9

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Daily Workout: 6 miles with Mom at 10 min/mile pace

I was looking through my training posts from last summer and I noticed a better log of my daily run/workout.  I suppose this year there is really nothing special to note because I have done it before, but that does not mean I should keep you all in the dark!  Each training cycle is different, but I find it much easier to share my experiences with food than with running.  I need to get better about posting my running progress – any suggestions?

Meanwhile, here is a buddy-up recipe to yesterday’s post.

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Adapted from What Would Cathy Eat (photo credit)

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Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can chickpeas
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins

Directions

  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients (garlic through tomatoes) in a food processor and puree until well-combined.
  2. Saute the onions in a large non-stick pan with a bit of vegetable stock or water.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and lightly browned.  Raise the heat to medium-high and add the pureed mixture, cooking  for 3 minutes while stirring constantly.
  3. Add the chickpeas and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add the spinach and raisins, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Adjust salt to taste. Serve in bowls over soft polenta – serves 4.

Nutrition: 158 calories, 1g fat, 8g protein, 9g fiber, 33g carbs

Do you prefer my workout posts or recipe posts?  Have you tried the polenta yet (you should!)?

7

Creamy Corn Polenta

Oh do I have a treat for you.

I don’t know if I have made this well known, but I love polenta.  Right up there with oatmeal and sweet potatoes… must have an affinity for mushy texture!  Now, at home, I typically just whip up quick cooking polenta with a lot of Italian spices and nix the traditional additions of butter, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream.

I rarely order polenta at restaurants because of the aforementioned preparation, yet my mother is a different story.  She loves polenta as much as I do and a few weeks ago, in Maryland, she ordered a scallop dish that was paired with polenta.  I could not resist a bite (not touching the scallops!) and it was incredible.  It was so sweet and creamy, it was unlike any polenta I had ever had.  I had to learn how to make it.

I attributed the sweetness to fresh sweet corn, rather than just coarsely ground cornmeal.  So when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew it had potential.  But ding ding ding we had a winner!  I made a few adjustments as I was going to make it vegan, but it was perfect.  I served it with Spanish Chickpea Stew (stay tuned for that recipe) and it was a perfect meal that even my brother loved – he even ate it for leftovers the next two days!

Creamy Corn Polenta

Adapted from Nourish Network (photo credit)

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups corn, (roughly 4 ears), divided
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and 2 cups corn kernels in a bit of vegetable stock for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Stir in polenta and then whisk in four cups of vegetable stock and salt until smooth.  Bring to a boil and then put pot (uncovered) in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the remaining 2 cups corn kernels and strain well, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids.  Add enough almond milk to “corn juice” in order to measure 1 cup.  Add vanilla extract and nutmeg and set aside.
  4. Remove the polenta pot from oven and whisk in the milk mixture.  Return to oven and continue cooking for another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, whisk again, and serve.  Makes 4 large servings.

Nutrition: 183 calories, 2g fat, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 41g carbs

Do you like polenta?  Have you ever tried to recreate a meal that you had at a restaurant?

 

6

Tough Long Run

I have been building mileage for four weeks.  This morning I knew what I had to do, tackle my 16-miler and coast into my cut-back week.

The morning started out like any other in preparation for my long run: lots of water, peanut butter oatmeal, and Garmin fully charged.  I headed out at 9am and instantly knew I should have started earlier.  This Chicago summer has been a dream for someone training for a marathon.  Low-humidity and mid-60s in the morning, only getting up to the low-70s in the peak of the afternoon.  But not today.  It was already in the 70s when I stepped out the door; but water bottle and Gatorade bloks in tow, I nevertheless started my run.

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I think the past few weeks of build-up have taken a toll on me, both physically and mentally.  I was just not into the run and at mile 6 I had already started counting down just how many I had left… never a good sign.  It only got hotter.  The good news: the wind picked up, pushing off some of the heat.  The bad news: it was constantly in my face and actually slowed me down considerably.  Luckily, I had a beautiful route to keep me going and I trudged on.

Turning the corner onto my last four-mile stretch was near agony.  I was hot, I was tired, I was done.  Not really.  I kept going and into the last mile, I actually picked up the pace just ready to finish.  Stepped into my house, guzzled a bottle of ice water, showered, and felt proud.  I did it.  Probably one of the toughest runs at a 9:25 min/mile pace, but I did it.

