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Jul 15th

Victorious Vegi-dillas

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Makes 4-6 folded tortillas 

IMG_7324_rt_smCooking healthier meals can sometimes involve a lot of trial and error. I’ve been trying to come up with a winning quesadilla for months with limited success. They often come out looking great, but tasting bland.

After much persistence and quite a few boring meals, I’ve come up with a healthy quesadilla worthy of putting into regular rotation. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to make, now that all of the experimentation is done.

It’s always inspiring to me when my efforts yield new, healthy meal choices that I can savor and share. Here’s to ongoing perseverance with your healthy-living efforts!

Ingredients:

1 bag 8″ whole wheat tortillas
1 15 or 16 oz can refried beans, either pinto or black beans (low-fat and vegetarian varieties are available in the natural food sections of many grocery stores)
1 small red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 bunch of scallions, finely diced
1 clove of garlic (omit if there’s garlic in the refried beans)
1-2 cu fresh baby spinach
3/4 cu frozen corn (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods fire-roasted corn adds some smoky flavor. Regular frozen corn is also good)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp oil of choice

Directions:

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and cook scallions and garlic until lightly browned.

Add in refried beans and frozen corn and heat until just warmed. Stir cayenne pepper into bean mixture.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. No oil is needed, really!

While pan is heating, lay a tortilla onto a plate and spread a few tablespoons of the bean mixture across half of the tortilla. Then layer on a few red pepper slices and enough spinach leaves to cover the half.

Fold tortilla over and flatten it, pressing edges together to form a loose seal.

Place the folded tortilla on the pan and cook for about 2½ minutes on each side, flipping a few times to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Make enough quesadillas to eat at one meal. Any unused bean mixture can be refrigerated until you’re ready to make another round. It’s a great weeknight meal that can be made in 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve topped with salsa, guacamole or vegan sour cream.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

 

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Jun 12th

Mindful Mango Frozen Dessert

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mindful_mango_sm

Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a big bowl of ice cream and devoured it on auto-pilot, barely aware of having eaten it, but realizing all too soon that you feel bloated and bad? Or maybe you devoured a dessert while lost in thought? We all do this at times.

When you take the time to pause and shift your focus to being more present while eating, you’ll find that preparing your own desserts and snacks with whole, fresh ingredients makes snacking much more meaningful and healthy, yet still incredibly tasty. You may even find that you only need a small portion to feel indulged.

After putting time and effort into making a treat, you’ll want to savor it slowly. And when you’re the one choosing each ingredient, it makes for a guilt-free, bloat-free snacking experience, and one that you’ll thank yourself for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled
  •  1 large, ripe mango, peeled
  • 1/4 c almond milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2TB almond or cashew butter (optional)

Directions:

Dice up mango into roughly 1/4” pieces and chop bananas into rounds ahead of time. Freeze for several hours in a resealable freezer bag.

Spin all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping & scraping the sides down with a spatula a couple times. This will take 3- 5 minutes. When it appears soft and creamy with no chunks of fruit, it’s done.

It can be eaten right away if you like a melty consistency, or it can be allowed to firm up more in the freezer.

Garnish with coconut flakes or toasted nuts.

Makes roughly 1.5 pints, or 4 to 6 small portions. Left-over portion will freeze more solid than dairy ice cream & will need several more minutes of thawing time.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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May 13th

Pastabilities

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pastaIt’s easy to fall into a rut with meal-planning. How do we maintain our enthusiasm for preparing healthy meals when we’re feeling tired or uninspired?

This dish was inspired by a comfort food meal thrown together when I wasn’t feeling at all like cooking. I discovered that pasta combined with butternut squash soup makes for a creamy mac & cheese-like dish, without the dairy!

