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Sarah Lawrence

Eat this!

I love taking recipes that my friends are making and converting them into things that my family can eat.  For one thing, it gives me a challenge.  But, more importantly, it helps my kids feel like they are being included in the "hip" culinary circles that their friends enjoy.   It's a BIG DEAL to feel like you CAN eat "NORMAL FOOD" when you are dealing with dietary restrictions... no matter what your age, stage or reason. So I took on the taquito.  These things are the rage on pinterest and kids are bringing them in for snack at school and super star moms are baking them up as after school snacks.  I'm in, I figured.  Let's do this!  Scale the recipe up if you have time and par bake the taquitos for 5 minutes, then remove them, cool them and wrap them individually to freeze!  Love it! Make it a meal: (adjust option to suit your family -- we round things out with BIG salads!)
  1. add a chopped salad (chopped greens, cukes, tomato, celery, red onion, pepper, avocado, carrot, berries, nuts, etc)
  2. add a soup (a brothy veg soup with fresh tomatoes, a hit of cayenne and lime and lots of cilantro would be great with the taquitos!)
Now, high five me and get in that kitchen! :) 003 Sarah's Baked Black Bean Taquitos ~ serves 4 for dinner, more as a snack ~
  • 1 can(822g) black beans (or 2.5 cups homemade)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (or salsa of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp dairy free cream cheese (I use Tofutti or Daiya)
  • 1 cup dairy free shredded cheese (I used Daiya)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 package gluten free tortillas -- many corn tortillas are ok, but check for wheat flour as some brands are labeled as corn but also include wheat
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Drain the beans and toss them in a good sized bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except the tortillas!) and stir until combined.
I find that steaming my gluten free tortillas makes them pliable enough to roll, so I set up a pot with about an inch of water, get that boiling and them set a cookie cooling rack on top of the open pot.  I set the stack of tortillas on the rack and cover with an oversized pot rack so they can steam for a few minutes.
  1. Now, take one tortilla and lay it out on your work surface.  Add about 3 Tbsp of filling in a line down the left edge.  Then fold the left edge over the filling and roll it tightly to the right.
  2. Lay the rolled taquito on a sheet tray and continue until you've used up your filling and tortillas.
  3. Put the pan into the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the edges just brown.
  4. Remove and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Sarah Lawrence

