FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Happy Wednesday! Getting through Wednesday is always an accomplishment, but when you’re unemployed, the weekend doesn’t have quite the same allure. The only bonus about Saturday and Sunday is that you don’t feel bad about sleeping in and your friends are available for brunch. But, my bout of unemployment won’t last forever, so I try to enjoy it while I can. 

Today, I have another great vegetarian and FODMAPs friendly recipe to share. If you aren’t familiar with FODMAPs, which stands for a bunch of scientific things that I cannot remember, you can read more here.  

Growing up, I loved quiche. I remember having these adorable mini quiches at special occasions – like mother-daughter teas, and my guess is that these memorable tiny quiches were probably frozen food from Costco, but they always felt like a special treat. These days I’m not really into the fancy frozen finger food thing, but I like to create my own versions of things that I enjoyed in my childhood. I find food so nostalgic, especially in the winter when I crave things that are comforting and warm out of the oven. Maybe I have some innate desire to ensure I don’t miss out on old favorites even though my diet has changed so drastically, but whatever the reason, it’s usually good inspiration for a new recipe. FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

This quiche is a bit healthier than a traditional quiche, but personally, I think you can lose a lot of less healthy aspects of a quiche without losing a lot of flavor or experience. I mean as long as you include a egg soufflé of sorts and a decently high calorie crust, you can still call it a quiche, right? This recipe is super easy (seriously) and versatile, and it’s FODMAPs friendly! 

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Spinach Quiche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: meal-size servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spelt crust (I used the Wholly Wholesome brands from Whole Foods Market)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of baby spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg whites (optional)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • Salt
  • Peppercorn
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a fork to poke a few small holes in the pie crust, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add olive oil and roughly chopped spinach. Cook until the spinach is completely wilted.
  4. Put cooked spinach into pie crust.
  5. Whip eggs, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper together. I think parsley would also be a great additional here.
  6. Pour egg mixture over spinach.
  7. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes until eggs are done.
  8. Top with hot sauce, mayonnaise (yes mayonnaise on quiche is delicious - especially pesto mayonnaise), or whatever you desire. Serve warm!

FODMAPs Friendly Spinach Quiche

Enjoy your Wednesday evening!

Tofu Toast – Two Ways { Meatless Monday Recipes }

I think one of the hardest things about transitioning to veganism was finding a few go-to meals that were really low maintenance. I would love to spend a few hours in the kitchen everyday, but in reality, that isn’t always an option. I’m not strictly vegan anymore, but tofu toast is still one of my kitchen staples. In my mind, tofu and toast is just another version of eggs and toast. The options are endless, and an open-faced sandwich is something effortless to throw together when you come home late after a long day of work.

It’s no secret that I love tofu. For the longest time, I was really intimated by tofu unless it was fried because anything fried is amazing. But the more I started cooking with tofu, the more I really began to develop an appreciation for its utility. Tofu is pretty bland, but it generally takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. In my mind, this means lots of possibilities!

IMG_4404 copy

Both these “recipes” are easy dinners you can put together in five minutes – ten minutes tops. It might not be a perfect, well-balanced meal, but it is the perfect weeknight dinner when you have a million other things to do and need food. This has quickly become one of my favorite easy meals. And if you love tofu as much as I do, I hope you’ll try this toast.

IMG_4318 copy

 

Tofu Toast - Two Ways
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 Serving
Ingredients
FOR SPICY TOFU TOAST
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 3 ounces of tofu sliced (about ¼ a normal tofu package)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo, which is vegan)
  • Sriracha sauce
FOR AVOCADO TOFU TOAST
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 3 ounces of tofu sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • ½ avocado
  • Sauerkraut
  • Freshly ground peppercorn
Instructions
  1. Toast the bread.
  2. Heat a small fry pan over a medium heat.
  3. Slice tofu into four small slices, and add olive oil and tofu to frying pan. .Cook tofu, flipping occasionally, until it is golden brown on both sides.
  4. Assemble your toast! Slather each toast with mayonnaise or dijon mustard, and top with warm golden tofu. Garnish with Sriracha sauce or avocado and sauerkraut.
  5. Top with freshly ground peppercorn if desired.
  6. Devour immeidately!

IMG_4339 copy

IMG_4367 copy

Hope you a wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

The first time I had asparagus soup was nearly a year ago. I was in a small West Texas town on a staff retreat, and as usual, I was prepared with peanut butter and crackers, expecting my dining options to be slim. I was pleasantly surprised to find a small, local restaurant bursting with ambiance, eclectic art, and one vegan soup. I was a little weary of asparagus soup, especially in the middle of meat-eating country, but it was the only vegan thing on the menu. But, luckily, that soup was phenomenal – creamy, spicy, and everything that a good soup should be.

