avocado kale sauce

Avocado Kale Sauce

WOW. Funny story, and by funny, I mean devastating: I had this recipe posted with a great back story. The photos were gorgeous. The commentary was hilarious (as always). It all came together beautifully. As I hit “Publish”, went to the page, and said, “Oops! I forgot to add my Featured Image!” I went back to edit it and add it in. As I hit “Update”, I was brought to my newly updated page, which had the Featured Photo…but, inexplicably, deleted ALL OF MY TEXT AND PHOTOS.

*deep breath*

So, here are the photos of this luscious and delicious sauce (which can be made vegan-friendly!) served with sweet potato noodles, here are the ingredients, here are the directions, and I promise that my next post will have more humor and substance to it. Ha! I realize that this recipe riffs on a few prior avocado sauce recipes I’ve made for this blog, but, eh, I still post a third one proudly. 😉

avocado kale sauce

avocado kale sauce

avocado kale sauce

Avocado Kale Sauce
(Makes roughly 2 – 2 & 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 1 ripe avocado
– 3 – 4 kale leaves, washed, de-ribbed, and roughly torn
– 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or skyr or non-dairy yogurt or cashew cream (for vegan version)
– 1/4 cup room temperature water
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
– Salt, to taste.

Directions:

1.) In a blender, add avocado, yogurt of choice or cashew cream, olive oil, and garlic. Blend until smooth; if mixture is too thick, slowly more add water and blend until desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste. Store in refrigerator if not using immediately; will keep fresh for up to 4 days.

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

‘Tis the season for an annual tradition with my friend Emilie: Once a winter, we get together and cook; namely, we cook cheese grits. This is one of my all-time favorite foods, so creamy and comforting. We usually make a recipe that involves baking it in the oven with roughly 16 ounces (no exaggeration) of various cheeses…plus, we obviously nibble here and there. Would it be the first time I’ve consumed a pound of cheese in a day? Definitely not. Am I proud that I’ve consumed a pound of cheese in a day in the past? OH. YES. YES I AM. However, this time, I suggested me make the tried and true Alton Brown version, with only 4 measly ounces of cheese, but two cups of milk, so I still got my dairy fix. (Ha!)

Emilie, helping prep Brussels Sprouts, the radishes, and some kohlrabi.

Lucky for me, when she came up to my apartment, she also had plenty of vegetables to share, from Brussels sprouts to a kohlrabi roughly the size of my head. She also had three watermelon (or rainbow) radishes with her. These babies seemingly graced each and every Instagram salad photo I came across last summer, their insides truly mirroring a sweet summer watermelon. However, we queried what we wanted to do with them, as we had no salads to top. Hey, roasting is always a good “go to” option, eh?

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

I wasn’t sure what flavor to expect, but I was pleased with its mellowed-down flavor combined with some excellent caramelization from where the pieces had laid (<—proper usage? I hope so!) on the roasting pan. We dressed them quite simply: olive oil and Himalayan pink salt. BOOM. A few of these pieces are surprisingly filling, too. I had many the day we made them and manage to have enough to complement my lunch at work the yesterday and today!

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

The hue of the radishes got me amped! Goodbye dreary winter! Let’s bring on spring, y’all. Can’t wait to grab more at my local farmers’ market soon!

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

Roasted Watermelon Radishes
(Makes 18 pieces)

Ingredients:

– 3 watermelon radishes
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste (I used Himalayan pink salt)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Scrub radishes, cut off ends, and cut into sections; I yielded 6 pieces from each radish.

3.) Place radish pieces onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with one teaspoon salt, and toss thoroughly. Spread evenly across the baking sheet.

4.) Roast for 45 – 50 minutes. Check radishes at the 30 minute mark to insure proper roasting; radishes should be tender and caramelized at the bottom by the time they are finished cooking, but not overly browned or burned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more salt to taste. Eat immediately; these do store well in the fridge for 2 – 3 days post-roasting.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

Ugh, I know, this recipe is familiar (I’ve done this…AND this…in the past) and this genre of oat-based creations is a trifle overdone.