Simple Detox Recipes ~ because I love you <3

Special Waves and Warm Welcome to all you new Blog followers!  So glad to have you here.  I can't wait to hear from you and get to know you.  Please join me over on Facebook too --- click the link on the right side of this post.  I just can't get enough of all you lovelies!  xoxo ********** So, last week I completed a 10 Day Detox with a great group of people.  I designed the Detox to be gentle by reducing stimulants like caffeine and sugar before cutting them out, then using a clean dietary approach to support the body’s natural detox pathways.  Gotta tell ya… my Detoxers were ROCKSTARS!  Most lost 4 pounds during the 10 days and one SuperStar dropped 7 pounds and was absolutely glowing.  I confess that I feel a bit guilty to have kept the 10 Day Detox on the hush, but I’m ready to share a secret with you --- (you’re truly the first to know!)  --- On March 4th I am launching my next program:  “10 Weeks to a Healthier You!”  Because I work really closely with my clients, I am only opening 15 spots in this exclusive program.  I will be accepting applications from people who are ready to make some healthy habits a reality, so if this is you, be on the lookout for an update with all the deets tomorrow.  I have great bonuses and goodies for all you Early Birds who want to jump right in!  Just think --- you can be on your way to achieving any of your New Year’s weight loss resolutions in time for Mother’s Day!  Build on the momentum of love from Valentine’s Day and give yourself this gift.  Promise I’ll be back tomorrow with more so you can get in on the goodness.  (You’re totally worth it!) Phew!  Now that I’ve let my secret slip, I feel much better!  (Here’s the song in my head --- “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…”)  Back to business ~ I meant to post and share the love before Valentine’s Day, but life got busy with classroom parties and lots of valentines to prepare.  I want all of you to feel the love so this post is a host of pics and recipes from the detox.   Simple meals make me happy and keep me healthy and they can do the same for you!  Foods that support detoxification are tasty, colorful and filling, but don’t take my word for it… try it yourself and let me know what you think!   Breakfast = Breaking the Fast Liquid nutrition in the form of smoothies and juices is a fabulous way to FLOOD your cells with nutritional love! Mixed Berry Blast 1 cup frozen mixed berries 1 frozen banana 3 kale leaves, stems removed A big handful or two of baby spinach, washed (go for two cause you're a rockstar!) 1 - 1½ cups almond milk Put everything in the Vitamix or blender and whiz 050until quite smooth. My Beeting Heart Juice 1 large organic beet, scrubbed 1 large organic cucumber 3 kale leaves, stems removed 6 swiss chard leaves, stems removed 3 large carrots, peeled 1 red apple Cut all the veg in pieces that will fit in your juicer.  Juice according to your juicers directions or blend in a Vitamix and strain using a nutmilk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. [caption id="attachment_706" align="alignleft" width="256"]Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me! Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me![/caption]   043 [caption id="attachment_705" align="alignright" width="300"]Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old! Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old![/caption] Mid-day and Evening Meals Go for 80% raw and 20 % cooked whole foods for your lunch and dinner meals.  Raw foods provide live enzymes and accessible nutrients.  Cooked whole foods provide the comfort of warmth and variety in texture. Simple Salad for 4 8 cups of mixed salad greens (mesculin greens, kale, romaine, spinach, chard, frisee, red or green leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, endive, mustard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens) 4 cup diced veg of your choice (tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, red or green onion, celery, carrot, mushroom, beet) 1 diced avocado 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds or sesame seeds ¼ cup chopped cashew, almond or brazil nuts ¼ cup fresh herbs (dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mix of thyme/oregano, mint) 2 cups mixed fresh fruit (optional, but great for variety) The possibilities with salad are never ending.  I use a variety of greens for lots of color and texture. Family Friendly tips: 
  1. Let you kids choose the veggies and fruits for the salad. 
  2. Once your greens are washed have your kiddos tear the leaves into fork friendly pieces.
  3. Fill it up!  We have a large oval platter that is great for serving salad family style.  How much salad do you need?  It is really easy to judge once you’ve served salad family style a few times because you will be able to eye-ball it based on your experience.  I know that if we fill up the platter with greens, pile on the veg and add the toppings that the whole thing will go… so all I need to say is “Fill it up” and my people can have fun while practicing a healthy habit.
  4. Let your kids serve themselves if they are old enough to manage a fork.  It’s a life skill.  I find that my kids take what they need and it’s usually more than I would have put on their plates. 
  5. Pour on the props!  Praising the kiddos (and any reluctant adults at the table) is a great way to ensure that they will feel good about making healthy choices.  Praise builds confidence, so when they try a new combo, give them credit and ask them how things taste and if they would make the same salad again.
*** Just think, it’s as easy as P-I-E ~ Praise Involve Encourage! [caption id="attachment_704" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 Simple Salad for 4[/caption] [caption id="attachment_711" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries[/caption] Raw Bowl with Beans 1 cup raw mushrooms, sliced 2 cups kale or spinach, stems removed and leaves sliced into strips ¾ cup raw sauerkraut (homemade or one like Bubbies) 1 cup cooked beans of your choice (homemade is great; no sugar if using canned beans) 040 Triple Nut Veg Burger 1 large onion, quartered 2 stalks celery, quartered 1 clove garlic 1/2 cup almonds 1/2 cup cashews 1/2 cup walnuts ½ cup hemp seeds 1 bunch parsley, stems removed 2 slices gluten free, dairy free millet bread or GFV breadcrumbs ¼ cup nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp sea salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup lemon juice ½ cup white beans (optional, makes patties a firmer texture) Put onion, celery, garlic, nuts, seeds and parsley into your food processor and pulse until everything is fine but not a paste.  Tear the GFV bread into pieces or add the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and pulse again.  Add lemon juice a little at a time to get the mixture to a consistency that you can shape into patties. Heat a cast iron skillet (or your favorite skillet) and place ½ cup size patties on until one side is golden, then flip.  Serve. An alternative to cooking these bad boys is to shape them and pop them into your dehydrator.  The flavor remains bright and the texture becomes much firmer than what you get in the skillet, even with the bean option.  I like the non bean burger, dehydrated and crumbled into lettuce leaves with salsa for a tasty taco like yum. ***Depending on the size of your veggies you should get at least 6 patties, likely a few more. [caption id="attachment_712" align="alignleft" width="640"]Triple Nut Veg Burger Triple Nut Veg Burger[/caption] Tomato Vegetable Soup  ~ you may want to double this one and freeze half 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped red onion ¼ teaspoon sea salt 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup shredded carrot 1 cup chopped celery 1 24-ounce jar diced tomatoes or 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, diced 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (gluten free) 2 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp cayenne, chipotle or smoked paprika (optional) fresh parsley leaves, garnish Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. 026