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I looked down and saw that I had on my old running shoes.  The ones that are worn to the ground.  Sigh.  Guess that is what you get for having two identical pairs.  No wonder my legs were so tired!  Needless to say, I am ready for a cut-back week that includes a long run of ten blissful miles.

What keeps you going through tough runs?  What is your reward to yourself after a long run?

0

Rest Day Baking – Quinoa Blueberry Cornbread

Today is my rest day from running before my big 16-miler tomorrow morning.  I get antsy on days that I take a break from running, so I usually plan a full day of errands and cooking to keep me occupied.

This morning I made a batch of gluten-free chocolate chip muffins for my brother to eat for breakfast right out of the oven.  Then grocery shopping, and now baking a vegan treat for myself.

Yesterday, I posted about some of my favorite cookbooks and the one I am currently reading through is Color Me Vegan.  It has some fantastic recipes – one of which I will be making for lunch in a few minutes – and one of them was a fruit-sweetened cornbread recipe that I knew I needed to try!

Now I have a serious love for cornbread.  It does not have to be anything fancy, even Jiffy is a weakness of mine; so when I find a vegan version that promises a lightly sweetened dessert as well as a delicious snack cake, I’m sold.  This cornbread is full of plump blueberries and protein-rich, nutty quinoa and is an absolute must-try!  Heat up with a little vanilla yogurt or whipped cream and you are set for the night.  Color Me Vegan: 1/1

Quinoa Blue Cornmeal

Adapted from Color Me Vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup plus 6 Tbsp. water, divided
  • 1/2 uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup original almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 inch pan with non-stick spray.
  2. With an electric hand mixer, beat ground flaxseed and 6 Tbsp. water in a small bowl for 1-2 minutes, or until frothy.
  3. Bring the remaining 1 cup water to a boil and add uncooked quinoa.  Reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is fluffy.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate large bowl, mash the banana and combine with the milk and sugar. Add in the “flax eggs” and stir to combine.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, along with the cooked quinoa, and stir to combine.  Fold in the blueberries and stir until just combined.  Spread the thick mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serves 9.

Nutrition: 158 calories, 1g fat, 5g protein, 2g fiber, 33g carbs

What do you like to do on your days off from running?

10

Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbooks

I love looking through new cookbooks.  I scour the Internet for hours looking for new recipes, yet I am surprised every time I open a cookbook and find something completely new and innovative.  And call me old-fashioned, but there is something so satisfying in holding a book and physically being able to hold a recipe in your hands.  Yes I am a book nerd.

Whenever I want to try a new cookbook, I head to my local library.  I am fortunate enough that our public library has a vast cookbook section with several shelves dedicated to vegetarian and vegan cooking – everything from vegan Indian cookbooks to raw, vegan baking.  However, with the vegan and vegetarian boom upon us, it can be daunting to find a cookbook that satisfies everything you are looking for.  Here are some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan cookbooks for all my fellow book nerds:

For the New Vegan:

Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

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Down and dirty, this cookbook as 150 quick and easy vegan recipes all made in 30 minutes or less.

These recipes are simplified, but still interesting, and follow the shortest path from point A to point B. Simple looks easy, but it takes skill to make it that way. Just because you are in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to go in for vegan bologna or burgers every night, in Robertson’s kitchen.” –Robin Asbell’s The New Vegetarian

The 150 vegan recipes range from starters, snacks, salads, sauces, and sandwiches to stovetop suppers, pastas, soups, and desserts that can all be prepared in 30 minutes or less. That includes many ethnic influences including French, Mexican, Moroccan, Mediterranean, Greek, Cajun, East Asian, Italian, and Middle Eastern.  Some of the highlights are the Spicy Black Bean Hummus with Orange, Korean Hotpot, Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce, Moroccan-Spiced Pumpkin Soup, BBQ Pinto-Portobello Sandwiches, Burmese Ginger Salad, Autumn Harvest Gratin, and Catalan-Style Creme Brulee.

The introductory chapter provides new vegan cooks with basic information on how to maintain a vegan kitchen including pantry suggestions and kitchen tips, as well as basic recipes for ingredients such as homemade vegetable stock and seitan.

For the Practical Vegetarian:

Meatless: More than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes

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For anyone looking to expand their vegetarian diet, this cookbook by Martha Stewart is a comprehensive collection of easy, meat-free dishes for everyday and for entertaining.

