Buddha bowls with Green Goddess dressing

Oh Buddha bowls. How do I love thee. Buddha bowls are my favorite thing to have for dinner. I make them at least several times a month, and since you can constantly change out the ingredients, I never get sick of them.

In case you haven't been to any hippie vegan cafes lately, let me define a Buddha bowl for you. It's a one-dish meal with four basic components:

  1. a whole bunch of vegetables, usually sautéed or roasted
  2. some kind of grain (rice, quinoa, couscous)
  3. a protein (beans, tofu, tempeh)
  4. dressing

Since the ingredients are so flexible in Buddha bowls, you can use your creativity to choose what you'll include. Roast any type of vegetables, depending on what's in season or what you need to use up in your fridge. Vary your grain type, depending on what you're craving that day. For protein, use chickpeas in one recipe, and grilled tempeh in the other.

And when everything's done, mix it all up with some delicious dressing! There are so many dressings out there that you can never get sick of them all. I went through a long phase of using this peanut sauce recipe for my Buddha bowl dressing. As much as I love peanut butter, I eventually got sick of it. So all I had to do was change my dressing and voila, brand new Buddha bowl!

So here's a new Buddha bowl recipe that I've been obsessed with lately. It uses Green Goddess salad dressing, a simple and flavorful dressing from Tessemae's. Add avocado as a garnish, and you end up with a healthy and delicious Buddha bowl.

P1000966Recipe: Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl with Green Goddess Dressing Prep time: 45 minutes

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, diced into bite size pieces
  • 3 T olive oil or coconut oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup Green Goddess dressing
  • 1 avocado, optional
  • 1 cup feta cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When broccoli and sweet potato are chopped, spread on a baking pan and coat in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (more is usually better!). Roast in oven for 40 minutes, until sweet potato can easily be pierced by a fork.

Meanwhile, boil 1 1/4 cup water. At boiling point, add couscous and remove from heat. Let sit until grain has absorbed water.

Add cooked couscous, vegetables, almonds, and chickpeas to large bowl. Stir together, then coat with Green Goddess dressing. Serve hot or cold, adding avocado slices and feta cheese if you wish!

Photo credit

Blueberry coconut banana bread {vegan}

blueberry coconut banana bread I'm a latecomer to the coconut oil obsession that has been going around. But, obsession it has become. I put it in everything now - my oatmeal, my stir fry, my popcorn. I even tried it in my coffee once, but that ended up being pretty weird...

There's a lot written about the health benefits of coconut oil, like this and this, and also this. But mostly I like how it tastes, and I keep looking for any excuse to sneak it into recipes. So when I discovered this blueberry coconut banana bread recipe, I had to make it immediately. (The blog where I found it, Faring Well, is a beautiful website filled with recipes and food stories, so be sure to check that out as well.) It's vegan, and could theoretically be made gluten-free if you used oat flour. It ended up being so delicious that I made it again a week later. And I'll probably make it again this weekend.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for blueberry coconut banana bread. You'll never go back to regular banana bread again.

Recipe: Blueberry Coconut Banana Bread Prep time: 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes bake Inspired by: Faring Well

  • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, plus the salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add in blueberries and coconut. Pour into bread pan and bake for 40 minutes. Try to wait until it cools completely to eat, or sneak a piece while it is still warm. So good!

Photo credit

Inspiration for the weekend.

Go running

I have the picture above as my computer desktop. It's so hard to get motivated to run when it's this freaking cold. So I'm doing all I can to inspire myself. Here's some more inspiration that I've found lately:

The winter abundance bowl from My New Roots. Beautiful recipe that I make so frequently.

Advice to us all: Stop reading this blog post and go do stuff.

The truth is that everyone can do yoga.

The banjo player I am currently obsessed with.

A new favorite recipe blog (aka food porn).

Countdown until spring.

Teacher books I want:

And last but not least, my newest resource for teaching inspiration. This book seriously got me motivated to change how I structure my classroom to make it more full of wonder and curiosity. And it's free to download! Cultivating Joy & Wonder: Educating for Sustainability in Early Childhood through Nature, Food and Community

Go-to recipe: Ginger Peanut Dressing

ImageFor me one of the most challenging things about cooking foods from scratch is making the time to follow long, complicated recipes. At first I thought this was the only way to do it. Every night had to be a different recipe, with complex instructions and ingredients. As I've experimented more and more with healthy foods, though, I've realized that a few basic "go-to" recipes will save you a lot of time.

One of my current "go-to" obsessions is Ginger Peanut Dressing. I've written before about how much I love peanut butter. This very simple dressing is delicious and very peanut-y. It's perfect to use as a "I can't think of what to make tonight and I'm too tired after a long day of teaching to do anything creative." So what I usually do is pull out whatever vegetables are left in my fridge, saute them in olive oil, and add some beans and rice (or quinoa or couscous or whatever grains you want). Pour over the ginger peanut dressing, add some sliced green onions or chopped cashews, and enjoy.