Sarah Lawrence

No Bake Brownie Bites

[caption id="attachment_593" align="alignleft" width="300"]No bake brownie Bites No bake brownie Bites[/caption] It is a hot one in New England today.  Scorchers like today just don’t make me want to bake, but I’ve been itching to try a black bean brownie recipe that my friend Kerri created.  With the humidity though, not even a battalion of flying monkeys was going to make me turn on the oven!  So, a little blitzing with a batch of black beans and a few yummy raw staples and a nifty, no bake, nut free brownie bite was born.  My favorite bite was one I rolled with a few dried blueberries.  If you like an earthy flavor, go for the buckwheat.  Otherwise, try the GF oat flour for a mild canvas and a great bite of heart healthy oat fiber.  *nut free, gluten free, dairy free No Bake Brownie Bites 1 cup oat flour (choose gluten free if you need it) or 1 cup raw sprouted buckwheat flour * or a combination of both flours -- buckwheat is earthy, oat is neutral 12 medool dates, pitted, about 1 cup 1-2 droppers of liquid stevia or a few more dates to taste ¼-½ cup cacao powder 1 ½ cups black beans, unseasoned (drained and rinsed if from a can) ¼ cup water ¼ cup coconut oil Add ins of your choice – see end of recipe In your food processor, pulse the pitted dates a few times until they start to break down and get like a paste.  Add the black beans and process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you get a ball of dough.  You may need to add a bit more water or coconut oil depending on the moisture content of your beans and dates.  The consistency we’re going for is something like a stiff cookie dough or play dough. I like to line my small stone baking pan (8x6 or 8x8) with parchment paper, tip out the dough and press it firmly into the corners and then flat on the pan.  Fold the parchment over the mixture and refrigerate it so it firms up a bit more. Cut into ½ inch pieces.  Now you can get creative… you can roll the pieces into balls like truffles and swirl them around in cocoa or cacao powder, cinnamon, coconut, chopped nuts, matcha powder, powdered berries.  You can mix in dried fruit; dried blueberries and chopped dried cherries are my favorite.  You can leave the bites as squares and drizzle with chocolate sauce or spread with a thin layer of ganache.  Bottom line is that these are slightly sweet, fiber rich, heart healthy bites. *To make sprouted buckwheat flour start with raw buckwheat groats.  Soak them for about 2 hours, then rinse and drain.  Let the soaked groats sit in a sprouting bag or a glass container (lightly covered with a clean cloth) overnight.  Rinse the groats after 24 hours.  If they are sprouting, great… if not, let them sit another night.  Once the groats have nice sprout tails you can either set them on a baking sheet and let them dry before grinding them to flour or you can pop them in a dehydrator.  If you have a dehydrator, you’ll know what to do with it.  Otherwise, rinse the sprouts gently and drain them, then lay them on a baking sheet and let them dry out overnight.  You may need to stir them or flip them to help them dry evenly.  I used about 1 ½ cups of sprouted buckwheat groats to get my 1 cup of flour.  A clean coffee/spice grinder makes quick work of this job, but a food processor will work too. BONUS: My Daily Green --Red Cabbage, grapefruit and ginger Salad
  • thinly sliced red cabbage with grapefruit, pickled ginger and a splash of rice wine vinegar
  • a few handfuls of seasonal greens