After trying it, I was suddenly buzzing with ideas about what could be added to the dish next time around. May you also feel inspired and enthusiastic about healthy meal possibilities this Spring!
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of quinoa or whole grain pasta
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 TB, oil of choice
  • 1 & 1/2 cans of Amy’s Organic Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 bag or 4 oz. of rainbow slaw (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions, then drain, put a lid on, and set aside. Brown onions with a 1 TB oil in a sauce pan for 10-15 minutes. Add minced garlic for the last minute of cooking. While onions are cooking, shred carrot using a peeler or food processor. Break broccoli up roughly by hand into small florets about 1 inch in size. Add soup to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until bubbly. Add broccoli and carrots to soup mixture. Cook for an additional two minutes, stirring frequently. Add in slaw and heat for an additional 30 seconds. Pour soup mixture into pasta and stir gently to combine. Mix it up by putting together your own unique combination of favorite veggies!

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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Apr 14th

Plant-Powered Patties

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patties_smVegetables can act as natural strength and immunity boosters, helping you to sustain wellness during the transition from chilly spring mornings to warmer days. These savory patties contain several powerhouse veggie ingredients – spaghetti squash, spinach, and mushrooms – which are packed with vital nutrients and contain antioxidants known for assisting in immunity.

If you tend to avoid preparing squash because it’s tough to cut – you’ll be empowered to use it much more frequently after following the easy tips below.

Makes 12-15 patties, a side dish for 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (1½–2 lb.)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped up small
  • 1 cup baby bella or cremini mushrooms, chopped up small
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, (or finely crumbled rice crackers)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose (or gluten-free) flour
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Several TB oil of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Puncture squash several times with a knife, then microwave 2 minutes on high to soften slightly. Slice off one end, then stand upright on cut end. Cut straight down length of squash. Scrape out seeds with a spoon.

Place the halves cut side down in a flat pyrex dish or rimmed baking sheet, and add about 1 1/2” of water to pan. Bake 30 minutes, or until squash yields when pierced with a fork. Flip over and let squash cool for 10 minutes. Scrape out strands with a fork, measuring out 2 1/2 cups squash for the patty mixture.

While squash is baking, brown scallions in a pan with 1 TB of oil for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms to the scallions, cooking for about 6 minutes, and stirring frequently with a spatula until the water has cooked off.

Steam spinach for only 30 seconds or less, until just slightly wilted. Press dry with a clean towel.

Stir together scallions, mushrooms, egg, cracker crumbs, flour, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Work in the spaghetti squash & spinach. Season with salt and black pepper, if desired.

Divide mixture into 2-inch patties.

Heat 2-3 TB oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat, and cook patties in a couple batches, keeping some space between each patty in the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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Mar 13th

Gorgeous Golds & Greens

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goldsandgreensThere is often great beauty in simplicity… and more beauty that results from feeding our bodies with fresh, wholesome ingredients that make us shine from within.

This dish, with just 4 main ingredients, couldn’t be more simple or more lovely in freshness and appeal.

Golden beets are a mellow, earthy cousin to the red variety. They can be found locally from late fall to early spring at natural food markets. To cut down on prep time, make the beets ahead of time, then rewarm them while prepping the greens.

(Makes 2 large servings)

Ingredients:

    • 3 golden beets (2.5″ to 3” in diameter)
    • 6 large leaves of swiss chard
    • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
    • 1/8 cup toasted sesame seeds (buy pre-toasted, or toast briefly in a dry pan)
    • sea salt & black pepper to taste
    • 1 Tbsp. dried dill (optional)

Directions:

To prepare beets: Chop off ends, and cut into roughly 2” pieces, leaving skin on. Steam in a large pot over medium/high heat until tender, about 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on the water level. Plunge beets into a bowl of ice water after cooking, and the skin will rub off easily by hand, under the water. Rinse beets well after removing the skins, and then season them lightly with dried dill, salt, & pepper.

To prepare greens: Rinse and tear swiss chard leaves by hand into roughly 4” pieces. Add a few tablespoons of water to a dry pan, and steam greens for 1-2 minutes until just slightly wilted, being careful to not overcook.

Arrange beets on a bed of greens, then sprinkle on sesame seeds and goat cheese.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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