IMG_3950 copy

I know, I know – it isn’t asparagus season. But I think that is exactly why it’s the perfect time to make asparagus soup. When asparagus are in peak season, you only want to eat them roasted with a little salt and pepper because the flavor is so delectable and fresh. In the winter, when asparagus aren’t in prime season, a blended vegetable soup is the perfect solution.

Also, Asparagus is rumored to help prevent a hangover, so this is a ideal dinner before you go out for a drink on a cold winter night.

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus ( about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 - 2 jalapeños (depending on how spicy your jalapeños are/ how spicy you want your soup)
  • 3 - 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Sunflower seeds for garnish
  • Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Wash russet potatoes in vinegar, wrap in foil, and put in the oven for 1 hour.
  2. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and plenty of freshly ground peppercorn. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until tender.
  3. Heat stock pot on stove over low-medium heat. Dice onion and jalapeño, and add onion and jalapeño to stock pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté until onions are tender and translucent.
  4. Add roasted asparagus, roughly chopped russet potatoes, and vegetable broth to stock pot. Bring to a boil.
  5. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a blender. Add 1 tablespoon of dried parsley and salt to taste.
  6. Garnish with sunflower seeds and balsamic vinegar (not optional)!

Spicy Asparagus and Potato Soup

XOXO.

Tempeh Fried Rice { Meatless Monday Recipe }

It is definitely winter here in Washington, DC. No snow today, but cold, unforgiving rain. Winter isn’t my favorite time of year – mostly because Starbucks doesn’t have pumpkin spice lattes anymore. However, I do like living in a place with seasons that aren’t unpleasantly humid all-year long (cough – Houston – cough). So while winter may be uncomfortable, I try to appreciate the fun parts of winter like curling up with tea and reading or staying in to cook luxurious weeknight dinners.

Tempeh Fried Rice

I haven’t cooked with tempeh in a while because I’ve been slightly addicted to Twin Oaks tofu, but I forgot what a fulling, tasty vegetarian protein that tempeh is. Tempeh is soy product made from fermented soybeans, and it is a great source of fiber, iron, and protein – among other things. I use a brand called Lifghtlife (not an affiliate post – just love their products).

IMG_3805 copy

IMG_3817 copy

If you’re unfamiliar with tempeh, I would say that it has a really “meaty” texture. Unlike tofu, which I would describe as soft and a little bit flavorless, tempeh is chewy and has a thickness that reminds me of meat. It also has a bit of a sour flavor from the fermentation that adds depth to dishes. This recipe includes one of my favorite ways to marinate and cook tempeh, regardless of whether I’m mixing it with fried rice or not.

Tempeh Fried Rice { Meatless Monday Recipe }
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package of tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • Freshly ground peppercorn to taste
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 16 ounces of white button mushrooms
  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ginger
  • Sriracha sauce for garnish
Instructions
  1. First, chop the block of tempeh into small cubes, and marinate with Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, and freshly ground peppercorn in sandwich bag (or something similar). You can do this up to 24 hours in advance, or you can just let the tempeh marinate while the rice cooks.
  2. Second, cook cup of brown rice according to package instructions.
  3. After the rice is done cooking, get out your largest skillet or wok, and heat over a medium-high heat.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sesame oil, and marinated tempeh to skillet (or wok). Cook until tempeh begins to brown on each side, and then, remove tempeh from skillet.
  5. Turn down heat to low-medium heat, and add chopped mushrooms and finely chopped broccoli to skillet. Allow mushrooms and broccoli to cook until tender. If needed, you can put a lid on the skillet to expedite process.
  6. Remove mushrooms and broccoli from skillet, and drain any excess liquid.
  7. Return skillet to medium heat, add tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of fresh minced ginger. Cook until aromatic (around 30 seconds), and add brown rice.
  8. Cook rice for for a few minutes until a little crispy, and return tempeh, broccoli, and mushroom to pan, and mix everything together over a low heat.
  9. Serve warm with plenty of Sriracha sauce.

IMG_3861

Happy Meatless Monday! XO.

The Low FODMAPs Diet

IMG_3755 copy

If you aren’t familiar with the Low FODMAPs diet, it is a diet developed by a research team at Monash University that focuses on alleviating IBS symptoms. Without getting too graphic,  FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are notoriously difficult for the small intestine to absorb and, as a result, cause gastrointestinal disorders.