Sarah Lawrence

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

Cooked a batch of chickpeas this week... so chickpeas get to star in a few meals. Here's the result of my kitchen fun on Sunday. We enjoyed this curry for lunch yesterday. Want to stretch it? Add a bit more tomato and almond milk or even veg broth to make more of a sauce and you could easily serve this over rice, quinoa, millet or noodles.  Round everything out with a big beautiful salad!   [caption id="attachment_565" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry"]Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry[/caption] Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry 3 cups cooked chickpeas 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed 1 leek, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 large tomato, diced (1-2 cups total), reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish 3 Tbsp curry powder (your choice) 2 cups water 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk 1-2 tsp salt 1-2 tsp pepper   Combine everything except almond milk, salt and pepper in a large cast iron skillet or your favorite pot.  Bring the stew to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the sweet potato and chickpeas are soft.  You will want to check the pot a few times during cooking to make sure that it’s not getting dry.  You can add more water as necessary and may want to turn down the heat.  We aren’t after a vigorous boil… we want gentle heat so we keep the sweet potato in cube form. Once you’ve cooked everything to this point you have a choice.  Add in the almond or coconut milk and season with salt and pepper to taste so you can serve this stew right now OR let it cool and pop it in the fridge overnight.  When you reheat the stew, add the almond/coconut milk and season --- you will be rewarded for your patience with a much more flavorful curry than if you serve it right away.


Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

This salad is great for a quick dinner but is equally lovely for a potluck or picnic.  It is super easy to change out the veg to things you have on hand.  The peppers can be any color, though the red and orange brighten up the plate beautifully.  Try summer squash, zucchini or celery in addition or in place of the cucumber.  I used fresh greens from our garden and mixed in some dinosaur kale.  If you have reluctant kale eaters, this dish is a winner because the bold and creamy flavors of the bean/veg mix really cover the kale and make it magically blend in with other greens.  Start with a bit of kale if you're not used to it, but definitely give it a try.  I used to wonder how people could eat kale, but now it's probably my favorite green!  Arugula, beet greens, frisee, endive, romaine, radicchio... they all work really well with this salad.  It's hard to go wrong! You'll find that the flavors in the bean/veg portion of this dish get better on the 2nd day... so if you have leftovers, you're in for a treat!  With time to plan ahead you can prep this the day before you plan to eat it so you'll have that intense garlicky flavor throughout. Also, the dressing is great on other things as well.  Because of the avocado the benefits of some healthy whole food fats... a nice option for those who might normally choose a processed creamy style dressing or ranch dressing. [caption id="attachment_419" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing"]Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing[/caption] Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (makes 4 generous servings) Dressing: 1 large ripe tomato, skinned and quartered (if you're using a Vitamix leave the skin on) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced ½ cup cilantro 2 avocado or 1 cup “wholly guacamole” juice of ½ a lime ¼ tsp black pepper pinch of salt ¼-½ tsp ground chipotle pepper, optional Salad: 6 cups fresh greens (1 use 2 cups of greens per adult, 1 cup per child) 1 English cucumber, diced 1 orange pepper, diced 1 red pepper, diced 3 cups cooked black beans, (drained and rinsed if using canned beans) Make the dressing by putting all dressing ingredients into your food processor and blending until smooth.  Taste and adjust for heat if you like --- add ¼- ½ tsp chipotle pepper if you like things spicy. Next, dice your veggies and mix them with the cooked beans.  Toss with the dressing and set aside so the flavors combine. Tear or cut your greens into bite sized pieces.  When you’re plating, you can either lay down a bed of greens and top it with the veg mixture or mix everything together and put the tossed chopped salad onto the plates.  My family naturally mixes their veg in with their greens as soon as they dig in, but I admit that the plates look prettier if you put down the greens first and top them… but that’s just aesthetics!  If you are not serving this right away definitely keep the greens separate until you're ready to serve.  For portion sizes, I use 1 cup of the bean/veg mixture for each adult and 1/2-3/4 cup per child. Enjoy!