Truth: This recipe post was supposed to be my version of Spaghetti al Limone. I was looking through all of the photos I took of it last weekend and shook my head in defeat as I softly muttered, “…nope…nope…nope…nope…” Honestly, not one photo of the bunch was worthy of posting. The lighting on the day I took the photos of the dish was okay, but most photos turned out blurry. In addition, most looked awkward in plating / presentation.

The upside? I guess I’ll have to make…and eat…another batch of Spaghetti al Limone soon! There are certainly worse calamities to deal with in this wacky world of ours.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

So…here’s a filler recipe. My opening sentence may make it seem as though I’m knocking overnight oats on the whole. I’m not. This recipe is my life saver and delicious to boot!  I doubled it last week, brought it to work, and had breakfast for two days!

After years of experimentation, I find that a nice healthy glob of peanut butter is what makes my overnight oats the most palatable and satiating. Yogurt makes them pasty, in my multiple experiences; peanut butter keeps ’em creamy.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats

If y’all catch me trying to post another blueberry and oat amalgamation in the future, please stop me from myself. Ha! I think I’ve reached my quota for this blog. 😉

Peanut Butter Blueberry Overnight Oats
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1/2 cup milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
– 1 teaspoon honey (or sweetener of choice; omit honey if vegan)
– 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or other nut butter)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 hearty dashes of ground cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– If your peanut butter is too hard or creamy, microwave it until softened.

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Transfer to container of choice and place in refrigerator. Allow to sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Oats will stay edible for up to three days.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

I am odd when it comes to citrus fruits: I love the flavors, but if it comes to eating one in its whole form, such as orange slices, I am completely turned off. The texture is wholly unappealing, like eating little fleshy juice pods enveloped in a flimsy waxy membrane. I can’t. I just can’t. However, if I smash and grind that orange’s flesh and release its juices into a glass, I can’t get enough! I enjoy adding elements of citrus into a fair share of my meals, be it laying lemon slices beneath my baked chicken breasts or folding lime zest into a bowl of whipped cream.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

On a chilly Saturday with a light snow in the forecast, I was feeling cozy and ready to bake. After an eventful morning of going to the gym and…well…scrolling through the Explore tab on Instagram, my eyes were instantly drawn to ruby red triangles atop something surely delicious. I clicked the photo to enlarge it. “VEGAN OLIVE OIL AND BLOOD ORANGE MUFFINS”, I read in striking caps locked letters. I love blood oranges! Their color is so warm, impossible to draw my eyes away from. I said, “That’s it! That’s what I’m going to bake!” As I walked into CTown, the section usually full of autumn squashes had been replaced with grapefruits and oranges of all sizes. I excitedly walked towards them, my face falling when I realized that none of the oranges were of the blood variety! *sigh* I cracked my knuckles and twisted my mouth to express disappointment, but, a navel orange was better than no orange. I bought two large ones and headed home, eager to bake and improvise.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Upon arrival home, I quickly I remembered that I didn’t have a muffin pan, either. In my head, I recalled a roommate once saying to me, months ago, “I have one! I put it in the cupboard!” I looked and came up empty-handed. While my first inclination was to grab a small baking dish, there was my trusty donut pan, beckoning me to fill it up with some fresh batter.

I could not resist the call.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

I have followed other vegan donut recipes in the past, such as Giselle’s bomb Vegan Baked Golden Milk Donuts (with my almost-vegan adaptation right here). I thought to myself, “Well…either this recipe will work, as is, as a donut…or it won’t. Let’s do this!” Indeed, I did it, and with very few tweaks, the end result was pretty damn delicious! What I pulled from my oven was a baked donut akin to cornbread with a citrusy essence. The polenta certainly provides a slightly crunchy interior; I baked the first batch of donuts immediately after making the batter, and I baked the second batch after I had let the better sit for almost 45 minutes. I’ve decided that letting it sit provides more time for the corn to soften; I could tell a distinct difference between the two batches of donuts. While both were great, I would opt for the slightly marinated corn kernel grounds.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Totally healthy, you guys. Totally. Eat the whole dozen with abandon!

