entrees

Stuffed Bell Peppers

39CF5BD5-16F0-4217-8F85-88F07F8C5309I am a strong believer in flavorful cooking. Yes I said it, I will not eat grass, I will not eat something that doesn’t make my tastebuds go wild! Ok, wait, I take that back… a little… I do eat things that are good for me nutritionally and that perhaps don’t taste the total best. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a wheatgrass shot or some fresh algae, and that to most doesn’t seem tasty, but to me I’m so use to these wonderfully nutritious items I’ll take em down knowing the benefits. It takes time to get there, don’t worry, and meanwhile I still eat really yummy spiced up foods!! I recommend starting to work on your spice cabinet pronto! Try to Grab organic when you can. I know it’s a little more expensive but it’s worth it. Your health is worth it. Buying all the spices upfront can get pricey, but with each recipe, you might find one new spice you need to purchase and it won’t seem so crazy expensive buying one or two at a time.

So back to the recipe. I actually never had a stuffed bell pepper when I was a child. Is that crazy? Did you eat them a lot when you were growing up? Once I got older and I realized how much fun it was to put a bunch of ingredients together and stuff them in a vegetable, I did! The possibilities are endless! You can flavor and add ingredients basically however you’d like, this is just one of my versions.

I always love to do Cajun or taco seasoning with my bell peppers, but I am also a huge Italian flavors fan!! So you could absolutely use Italian season and fresh basil and even a little tomato sauce to give those flavors. Though I might use garbanzo or white beans instead of black beans with an Italian version, which this recipe calls for. I also like to add a whole grain such as brown rice or quinoa to add nutrients and quinoa packs some protein. I also have a version of this recipe where I just used more beans and vegetable without the quinoa. Hit me up if you want that recipe.

I have made stuffed bell peppers a ton of times. They look fun and taste great. They are pretty dang hearty too. You can serve them with a side of salad or if there is something else you prefer, do that! Do what makes you feel good and what tastes good to you. Share these yummy suckers with your friends and family as well!! They’ll thank you for it.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers 

4 Bell peppers (top cut off, de-seeded and baked for 10 minutes at 400)

1 1/2 C Quinoa cooked (or rice )

1 small Onion

2 cloves of garlic

8 Mushrooms

1 Medium zucchini (chopped)

1/2  Package Taco Seasoning

1/2 Rounded Cup of Daiya cheese, any flavor your heart desires!   OR You can use half a cream cheese tub

1/2 can of Black Beans (BPA free can or box or soak and boiling your own is even better!)

Optional: instead of beans, you can grab a meat substitute like “ground meat” or another favorite. (I just try to stay away from processed as much as possible which is why beans are such a great low fat protein option).

Method:

-Cook the Quinoa according to package, make sure you rinse it properly before cooking. Set aside to cool until it is ready to mix with the other ingredients.

-If you want your bell peppers to stand, Cut the tops off and take the inner seeds out of the bell peppers. If you would like to lay them on their side, keep the tops on and cut the peppers in half lengthwise and take the seeds out, spray oil on the the bell peppers and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool to the touch before stuffing.

-Sauté the chopped onions and garlic (about 5 minutes), then add zucchini (cook 3-5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté (for 3 more minutes).

-Once the veggies are sautéed and the quinoa is ready, place them and the black beans in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix together. Add the cheese and pulse one more time.                                 ——-If you’re adding cream cheese, you can spoon that in with these ingredients to the food processor as well. ——————-If you don’t have a food processor, cut the vegetables into very small pieces and just mix the cheese into the other ingredients in a bowl.

-Spoon the mixture into the bell peppers and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. If desired, at 15 minutes, place some vegan cheese on top.