Sprouted Buckwheat Salad and Red Lentil Burgers

I've had a few recipes hanging around that I keep meaning to post, so today I am just going to put them out there for you.  Pictures to follow when I have more time! Raw buckwheat is a new addition to my diet.  I tried buckwheat flour a while back and found it to be a very strong flavor… and one that I don’t care for.  So, much to my delight, the mild, nutty flavor of raw buckwheat is a welcome addition to the list of good grains. Sprouted Buckwheat Salad 1 cup raw buckwheat, soaked for 4-8 hours, drained and sprouted for up to 2 days 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 1 pepper, any color, diced 2 cups white beans, homemade or canned (rinse them well if canned) 1 cup cilantro, minced Vinaigrette Juice of 1 ½ lemons 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 shallot, minced 2 cloves of garlic, minced pinch of salt several grinds of pepper Combine all ingredients in a pretty bowl.  The flavors get stronger as the salad sits, so allow for a few hours of fridge time before serving if you have time.    Red Lentil Burgers 1 ½ cups red lentils 2 carrots (about 1 cup) 1 leek (about 1 cup) ½ cup almonds 1 tsp chipotle powder or 1 chipotle pepper with a bit of adobo (from a can) 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos 1 Tbsp olive oil ¼ cup tomato paste ¾ cup water Let’s heat things up!  Get your oven on to 400 degrees.  If you have baking stones, set them on the lowest oven rack so they get screaming hot.  If not, prep a baking sheet with a piece of parchment or lightly oiled foil. Put lentils into food processor and pulse until they become coarse flour.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined into a slightly chunky dough/paste.  You will need to scrape the sides of the processor at least once to ensure that no bits of veg are left unblitzed.  Give a tiny taste and adjust seasoning if you need to. I use my ice cream scooper to get even scoops of batter.  Drop them on your prepared sheet or baking stone and flatten slightly to about a 3 inch diameter and ¼ inch thick.  They won’t spread, so you can get them a bit close, but it’s best to leave some room so you can flip them.  Bake for 10 minutes and then lower heat to 350, flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve on your favorite gluten free bun or on a bed of greens.


Protein Packed Burritos

Even if you’re not going to eat all 14 burritos at one mealtime, make them all… you’ll love the convenience factor later in the week or even later in the month!  These make a great quick lunch and great after school snacks.  I can fit 1 burrito into a snack size ziplock bag.  They are easy to mark and super quick to reheat in either the microwave or oven. * If you're using lettuce as your wrapper of choice and you want to freeze leftovers, just freeze the filling in 1/3 cup portions.  Warm the portion and then spoon it onto your fresh lettuce leaf when ready to eat.  Lettuce won't hold up to freezing.  Spelt wraps hold up fairly well, if you can tolerate spelt.  Rice wraps can get crumbly, so my suggestion is to add a bit of water to the filling before you set it in the wrapper and freeze it.  The extra moisture will help during the thaw.  If your rice wrapper looses it's composure during the process, just top it with some enchilada sauce and eat with a fork and knife!  There is nothing tragic about that! Protein Packed Burritos (14 servings, 2 hours hands-off bean cooking, 15 minutes assembly) 1 lb dry pinto beans 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 8 cups water + 4 cup water 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper ½ tsp chipotle powder 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water 14 tortilla style wrappers of your choice or large romaine lettuce leaves vegan cheese shreds, optional (I used Daiya pepper jack) Put the beans into a colander and rinse them under running water.  Give the colander a shake and dump the beans into a large pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Shut off the heat after the boil and let the beans rest for an hour.  Come back, drain the beans and put them back in the pot.  Add the 8 cups of water you’ve measured out and set the temp for medium high so the pot comes up to a simmer.  Cover and leave the pot for an hour. In the meantime, mince your onion and garlic and sauté them over low heat until fragrant and translucent, but not browned.  Turn off the heat and leave these until the beans are ready. Also, set the quinoa and water into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. The beans are ready when they are tender and most of the cooking liquid has been absorbed.  When you reach that point, usually around the hour mark, transfer your beans in batches to the pan with the onion and garlic.  Take a potato masher and go to town on the warm beans.  We are looking for a pretty smooth texture, though some partial beans are nice.  Continue adding your warm beans in batches and smashing them until you’ve worked through the beans. Season and taste.  Adjust to suit your palate. Stir in the cooked quinoa and taste.  Adjust seasoning again if necessary. Take 1/3 cup portions and place on your wrapper.  Add vegan cheese shreds if you like, fold bottom edge over the filling, turn in the right and left sides to make an envelope and then roll to close. Plate and eat!    


Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout

Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad or 8 as an app) ~ ready in about 15 minutes ~ Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout Warm or cold, this ragout is scrumptious.  My 5 year old requested that I make this for dinner every night from now on! LOL!  What I love it that this comes together in a flash with a rich flavor that works just as well on top of greens as it does over polenta.  Chill it down and you’ve got a great topper for bruschetta using your GF bread of choice or try chilled polenta squares or even cucumber cups! Leftovers make a good vegan wrap filling because the sauce gets thicker as it chills.  YUM, yum and yum… You can go with some pantry shortcuts if needed --- sub canned or boxed fire roasted tomatoes and canned chickpeas for fresh.  If you make these subs, omit the salt until you can give everything a taste so you don’t end up with an overly salty dish. 3 jumbo Portobello caps, diced, about 2 cups 1 onion, diced, about 1 cup 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 small zucchini, diced, about 2 cups pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper ½ cup dry white wine 3 gorgeous tomatoes, diced, about 2 cups 2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 Tbsp veg broth powder + 2 cups water or 2 cups veg broth 2 Tbsp tapioca starch + ¼ cup cold water 4 -6 cups raw baby spinach or kale  Grab your wooden spoon and get ready for some quick work! Toss your mushrooms, onion, garlic and zucchini into a hot sauté pan and stir, stir, stir!  We’re not using any oil in this recipe, so we need to rely on the heat to draw some liquid out of the zucchini pretty quickly.  As things start to sear, throw in a pinch of salt to coax the liquid out of the veg and keep stirring until that garlic is fragrant.  We’re about 5 minutes in at this point and I need you to pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by using the edge of a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add your tomatoes, chickpeas and broth/broth powder + water.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let this simmer for 8 minutes.  While the ragout is simmering pull out your bowls and divide the greens among them.  If you’re using kale, tear it into bite size pieces so it’s easy to eat with the veg.  Reluctant to try kale?  Before putting it into the bowls, give the torn pieces a really thorough massage with about a tsp of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a clove of crushed garlic.  Something magical happens to kale when you give it a good rub.  I can’t guarantee you’ll love it right out of the gate, but I can say that this preparation got me eating more kale in the beginning!  Maybe it will work for you too. Let’s get back to business… Uncover the ragout and bump up the heat a bit.  Pour in the tapioca starch slurry and stir.  The heat will get the sauce bubbling and things will thicken up quickly.  If your ragout gets too stiff, add ½ cup of water and stir to loosen it up.  Otherwise, turn off the heat and you’re set to plate.   Scoop 1 cup portions on top of the greens you’ve already plated.  You’re good to go!


Smoky Black Bean Soup (gluten free vegan)