Recipe: Ginger Peanut Dressing

Prep time: 5 minutes

Inspired by: Ambitious Kitchen

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 t grated ginger
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 t olive oil

If you keep your peanut butter in the fridge, either warm it up in the microwave or let it sit out for a while ahead of time to warm it up. Then add all ingredients in a mason jar, shake vigorously, and pour on top of whatever dish you are making!

Photo credit: Lori L. Stalteri, Flickr Creative Commons

Guacamole mango quinoa

ImageIt's always at this point in winter where I start wanting fruit. I love love love winter vegetables, but after 100 straight days of cold and snow, I start to really crave a juicy strawberry or a bowlful of grapes. Don't get me wrong, I try my hardest to eat foods that are in season and locally grown (and where I live, grapes don't grow in this wicked cold). But sometimes all that noble effort doesn't seem worth it . My grocery store is just three blocks away, and they have an impressive stock of fruits that I finally couldn't resist. So here is my foray into fruit this winter. A delicious and easy guacamole mango dish, with black beans and quinoa. Inspired by Foxes Loves Lemons's guacamole rice. A main dish that involves guacamole? I'm sold.

(And yes I know my recipes always have quinoa in them. You can easily substitute the quinoa for any other grain, like Israeli couscous, barley, orzo, or pasta. Quinoa is just so dang delicious.)

Recipe: Guacamole mango quinoa

Prep time: 30 minutes

Inspired by: Foxes Loves Lemons

  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 mango, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 4 oz. feta or goat cheese
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts for some added crunch
  • optional additions: cilantro, corn, tomatoes, roasted sweet potato

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa and bring to a boil, then let simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Keep checking it until it's fully cooked.

Meanwhile, chop all avocado, mango and onion and add to a large bowl. Stir in black beans, cooked quinoa and feta. In a separate little bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Whisk together and drizzle over salad. Taste and add more salt or lime juice as needed. You want it to be tangy and delicious.

Sweet pickled carrots (refrigerated)

So I think I am slowly jumping on the fermenting bandwagon that is all the rage right now. I used to have a hatred of pickles (as in, whenever one would come next to my sandwich, I would yell and push it away so it didn't contaminate my sandwich bread). But as with most foods that I used to be super picky about, I am slowly developing a love for pickled things. I picked up the book everyone keeps talking about, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, and I'm starting to be swayed by his love for fermentation. I don't quite understand the science behind it yet (or yet understand the difference between "pickling" and "fermenting"), but as I delve further into the book I know he'll explain it. All I know right now is that I got a huge CSA share full of winter vegetables and I have been trying to think of creative things to do with all those carrots, parsnips, and cabbage. Behold fermenting! Apparently winter root vegetables are perfect for pickling, and when I figured out that pickled vegetables will last months in the fridge without going through the canning process, I was hooked.

Here is a really easy recipe for sweet pickled carrots that are delicious, and can stay good for at least a month in the fridge.

Recipe: Sweet Pickled Carrots {refrigerated} Inspired by: The Kitchen Magpie Prep time: 15 minutes

  • 4-5 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
  • 2 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 t coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 T pickling spice {you can buy this in bulk at grocery stores}
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices into large pot. Bring to a boil, then add the carrots and boil them for five minutes. Take out the carrots {I used tongs to get them out}, put them in a colander, and rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking. Use the tongs to put the carrots into glass jars, standing upright. Then pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots until the jar is filled. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace (which just means space without any liquid). Put on the lids, let them cool, and then refrigerate until you're ready to eat them! They seem to taste better after two or more days.

Recipe of the week: Vegetable Stir Fry with Almond Butter Sauce

I have been a huge fan of peanut butter for my whole life. I'm not ashamed to say that in college, my supremely unhealthy years, I once ate six jars of peanut butter in one academic year. It was probably some sort of record, albeit not one to be too proud of...

Most of my peanut butter consumption revolved around combining it with jelly or with bananas. Thus, I remember the first time I was introduced to the peanut sauce recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. It blew my mind. You can eat peanut butter with vegetables?! I have since found any excuse to eat peanut sauce on pasta, quinoa, stir fry, you name it. (I've experimented with other, simpler peanut sauce recipes than the Moosewood one, but I still think it's is the best one out there.)

Anyway, after years of this being my go-to sauce, I decided to try branching out to other nut butter sauces, if such things existed. Turns out they do, and they are delicious! Inspired by the blog Hummusapien, here is my version of Vegetable Stir Fry with Almond Butter Sauce. Seriously, I couldn't get enough of it.


Recipe: Vegetable Stir Fry with Almond Butter Sauce
Prep time: 40 minutes
Inspired By: Hummusapien
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 block tofu, extra firm
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T water
  • 1.5 t ginger
  • 1 t garlic
Start the rice by adding rice to 2 cups water, and letting it come to a boil. When it boils, turn down the heat and let simmer for 40-50 minutes.
Then drain the tofu. You're supposed to let it drain for a long time, but I usually forget and just press paper towel all over it until some of the water is soaked up. Slice tofu into bite-sized cubes, and saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil until both sides are browned and slightly tough (depending on how you like your tofu, you could keep sauteing it).
Remove tofu from pan and set aside. Add rest of olive oil to pan, and saute sliced onion, pepper, and zucchini until slightly soft. Add kale, plus a pinch or two of salt. Saute until kale is bright green and wilted.
Meanwhile, add last five ingredients to a small jar, and shake vigorously. Taste the sauce to see if it needs more almond butter or soy sauce.
When the rice is done, combine with tofu, vegetables, and pour sauce on top. Mix and enjoy!