-Then, please enjoy.

love, Stephie xoxo

 

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appetizers

7 Layer Bean Dip

374E99E3-0479-44B1-A91C-C8073EDB5079Ok, So I’m going to be real honest here. Growing up, dad wasn’t really around. So football parties and get togethers weren’t a huge thing around our house. BUTTT for whatever reason… Superbowl parties always took place at our house! If I had to work during the game I found myself so bummed! I realized shortly after this behavior that it wasn’t that I was bummed to miss the game, but I was bummed to miss the party and eat food. LOL. Yes, it bummed me out to miss the food. I want good food too ok?! I was always in charge of making the dips. Bean dip, Onion dip, and Ranch dip. Of course, as you can probably imagine, 7 layer bean dip isn’t traditionally made vegan. So naturally I had to veganise it.

I am pretty sure I ave said this to you all before. When you are first transitioning, find a few of your favorite dishes and make them vegan! When your comfortable making something its so much easier to make it healthier with different swaps. So that is exactly what I did. I think Tofutti Brand makes a nice “sour cream” and for the cheese on top, Earth Island, formerly known as Follow your heart, makes a good shredded cheese. You do need to check your refried beans and make sure that they are also vegan. I was actually surprised that many refried beans still contain lard or other animals fats in them. I get it, they make it taste better, i guess… But they have been time and time again been called out for being unhealthy. But whatever, not trying to call anyone out here right now. I am just saying, check your beans at every meal.

If you wanted to keep it super wholesome and real, you could make a sour cream out of nuts, homemade, and you could take some black beans and spices and blend them into a dip to make “refried” beans. That is totally fine with me and I actually encourage it, I just know not everyone has the time to do that or learn it, at least perhaps not at this present moment.

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7 Layer Bean Dip

-1 can refried beans

-1/2 package taco seasoning

-1/2 package of sour cream (I like Tofutti)

-Home made or store bought guacamole 

-1/2 package of vegan cheese (I like Earth Island or Daiya)

-6oz Can of sliced olives 

-3 tomatoes chopped 

-4 scallions finely chopped

Method:

-Mix almost the entire half package of taco seasoning, save a little to sprinkle over the sour cream later, then save the other half package for next time you make this. 

-It’s a pretty easy layering game. Put the ingredients into a square Pyrex dish in the order the list goes. 

-Serve immediately, or cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours. You can keep this dip up to 3-5 days. Bring this to a party and don’t say it’s dairy free, see if anyone says anything…

appetizers

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower! It is so healthy and so versatile in cooking. So many people have gotten crazy creative with how to use it in cooking and baking. It is so great!!! You can steam it and then throw it in a blender in order to add creaminess to a non dairy soup. You can also make rice or mashed potatoes out of it. Some people are using cauliflower as a pizza crust and many vegan restaurants are making buffalo cauliflower appetizers, which is probably one of my top favorites out there! If you haven’t tried buffalo cauliflower bites, that is a total must!

Cauliflower yields some great nutrients and antioxidants! It is very high in vitamin C! One medium size head is more than your daily intake of Vitamin C needed and is about 11g of protein! It is also high in Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Magnesium, and calcium. Cauliflower contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber is important for digestive health and can even reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, especially those relating to your bowels. It is also high in fiber and antioxidants which are great in helping your body and cells combat disease, such as cancer.

To be completely honest, growing up, I did not care much about cauliflower. I thought it smelled bad and when I grew up it took me a while to get around to cooking it. I had memories from childhood and was slightly scared of it because I didn’t even know where to start in trying to cook this awkwardly hard and  rough plant. Once I got over the hump and cooked it once, I decided it wasn’t so bad. Moral of the story, if you’re like me, and have never cooked with it and are a little frightened, just try making it once or twice and you’ll get the hang of it. The first time I attempted to cook it, I steamed in for about 9 minutes and then threw it into my high speed blender to make a creamy soup. Now, I also enjoy baking it in the oven or chopping it up small and sautéing it. The other night, I finally tried the cauliflower pizza from Trader Joe’s, AND IT CAME OUT BOMB!!! Anyways, we’re talking about baking it, so shall we get to that portion??