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts
(Makes 12 donuts)
(Recipe adapted from Recipes From A Pantry’s recipe for Vegan Olive Oil & Blood Orange Muffins)

Ingredients:

Donuts:

– 1 cup polenta, preferably coarse (I used Bob’s Red Mill Polenta)
– 1 cup flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used Malk Organics Unsweetened Almond Malk)
– 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed (I used a large navel orange)
– 1/3 cup olive oil (or another vegetable oil may be substituted here)
– 1/3 cup sugar (I used Sugar In The Raw)

Orange Glaze:

– 1 teaspoon orange zest
– 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons orange juice; fresh-squeezed

Before We Get Started…

– If you have a six cavity donut pan (which is the usual capacity for your average donut pan), be sure to clean out and re-grease the cavities before baking your second batch of donuts; this recipe, if followed properly, makes exactly twelve donuts.

– The glaze mixture will look thin, and that is okay! The goal is not to glaze the donuts in a traditional sense; once dipped, the donuts will have a slight sheen and the remainder of the glaze will absorb into the donuts.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of the donut pan’s cavities. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine the polenta, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3.) In a medium bowl, whisk milk, orange juice, olive oil, and sugar until thoroughly combined.

4.) Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 – 45 minutes.

5.) Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a gallon-sized seal-top plastic bag; if using plastic bag, cut off small corner to pipe out mixture. Evenly pipe mixture into cavities of donut pan until filled. NOTE: If you prefer not to pipe, you can carefully spoon mixture into the cavities until filled.

6.) Place in oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 20 minutes; carefully remove donuts from pan and allow to continue cooling on cooling rack. As mentioned in Before We Get Started..., clean and re-grease cavities to make remaining donuts; repeat directions in this step for remaining donuts.

7.) In a medium to large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet or other easily washable surface to catch any glaze runoff. Gently dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze, carefully turn over, and place the unglazed side on the wire rack. Repeat until all donuts are glazed.

Vegan Orange Polenta Baked Donuts

Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup

Though I have little room in my freezer (due partly to roommates that have frozen vegetables and TV dinners…), I still love to cook pots of soup in the winter and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day (or, better, a snowy day). Soup is a comfort food to me; growing up, I ate bowls of my Nana Fracaro’s chicken soup with tubettini pasta, no matter if it was in the middle of winter or at 11:30 on a hot summer’s morning while we watched “The Price Is Right“. Whenever I go to a restaurant, if I see a good Soup Du Jour on the menu, I go for it. I’ll take my soups any way I can take them, though I tend to lean towards a good classic chicken noodle, gazpacho, vichyssoise, French Onion, or cream of tomato.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to lighten my recipes up where I can (such as with my plant-based Creamy Tomato Soup with Cashew Cream or my Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs), and, well, here is another example! Trying to get back to my good veggie grind, I wanted a hearty vegetable-packed soup to last me a few work days.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Between the tomatoes, kale, carrots, onions, garlic, and herbs, I felt as though I ate the entire garden. That is not a bad thing.

Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup
(Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Quick Tomato, White Bean, & Kale Soup)

Ingredients:

– 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
– 1 large carrot, chopped
– 2 large garlic cloves, minced
– 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
– 1 medium Yukon Gold or Russet potato, peeled and diced
– 4 cups kale, stemmed, washed, and roughly chopped (roughly 1/4 pound of kale)
– 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 6 cups water
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 – 2 cups pre-cooked rice (optional)
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– This soup tastes absolutely amazing on its own! That being said, after making and photographing my initial batch, I added some leftover rice I had from some Indian takeout I had a few nights prior. WOW. The soup was really enhanced by the rice. Though loaded with vegetables and beans, the broth is, well, brothy! It’s not creamy or fatty. The rice does add a tad of starch to the broth, as well an a little bit of bulk to the soup in general. It’s a lovely addition if you choose to go that direction!

Directions:

1.) Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven on the stove. over medium heat. Add olive oil, allow to heat up slightly, then add add the onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Cook vegetables for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until tender; be careful to not let vegetables brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.

2.) Stir in tomatoes and juice from the can and combine with vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until until the tomatoes have slightly reduced.

3.) Add water, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, parsley, and potato. Bring soup to boil, cover, and simmer until potato chunks are tender, roughly 10 minutes.

4.) Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale is wilted down but still holds some of its shape. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes; if adding pre-cooked rice, add and stir in with beans. Serve immediately or allow to cool slight before putting into storage containers for refrigeration or freezing.