maybe a little maple syrup if needed) to make a delicious fruit dip; label the dip for anyone with peanut allergies.

What are your suggestions for last-minute Super Bowl Food?

Faux Cheese Sauce

faux cheese and pico

When we first switched to a plant-based diet, faux cheese sauce became a very important part of our arsenal. We ate a lot of Mexican food (we still do) but it wasn’t the same without all of the cheese we used to add. After a few months we no longer craved the cheese, or faux cheese and rarely made it. It was just an extra step that we usually forgot.

I love making faux cheese sauce for plant-based newbies. They are usually really missing their dairy and this really hits the spot. We don’t love it by itself but it’s great as part of the dish, I also don’t like tomatoes much by them selves but love salsa and tomato based sauces.

Faux Cheese Sauce

Faux Cheese Sauce (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour* (wheat flour can be used instead)
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin**
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder**
  • 1 c plant milk (I use rice or unsweetened almond milk)

*For a thicker sauce add extra flour.**These are optional but best used for a Mexican inspired flavor.

Do

  1. In a medium sauce pan add all dry ingredients and place on medium heat.
  2. Stir with a wisk as dry ingredients are heated and begin to toast. Don’t let them burn!
  3. Once they are warmed and begin to be very fragrant (again, not burnt) add the plant milk and wisk often.
  4. Once sauce becomes thick remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Serve

I like this drizzled over potatoes, broccoli, mixed into a casserole, or best yet on nachos. Unlike other recipes I’ve tried this one stays pretty fluid and is versatile enough to use in a number of different recipes. I’ll have more recipes coming using this sauce next month. :)

Meal Plan Monday: It’s Almost Christmas

Salad and GF Pasta

Right now I’m sitting on my couch eating chocolate chip cookies. Shh! Don’t tell anyone.

We’ve had more than our fair share of Christmas parties over the last few weeks. Our overly busy schedule has resulted in quite a bit of takeout too. Last week I failed to make a Meal Plan and we definitely paid for it.

nachos (1)

Meal Plan

Breakfast is usually oatmeal with ground flax, chia seeds, walnuts, and maple syrup. I love it! It’s my favorite breakfast right now and my boys love it too. Some mornings we have a quick bowl of cereal or toast with almond butter instead.

Lunch is usually leftovers. I typically have beans and grains already cooked and waiting in the fridge. I pair them with some veggies for an easy lunch. My husband usually has a huge salad for lunch or leftovers with a generous helping of steamed broccoli.

Snacks are usually fruit, green smoothies, and lately chips and salsa. Some friends made us a big batch of delicious homemade salsa. :)

Dinner will be eaten out a couple of times this week. I also plan to make Nachos one night, put that salsa to good use! I still have some leftover Chili and baked potatoes from the weekend. I’ve been craving marinara sauce so we may have gluten-free pasta, we don’t eat pasta very often so it will be a treat for the kids. I usually serve it with a giant salad. I’m considering making Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole if we start to run low on leftovers; I doubt that will happen because it’s pretty full of Mexican food leftovers from a party I co-hosted on Sunday evening. :)

I also hope to do a little baking this week. I bought some fresh cranberries for a loaf of cranberry bread. I may even attempt a gluten-free version. I’ve also been playing around with a new chocolate mousse recipe that I’m very excited about.

What are you eating this week? Do you find it’s more difficult to stay on track during the holidays and how so you combat the craziness?

 

 

Bean and Grain Bowl

I’ve mentioned that I LOVE to make (eat and share) Bean and Grain Bowls; I’ve said it often enough I assume you know what I mean but in case you don’t allow me to explain.

I try to have at least one type of grain and one type of bean cooked and in the fridge at all times. It doesn’t always happen but it is a goal none the less. I keep a few cans of beans in the pantry too.

I recently had a lunch meeting where lunch was being provided, I didn’t know what would be served but I was certain I wouldn’t be able to eat it. As I was rushing to get ready I stopped and put some cooked quinoa, some rinsed black beans (from a can) and a few tablespoons of salsa in a container. I didn’t even taste test it.

Once I got to the meeting pizza was being served. A friend of mine, who is working toward a Plant-Based diet, was there too; I gave her a taste of my quinoa and bean bowl and she LOOOVED it! She went out and bought the ingredients and made it for her family.

You don’t have to use quinoa and black beans AND it doesn’t have to be in a bowl.

This was made with cooked Barley (not gluten free), pinto beans, and homemade salsa served on a corn tortilla (pictured above). It was very tasty as well. If you are looking for maximum “comfort food” taste without the guilt you can make these nachos, pictured below, using a grain that has been seasoned with Mexican spices. I like to use my homemade taco seasoning, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder, sometimes I’ll add cumin and tomato sauce.

Brown rice, chickpea’s and steamed veggies make a great bowl as well, if you’re looking for more flavor add in your favorite Asian inspired sauce.

Yesterday I even mixed up some beans and grains that stuffed them into bell peppers then stuck them on the grill. One pepper contained my usual quinoa and black beans with corn, diced tomatoes, and jalapenos; but the other was quinoa and lentils.

So let your imagination run wild, as wild as beans and grains can get. Maybe try a different grain every week. I use quinoa a lot but millet  and amaranth are also good options. Some grains like Rye, Wheat, and Barley naturally contain gluten so if you are gluten free you may want to do a little research before trying them.

Meal Plan Monday: Unscheduled

This will be a different kind of week for us. Our big kids are visiting this week, at least three of us have a stomach bug that is going around, and we plan to eat out a few times. With all of that in mind the Meal Plan will be a little less planned out this week.

Meal Plan

Breakfast will be cereal, oatmeal, and toast with fruit. It kind of a free for all at breakfast time. We also have leftover pancakes and breakfast stir fry from yesterday’s brunch.

Lunch will be leftovers, PB&J, easy pasta with marinara, wraps or bean burritos. 

Snacks will be hummus and veggies, crackers, apples and banana’s with peanut butter, chips and salsa, and smoothies.

Dinner is a bit up in the air. Since a few of us are a little sick it is hard to plan out our week. We are hoping to go to the zoo one day, my husband and the big kids are planning a trip to the driving range and the big kids will be spending time with friends as well. With that in mind we plan to eat:

Nachos made with quinoa/lentil “meat”, Unfried Beans, guacamole, Homemade Salsa, and faux cheese sauce.

Burritos made with beans, Mexican Rice, and other fixings.  

Fajita’s using my Portobello Fajita recipe along with all of the things I mentioned above. 

I also plan to make some carrot cake cupcakes this week.

Do you notice a trend, yes we love Mexican food. Our big kids who are not plant-based eaters will be very receptive to this menu. We want our new lifestyle to be inviting to them. Hopefully they don’t get sick or else we may all be living on a steady diet of crackers this week.