As inspiring as it is practical, Meatless features 200 recipes—each accompanied by a gorgeous photograph—for full-fledged vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. You’ll find recipes for classics and new favorites, plus plenty of low-fat, vegan, and gluten-free options, too.

More than just a cookbook, Meatless is also a roadmap to embracing a vegetable-based lifestyle. Here are dozens of versatile recipes that can be easily adapted, such as pizza with a variety of toppings, salads made from different whole grains, and pestos with unexpected flavors and ingredients. You’ll also find advice on stocking your pantry with vegetarian essentials (dried beans, pasta, herbs and spices), a collection of basic recipes and techniques (vegetable stock, tomato sauce, polenta), and make-ahead flavor-boosters (caramelized onions, roasted peppers, and quick pickles).

Selections include:

Small Plates to Mix and Match:
Smashed Chickpea, Basil, and Radish Dip with Pita Chips; Roasted Baby Potatoes with Romesco Sauce; Stuffed Marinated Hot Red Chili Peppers; Grilled Polenta with Balsamic Mushrooms; Pea Hummus
Stovetop Suppers: Frittata with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Herbs; Spring Vegetable Ragout; Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms; Southwestern Hash
Soups, Stews, and Chili: Tomato Soup with Poached Eggs; Bean Chili; White Cheddar Corn Chowder; Chickpea Curry with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
Casseroles and other Baked Dishes: Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells; Italian Baked Eggplant with Seitan; Black-Bean Tortilla Casserole; Apple, Leek, and Squash Gratin
Substantial Salads: Raw Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Walnuts; Avocado, Beet, and Orange Salad; Arugula, Potato, and Green Bean Salad with Creamy Walnut Dressing; Roasted-Tomato Tabbouleh
Sandwiches, Burgers, and Pizzas: Quinoa Veggie Burgers; Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza; Chipotle Avocado Sandwich; Portobello and Zucchini Tacos
Pasta and Other Noodles: Fettuccine with Parsley-Walnut Pesto; Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest; Soba and Tofu in Ginger Broth; No-Bake Lasagna with Ricotta and Tomatoes
Simple Side Dishes: Mexican Creamed Corn; Cabbage and Green Apple Slaw; Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Mustard Seeds; Baked Polenta “Fries”

For the Colorful Vegan:

Color Me Vegan

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With the idea that eating by color creates more flavorful meals better health, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau brings a rainbow of vegan recipes designed to boost your health and brighten up your palate.

With color as the guiding principle behind each section, Colleen shows vegetarians, vegans, and everyone in between exactly how phytonutrients—the most powerful, pigmented antioxidants on earth, found in everything from select fruits and vegetables, to grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—can be expertly incorporated into your meals for the greatest nutritional punch.

From the “Color Me Blue” chapter, for example, you’ll be treated to recipes such as:

Radicchio Fennel Salad with Caper Dressing

Chilled Blueberry Mango Soup

Lavender-Roasted Purple Onions

Eggplant with Dengaku (Sweet Miso) Sauce

Purple Plum Pie with Crumble Topping

From sensational starters and salads, to filling mains and sides, to crave-worthy desserts—in every color—each recipe is not just a feast for your stomach, but a feast for your eyes as well!

For the Blogging Vegan:

Oh She Glows Cookbook

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Angela Liddon is one of the most popular vegan food bloggers on the web – you can find her blog at OhSheGlows.  I have made many of her recipes, so I was anxious to crack open her new cookbook.  I was not disappointed!

After a decade of struggling with an eating disorder and subsisting on diet, low-calorie processed foods, Angela Liddon vowed to get healthy once and for all.  Done with feeling sick and tired, Angela embraced whole foods that made her glow from the inside out.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook is packed with more than 100 delicious recipes such as go-to breakfasts, protein-packed snacks, hearty entrées, and decadent desserts. From entrées like the Crowd-Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole and Empowered Noodle Bowl to sweet treats like the Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Hazelnut Crust and Angela’s famous Glo Bakery Glo Bars, there is something for everyone.The Oh She Glows Cookbook is also allergy-friendly, with many gluten-free and soy-free options.

Whether you are a vegan or you simply want to incorporate a few vegan meals into your week, Angela’s recipes are a must-have for anyone who longs to eat well, feel great, and simply glow!

Do you prefer online recipes or cookbooks?  What is your favorite cookbook?