From me to you on an icy NH day.  This soup can be made in your crockpot too if you don't want to mind the stove.  Soak your beans overnight or using the quick method (or cheat and use 3-4 big cans(I'm guessing) of black beans, drained and rinsed) and then put everything into the old faithful to simmer away all day.  You will be richly rewarded no matter which way you do it.  Top with diced raw tomato, pepper, avocado, tomatillo, scallions cilantro and salsa.  If you want to indulge, add a spoonful of tofutti sour cream and a sprinkle of daiya shredded cheddar! The smoky flavor comes from the cumin and smoked paprika.  If you want to go all out with the smoky rich flavor you can char your onions on a grill before adding them to the pot.  I find that the spices and the chipotle in adobo do the trick, but you can take it as far as you'd like! A tip or two:
  • To stretch this soup you can also make a pot of rice and serve a ladle of soup with a bowl of rice and the chopped veggies of your choice. 
  • Leftovers can be frozen in small amounts and added to a pot of minestrone or tomato soup to make a savory base.
[caption id="attachment_303" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Smoky Black Bean Soup"]Smoky Black Bean Soup[/caption]   Smoky Black Bean Soup 3 cups dry black beans (about 1 lb), soaked overnight 1 Tbsp olive oil 6 celery stalks 6 carrots 6 cloves garlic 2 large onions 10 cups water + 6 Tbsp broth powder or use your favorite broth in place of the water/powder 1 piece of dried kombu (optional) 2 Tbsp ground cumin 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 chipotle with 1 tsp adobo sauce or 2 tsp chipotle powder (more or less to suit your taste) Salt and Pepper to taste Pick over your dry beans and pull out any debris or pesky pebbles. Place the beans in a big soup pot, cover with a few inches of water and soak them overnight. If you’re short on time, bring your bean pot to a boil for 10 minutes then shut it off and let the beans soak for an hour at least before continuing.  Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. While your beans are in the colander draining let’s work on the base of the soup. Working in batches using your food processor or your big kitchen knife, get the celery, carrots, garlic and onion to a mince.  I do each veg separately because my food processor is on the small side.  Plus, for whatever reason, I like sautéing my onions before the rest of the veg, so it makes sense in my mind to keep the veggies separate at this point. Heat your oil in the soup pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion until it is softened and golden. Stir in the spices along with the chipotle and adobo and let them go for a few minutes with the onions until everything is smelling amazing!  Add in the other minced veg, stir and cook for another minute.  We are looking to build that incredible glaze on the bottom of the pan really; that caramelized layer adds a lot of flavor and we want it to work for us!  The veg will cook along with the beans, so don’t worry about them.  Just stir them so nothing burns. Add the soaked beans, kombu, water and broth powder.  Kombu is a variety of seaweed which improves the digestibility of beans.  You can remove it when the beans are cooked or incorporate it into the soup.  Increase the heat and bring everything to a boil for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat so we’re just at a slow simmer, cover the pot and leave it for about 90 minutes.  We aren’t cooking the beans to a soft oblivion today, we’re aiming for a bit of bite.  Pull out the kombu if you can find it, otherwise it will be blended into the soup yielding a little nutrition and a pinch of salty flavor (1 piece of kombu in this size pot will barely be noticeable if you puree it in). At this point, turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  We will be pureeing the mixture to yield a smooth bean soup.  If you’d rather not, then stop here, taste and adjust your seasoning before serving.  In my house, we like this soup mostly smooth with some whole black beans and then toppings of diced raw tomato, scallions, avocado, salsa, etc.  So once the soup has cooled a bit I reserve about 2 cups of cooked black beans in a bowl and then I ladle the rest in batches into the Vitamix blender and puree it.    This requires one big bowl on the side of the blender to hold the puree while I work through the non-pureed soup from the pot.  Then I put the pureed soup back into the pot, toss in the reserved beans and stir.  If the soup is too thick for your tastes go ahead and thin it with water or broth until you get a consistency you like.  If I need to heat it to serving temp, now’s the time.  Otherwise it is ready to be put in the fridge or freezer for a later meal.  The great part about this soup is that unlike dairy based soups this freezes really well and doesn’t break.  The flavor improves on day 2 and 3.  I tend to go mild on the chipotle favoring the addition of salsa or chiles by each soup eater.  It’s easier for me and my husband to make our bowls spicier rather than asking our kids to take the heat!


Black Beans with Fresh Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce

With fresh ingredients on hand a quick dinner is easy.  For this one I had cooked black beans, tomatillo, garlic, onion, tomato and herbs.  Start to finish, 10 minutes.  The most labor intensive bit is chopping the onion and getting it sauteed.  If you have leftover guacamole it's an easy add on; leftover rice is equally nice, but don't be ashamed of scooping these tasty beans out of the bowl with a piece of bread or even a few baked tortilla chips.  Can't go wrong.  The great news in this meal is that you control the heat of the spices and the level of sodium.  Have fun cooking!
[caption id="attachment_265" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Black Beans with Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce"]Black Beans with Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce[/caption]   Quick Black Beans with Fresh Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce Beans 2 cups cooked black beans, leftover homemade beans are best, but canned are quick and easy 1 onion, diced and sauteed until golden and sweet ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper Sauce 4 fresh tomatillos 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 handful cilantro ½ of a lime, juiced 1 squirt saracha (to taste) 1 green pepper, seeds removed To prep the black beans:  Combine your sautéed onions and black beans in a sauce pan (or in the pan you sautéed your onions).  Sprinkle chipotle over top and stir.  Warm through. To prep the Tomatillo and Green Pepper Sauce:  Add everything into your Vitamix or food processor. Whiz until you have a sauce that is pretty well pureed… this takes about 10 seconds when I use the Vitamix.  The sauce isn’t totally liquid but isn’t chunky like salsa. [caption id="attachment_267" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce"]Tomatillo Green Pepper Sauce[/caption] [caption id="attachment_266" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tomatillos"]Tomatillos[/caption] Note: If tomatillos are new to you there are only a few things you really need to know.  First, when buying tomatillos you’re looking for plump, firm produce that fills the papery skins.  Second, the papery skin is basically stuck to the fruit underneath it.  You need to peel the skin off and then wash the fruit in cool water to remove the tacky film.  No other peeling is necessary.  Tomatillos are great raw, boiled and roasted.  You really can’t go wrong!