If you’re like me, you’ve suffered from gastrointestinal distress at some point in your life. At a time when I was having particularly bad IBS symptoms, I tried eating low FODMAPs for one week, which is a lot less than the suggested 2 – 6 weeks, but I immediately noticed an improvement in my symptoms. However, the terrible thing about avoiding FODMAPs, which includes Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-daccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, is that there are a lot of vegetables, including garlic (!!!) and onions (!!!), that are not FODMAPs-friendly.

As someone who loves cooking and relied  heavily on garlic and onion to flavor everything, I suddenly had to come up with other ways to season my food. So, in solidarity with all those people who suffer from IBS or might be following a Low FODMAPs diet, I want to  share weekly recipes that are easy, vegetarian, and FODMAPs-friendly.

IMG_3786 copy

IMG_3804

Saffron Rice with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Tofu
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This FODMAPS-friendly rice bowl avoids garlic, onions, and other FODMAPS without sacrificing on flavor. The saffron rice is complimented by the smokey flavor of roasted eggplant, tofu, and tomatoes. In addition, it is easy weeknight dinner that involves minimal prep and a little of bit of waiting while vegetables and tofu tenderize in the oven.
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 pinches of Spanish saffron threads
  • 2 small eggplants
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes
  • 14 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid aminos (or substitute low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Fresh peppercorn
  • Dried Parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine rice, olive oil, vegetable broth, and saffron in a pot, and bring to a boil. Then, cover, and simmer for 30 - 35 minutes until rice is tender and all the broth is absorbed.
  3. Cut eggplant and tofu into small ½ inch cubes. Cut grapes tomatoes in half.
  4. Toss eggplant, tomatoes, and tofu in olive oil, liquid aminos, maple syrups, and season with fresh peppercorn.
  5. Spread eggplant, tomatoes, and tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  6. Serve tofu and vegetables warm on top of saffron rice. Garnish with peppercorn and dried parsley as desired.

IMG_3703 copy

I definitely do not stick to this diet all the time, but it is nice to know that there is that there is something that works for me when my stomach is being particularly high-maintenance. If you  are interested in learning more about FODMAPs, Monash University has a smartphone app that has a lot of information about IBS and the Low FODMAPs diet. 

Buenos noches!

—–

Disclaimer: Please note, this blog is based on my personal experience with a Low FODMAPs diet. I’m not a dietitian, and I am not affiliated with Monash University in any way. If you are looking to change your diet, you should seek the advice of an experienced dietitian.

Warm Winter Cocktails

IMG_3667 copy

Yesterday, DC got a nice dusting of snow. It was enough that I felt validated to pull out my trusty Sorel boots, but not enough to justify skipping yoga.

I love snows days (at least until I slip and bruise my tailbone, and I’m trying to avoid that this winter). Snow delicately reminds me of my childhood. Growing up in Texas, snow was such a rarity. So stark cold days blanketed in white remind of yearly family ski vacations with spicy New Mexican food and  beautiful mountain scenery. And even though I have been living in a place with a real winter for almost ten years now, I still find snow a bit little magical, especially when I can admire it while wearing sweatpants inside.

If I’m lucky enough to have the time, my absolute favorite thing to do on a snow day is to curl up on the hearth of a roaring fire and read while sipping a warm cup of bottomless tea. Last year in DC, we had a lot of snow days, and while I didn’t have a fireplace to warm up next to – slipping some booze in your tea also does a great job of keeping your insides warm.

Almond Orange Boozy Tea
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This tea is one of my favorite warm winter cocktails. It’s perfect for a snow day - sitting inside and watching the snowflakes fall or to warm up with after a wicked long winter day.
Serves: 1 Drink
Ingredients
  • 1 bag of decaffeinated black tea
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • Dash of Grand Marnier
  • Cinnamon Stick for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Make tea according to package directions.
  2. Remove tea bag, and add all other ingredients.
  3. Enjoy responsibly!

Stay warm out there East Coast folks!

The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_3033 copy

At the beginning of 2010, after reading Skinny Bitch over the holidays, I decided to go vegan for one month. Although I was already predominantly a vegetarian, cheese was a significant part of my diet – probably my favorite part of my diet. But I wanted to be a skinny bitch, so I figured I could go without for just one month. Now, I’ve spent the better part of the last five years eating vegan for reasons less related to being a skinny bitch and more related to animal rights, environmental issues, and health. Not to mention, eating a plant-based, vegan diet just makes you feel good. While I no longer eat strictly vegan, I’m confident that I will maintain a plant-based lifestyle  and that dairy will never be a part of my daily repertoire.