17

Rainbow Spring Rolls

Another culinary adventure – spring rolls!  After making Quinoa Sushi, I have been fascinated with Asian cooking techniques.  This recipe is perfect for hot summer days.  No need to heat up a pan or even turn on your oven.  Spring rolls are easily adaptable to whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.  I did not have asparagus, but I have a ton of cucumbers… so I just added them instead!  Some family members not on the vegan bandwagon?  I added some shrimp to my brothers’ rolls – no big deal.

Rainbow Spring Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Adapted from Thirsty for Tea (photo credit)

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Ingredients

{Spring Rolls}

  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 3″ long strips
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced into 3″ long shreds
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 3” long strips
  • Handful of lettuce leaves
  • Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 small scallions, green part thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 12 spring roll wrappers

{Sweet & Sour Orange Oolong Sauce}

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup oolong tea, strongly steeped
  • 3 Tbsp. white or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Directions

  1. Fill a deep large dish with about 1″ of warm water.  Submerge 1 spring roll wrapper in the water completely, wait for it to soften for about 10 seconds, then place the sheet on a clean work surface.
  2. Stack vegetables in the bottom 1/3 of the softened rice paper wrapper and scatter some chopped cilantro and sliced green onions on top.   Roll up spring roll and fold right and left sides of the wrapper in towards the center of the roll.  Continue rolling upwards (away from you) until you get a completed roll.  Repeat for all 12 rolls.
  3. Make the Sweet & Sour Sauce by first reserving 1/4 cup of the tea and setting it aside.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients (except cornstarch) into a medium pot, then place the mixture on the stove on medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  4. Mix the cornstarch into the reserved 1/4 cup of tea to create a slurry.  When the mixture reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and add in the cornstarch mixture.  Stir constantly until it reaches the desired consistency.  Makes 12 rolls.

Nutrition (per roll): 39 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 1g fiber, 9g carbs

Nutrition (1/4 sauce recipe): 48 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, og fiber, 12g carbs

Have you ever made spring rolls?  Do you follow recipes exactly?

6

Grilled Corn and Quinoa Salad

The other day I posted about menu planning for a dinner party.  We had so much fun chatting and eating and you know what stuck out to them?  The care we put into making dinner for them.  It seems that everyone chooses to dine at a restaurant, but that can be so impersonal.  By having everyone over to our home, we were able to spend more time together and the boys were able to run around while my dad was tending to the grill.

Having people over for dinner can be a bit more work, but it is much more rewarding.  As promised, here is the grilled corn and quinoa salad recipe that we served the other night.  While everything was delicious, this was a particular favorite.  People expect a simple tossed salad and chips to accompany burgers and hotdogs; so when they are served something different, it really makes an impression.

Grilled Corn and Quinoa Salad

Adapted from Soup Addict (photo credit)

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Ingredients

Salad
  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chives or green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high and prepare for grilling (i.e. clean and lightly oil grates)
  2. Place the corn and peppers on the grill. Turn the cobs and peppers frequently to cook on all sides.  When the pepper skins are black, remove from the grill and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Remove the corn from the grill when the kernels are golden brown and let cool.
  3. Remove the skins from the peppers and chop. Then cut the corn kernels from the cob and combine the peppers, corn, quinoa, cilantro, and chives in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Drizzle over the corn and quinoa salad and serve cold or at room temperature.  Makes 12 sides.

Nutrition: 68 calories, 1g fat, 2g protein, 2g fiber, 15g carbs

When you meet with people, would you rather go out and eat or cook?

 

4

Asparagus Salad and How to Menu Plan a Dinner Party

This evening we are having a dinner party with another family.  Mom and I are always in charge of the menu and we have come up with a fail-proof formula to the perfect menu.  These are some of the things that we are including tonight with some other options to make your next dinner party a success.

Appetizers: You don’t want too much food that everyone fills up before the main meal, but you want enough to sit around and munch on while sipping wine and chatting

  • A few easy store bought snacks: nuts, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, olives
  • A few homemade bites: smoked salmon, hummus with veggies and pita

Grilled Main Dish: Keep it to something that everyone likes.  Your guests should always be in the forefront of your mind.  That means, for this crowd, meat.

  • Hamburgers and hot dogs
  • Chicken breasts and thighs

Side Dishes:  I always keep these vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy them.  Also with a heavy meat main dish, no one is going to complain about a few healthy accompaniments.

Dessert: Stick to something kid-friendly and one that the adults will love too.  After a big dinner, sometimes lighter desserts go over better – especially in the summertime.