Recipe of the week: Brown rice, sweet potato, and kale salad with almonds & goat cheese

Did I mention that I love winter vegetables? I would eat sweet potato in every meal if I could. Well, maybe not breakfast. Lord knows I would not stray from my Overnight Oatmeal obsession. But I've been gleefully having this new dish for lunch and dinner for the last few days. (I do have to admit that I have a high tolerance for eating the same thing several days in a row.) It was really easy to make and satisfies both my love of winter squash and goat cheese, so it's a winner.

Recipe: Brown rice, sweet potato and kale salad with almonds and goat cheese Prep time: 40 minutes Inspired by: Call Me Cupcake

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
  • 3 T stone-ground mustard
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 7 T olive oil
  • 1/2 T cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 275. Start the rice by combining one cup of rice with two cups water in a small pot. Bring water to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 40-50 minutes (depending on what the package says to do - or until most of the water has been absorbed).
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Drizzle with 2 T olive oil, and add salt, pepper, and cumin. Stir them up til all the potatoes are coated, then spread out on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes can be pierced with a fork. You can try one to see if it's as soft as you'd like. You can choose to add the almonds on top of the potatoes for the last five minutes, in order to toast them - I skipped this step but it might be yummy.
Rip kale off from the stems, into bite size pieces. Heat 2 T olive oil in wok or large pan. Add kale leaves and a few pinches of salt. Saute kale until it is bright green and slightly crunchy.
In a small jar, combine mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, and remaining olive oil (3 tablespoons). Put a lid on the jar and shake until mixed thoroughly.
When sweet potatoes and rice are done, combine those in a large bowl with the kale, chickpeas, and almonds. Stir to combine, then drizzle on the mustard vinaigrette. Then crumble goat cheese on top, and eat up!
One thing to note - I did add raisins for a little sweetness. I soaked 1/4 cup raisins in a bowl of water for about fifteen minutes to let them expand, then added those on top as well.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries & Walnuts

Like most people with functioning taste buds, I love fall foods. I have a giant Pinterest board full of recipes I want to try using fall and winter vegetables, and this year I'm signing up for a fall/winter CSA for the first time, so I'll get a giant supply of fall foods like potatoes, leeks and winter squash! I especially love winter squash because it can store for a long time, as long as you keep it in a cool and dark place. No need to take up room in the fridge or feel pressure to eat it before it goes bad! When you do have time to cook, there are lots of delicious ways to eat winter squash. Here is a fun and easy recipe with butternut squash, the most ubiquitous of the winter squashes.

I made it with quinoa, but that is definitely not a necessary ingredient. You could also replace the quinoa with barley, wheat berries, maybe even rice. Some sort of grain to hold it all together usually makes me happy, but it tastes good without it as well!

Recipe: Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries & Walnuts Prep Time: 40 minutes Inspired by: Gluten-free Goddess

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 butternut squash, any size, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries (fresh is also a good option, but sometimes harder to find)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t chopped or pureed ginger
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • any sauteed greens you like (I usually add kale, sauteed in olive oil)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
Start by cooking the quinoa. Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the quinoa, as you can turn off the burner as soon as the water has been mostly absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large bowl, stir together the cubed squash and all remaining ingredients except the greens and black beans. Spread this out on a flat baking sheet and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until you can poke the squash with a fork and it slides in easily.
Put the squash mixture back into a bowl, and add the cooked quinoa, black beans, and sauteed greens (optional). Add olive oil and salt to taste. I sometimes sneak in some extra maple syrup to make it a bit sweeter too. :) Serve hot or refrigerate for later!
Happy fall!

Sauteed Swiss Chard & Summer Squash

Having a CSA share this summer has been amazing for both my budget and my cooking creativity...I often stick to the same version of meals every week (grain + vegetables + beans + some sort of dressing = most of my nightly meals), so it's been awesome to get a box full of new vegetables every week to challenge me a little bit. The farmers also give us a newsletter that has recipes for that week's produce. Here is a delicious and easy one they included this week, which comes from the website Eatin' on the Cheap.

Sauteed Swiss Chard & Summer Squash

  • 3 medium squash or zucchini, sliced
  • 1 lb Swiss chard
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 T fresh oregano [I used 1 t dried]
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Roughly chop Swiss chard leaves and stems, keeping them separate. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add onion, chard stems, and garlic to pan. Cook for 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Add squash, chard leaves, oregano, and salt and pepper to pan. Toss the mixture until all of the veggies are coated with the oil. Continue to cook until the Swiss chard has wilted and the squash are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Remove the veggies from the pan and toss with crumbled feta cheese. Serve immediately!