Recently, I went to this really great Italian restaurant with some friends. The Cauliflower appetizer, minus the butter it normally would be cooked in, was one of the things I could eat on the menu. Normally it’s made drizzled in butter so I asked the waiter if he’d mind asking the chef to use oliv oil instead. He said, “YES!!!” So the way they prepped it was with chili, oil, and capers. Myself and my non plantbased friends thoroughly enjoyed it. My friends even said they thought it was the best thing out of everything on the table they had eaten! Win! Well… Naturally, I had to make this at home, IMMEDIATELY!! And I did. It’s pretty simple. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy my beautiful friends!!

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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: 
-1 Head Cauliflower
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce (I used sambal) you can also use 2 Tablespoons for you spicy lovers!!
-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
-1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Method:
-Preheat oven to 425.
– While oven preheats, wash and cut the cauliflower. The way I do it, is by sticking a knife slightly slanted at the base where the root is, almost as if to cut a hole in the bottom. You’re basically trying to take the root out. Once you’ve done that, you can break the pieces off and cut the big pieces into smaller pieces.
-Throw all the pieces into a bowl adding all the ingredients and mix it well to evenly coat the cauliflower. Sometimes adding half the ingredients and mixing, and then adding the rest works a little easier for coating!
-Once the cauliflower is coated, oil a baking pan or dish and put in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes.
-Cauliflower should feel a bit softer. If you like it crunchier, check it at 15-20 minutes.
-Take it out and let it cool. Then top it with capers for an added flavor burst.
-Enjoy.
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appetizers, entrees

Pasta Salad

97C40395-84C4-4B85-9858-3EA2C9596699Im going to be quite frank with you… I LOVE PASTA!! I could eat it with an oil based sauce, such as vegan butter or olive oil, I could do red sauce, pink sauce, cheezy sauce, pesto sauce, etc… So which genius decided to make it cold and add vegetables and serve as a lunch or side??!! I’m going to say, probably a wonderful Italian woman! Maybe I’m wrong, correct me, contact and tell me!!

Anyways, pasta salad… It is a great side dish or even served as lunch! I had it for lunch today and it was super satisfying. It’s been really hot in Southern California and I am not seeing the fun in cooking and baking during the day, so most of my dishes during the day are left overs from the night before, salads, or smoothies and nice cream, hehe.

I made this pasta salad last night and let it sit in the fridge to develop all of the flavors. Sitting overnight with any food is truly my favorite, it soaks up the flavor more and it’s always so easy to place out to eat or warm up, in this case, just get it out of the fridge, it’s suppose to be cold.

The flavors of the Italian dressing and crispy raw vegetables go together so great! The slight tang from the vinegar and flavor from the Italian seasoning is wonderful! I suggest you try this recipe and if you’d like to add anything you’re more than welcome. I mean, at the end of the day, this is a salad and who is to yell you exactly what you can or can’t put in it…???

I love olives and I messed around with a few different kinds. I think my favorite combo was black olives and kalmata olives. Either or would be fine too! If you’d like to add a little vegan cheese or some garbanzo beans for extra protein, GO RIGHT AHEAD! Create that shizzzz!

 

Pasta Salad

-1/2 package Spiral pasta

-3 Green onions or 1/4 white onion

-1 small can Black olives or 1/2 jar Kalmata olives

-1/2 Bell pepper (any color you want)

-5 Tablespoons Italian dressing

-Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional: vegan cheese, kidney beans or garbanzo beans.

Method:

-Cook pasta to package directions, then let it cool down or run it under cold water. 

-While the pasta cooks, chop all the ingredients and place in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

-Once your pasta is cold, toss it with the other ingredients and if you can’t wait, then serve it right away, ORRR for better results, let it sit for 4 hours or overnight.

***If you decide to add the other options I listed, make sure you add those as well! Beans add healthy nutrients and protein!

AND remember: Tag me with your creations, I LOOOOOVE seeing your recipe creations! Peace and Love my friends. ❤️💜🌱🥦💋