  • Easy to grab: cookies, brownies, oatmeal fruit bars
  • The showstopper: pies, angel food cake trifle bowl (layer cool whip and strawberries between cake)
  • Healthy option: fruit salad

One of the things my parents have taught me is to never skip in the presence of company.  As a college student used to working on a tight budget, sometimes it is hard to see people buying WAY more food than in possibly necessary… but that is my parents.  My dad has already gone to four different grocery stores this afternoon.  And that is after my mom and I bought everything we needed yesterday.  Oh well – it’s my dad’s prerogative.

Asparagus Salad with Hearts of Palm and Cherry Tomatoes

Adapted from Kayln’s Kitchen (photo credit)

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Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 (14 oz.) can heart of palm, drained and cuts into rings
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup

Directions

  1. Mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside. 
  2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.  When the water comes to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Drain the asparagus into a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. Place the sliced heart of palm, asparagus pieces, halved cherry tomatoes, and chives/green onions in a serving bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and toss with dressing.  Let marinate in the fridge and serve cold or at room temperature.  Serves 8 sides.

Nutrition: 30 calories, 1g fat, 2g protein, 2g fiber, 6g carbs

Do you like dinner parties?  What is your “signature” dish when guests come over?
7

Butternut Squash Refried Beans

What is arguably the most unhealthy side dish in Mexican cuisine?  Refried beans.  I mean, it literally is called “twice fried.”  Topped with cheese and it is also almost always cooked with lard and/or pork fat, unless specified vegetarian.  But beans are supposed to be healthy, right?  Great protein, high fiber, a perfect vegan meal with a side of brown rice.

I have always been wary of refried beans.  The texture is questionable at best, but it is unbeatable as a fajita or taco spread.  I sought out a better bean recipe for this weeks tostada night and found it on one of my favorite blogs, 86Lemons.

No animal products here.  Not fried.  Cheese not needed.  Even if you do not like butternut squash, it lends more to the texture than the flavor.  These beans are certifiable as a healthy option for all your favorite Mexican items, or just served along side some cilantro-lime brown rice!

Butternut Squash Refried Beans

Adapted from 86Lemons (photo credit)

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Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup butternut squash purée (made from one small butternut squash)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the beans and squash puree in a bowl and mash with a potato masher.
  2. Saute the garlic in water for a minute and then add the water, tomatoes, oregano, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and the bean and squash mixture.
  3. Keep mashing as you are cooking the mixture down.  The beans will break down more as they cook, but you can leave them chunkier based on preference.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is well combined and heated through.  Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt, and cayenne.  Serves 8.

Nutrition: 103 calories, 1g fat, 6g protein, 7g fiber, 23g carbs

Do you like Mexican food?  What are your thoughts on refried beans?

8

Produce Spotlight: Zucchini

It has been a while since I have highlighted a particular fruit or vegetable.

Our garden is in what I like to call the “leafy stage.”  A lot of leaves, very few ripe vegetables. Patience is key.  I know in a few weeks we will be up to our ears in tomatoes and cucumbers, but it never fails that zucchini is the first to make an appearance.  Grilling zucchini is one of my favorite (and easiest) ways to eat it, but there are so many different ways to prepare this nutritious veggie.

Zucchini is mostly made up of water and so is very low in calories. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one medium raw zucchini has 33 calories, 2.37 grams of protein, 6.1 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber. Fiber promotes good digestive health and helps to lower cholesterol.

Zucchini and other dark green vegetables are a good source of vitamin A, which is necessary for growth and development and for proper immune system function. One medium zucchini has 392 international units of vitamin A.  Zucchini is also a source of vitamin C, which is a water-soluble vitamin that functions as an antioxidant.

Zucchini is a source of potassium, a mineral essential for the function of all organs, tissues and cells in your body. One medium zucchini provides 512 mg of potassium.  Zucchini also provides phosphorus, which is an important structural component of bones and cell membranes. [Source]

Recipes

Zucchini Bread Pancakes – Serenity in the Storm

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Shredded Zucchini Salad – Veggies & Gin

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Green Bean and Zucchini Salad – The Whimsical Wife

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Mama Ganoush – Ratatouille et Compagnie 

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Zucchini Pasta Primavera – Inspiralized

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Zucchini Brownies – Easy to Cook Meals

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What is your favorite way to eat zucchini?  Do you have a garden?