Fortunately, since 2010, I’ve learned to replace some of my favorite dairy-laden meals with dairy-free alternatives. When I first stopped eating dairy, I though my beloved macaroni and cheese was a thing of the past. Throughout my childhood, macaroni and cheese was a coveted occasion, and I remember always trying to eat as much as my mother would possibly allow. Thankfully, replicating my favorite creamy comfort food isn’t as impossible as I once thought, and these days, my macaroni and cheese is totally guiltless and dairy-free.

IMG_3483 copyIMG_3489 copy

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This macaroni and cheese has been a staple in my in my kitchen for years. It is a simple recipe that comes together quickly and that be easily customized to anyone's liking. Some of my favorite variations include adding peas and carrots, adding red pepper flakes, or adding baked broccoli and tofu. I promise you won't even miss the cheese.
Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 4 servings of pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅓ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground peppercorn to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup of finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (or dried parsley)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a small saucepan, melt Earth Balance over a low-medium heat, and whisk in flour or cornstarch until a bubbly, thick paste forms.
  3. Add in almond milk and nutritional yeast, and turn up heat to medium.
  4. Whisk cheese sauce over a medium heat until a bubbles begin to form and the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. When mixture has a thick, velvety texture, return to a low heat, and mix in dijon mustard, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour sauce over pasta on low heat. Stir together, and garnish with parsley.
  7. Serve warm.

IMG_3545 copy

If you aren’t familiar with nutritional yeast, I would absolutely recommend trying it. Nutritional yeast – also referred to as “nooch” – is a deactivated yeast that gives off a cheesy, nutty flavor and is chock full of B vitamins. According to Huffington Post, Nutritional Yeast is the Magical Ingredient You Didn’t Know You Needed, and I concur completely. You can usually find it at Whole Foods or your local health food store. If not, both Amazon and iHerb sell it online. It’s a new year and a good time to try new things, so give nooch a chance.

Enjoy! XO

Leftover Black-Eyed Peas { Meatless Monday Recipe }

IMG_3286 copyI have always loved new things – new beginnings, new starts – full of so much promise and opportunity. And accordingly, I cherish a new year’s possibilities. As I begin 2015 (!!!) in my late twenties and I reflect back on the past year, I am filled with gratitude for the family and  friends who foraged 2014 with me. It was a hell of a year, yet it was a year full of truly good things – a year bursting with soul and spontaneity. So with open arms, I’m welcoming 2015, and I’m hoping for year just as challenging and a little less volatile.

I am no stranger to overzealous new year’s resolutions. I used write down rigorous resolutions determined that this year everything would be different, better. I would finally be the person that I wanted to be: I would run faster and write more handwritten notes and finally lose those last ten pounds. But as I’ve gotten older and, hopefully, wiser, I no longer attempt to completely overhaul my life on January 1st. Because, amidst the first world struggles of my everyday life, I wouldn’t wish anything different or better (although it would be really nice to have a job). Bright, shiny resolutions are nice, but for me, better no longer includes unrealistic expectations. I try to challenge myself everyday to be my best self and forgive myself when I fall short.

IMG_3269 copy

So this year, I focused on starting 2015 on a positive note, which included yoga; soup full of fresh vegetables and, of course, black-eyed peas and cabbage; and spending time with people I care about. If you have some leftover black-eyed peas (and even if you don’t), this soup is full of vegetables and healthy stuff to get your year started off right.

IMG_3308 copy

Vegetable Detox Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
In my family, we always eat black-eyed peas, cabbage, and corned beef on New Year’s Day. Supposedly, the black-eyed peas bring you luck and the cabbage brings you wealth. This year, I put together a really healthy, tomato-based vegetable soup with plenty of black-eyed peas and cabbage to ring in the New Year. This soup is a great soup to the New Year or a great soup for anytime you’re feeling the need for a warm, comforting bowl of soup packed-full of vegetables.
Serves: 12 Cups
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 ounces of shitake mushrooms
  • 8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms
  • 8 ounces of white mushrooms
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 2 small zucchini squash
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 cups of coarsely chopped purple cabbage
  • 32 ounces of tomato juice (preferably low-sodium)
  • 2 - 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 cups of black-eyed peas (about 15 - 16 ounces)
  • Avocado for garnish
  • Bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat a large stock pot over a medium heat. Finely slice leeks and mushrooms, and sauté in olive oil.
  2. While the leeks and mushrooms are cooking, chop the rest of your vegetables.
  3. When the leeks and mushrooms are tender, around 10 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, minus the black-eyed peas, and bring soup to a slow boil.
  4. As the soup begins to boil, reduce to a low-medium heat, add black-eyed peas, and cover.
  5. Cook for around 40 - 50 minutes.
  6. Garnish with sliced avocado, and serve warm, preferably with buttery bread.

IMG_3429 copy

I wish you all the best in 2015! Cheers to the New Year!