Vegan Mexican Caldo

aka Caldo De Chickpeas

caldo12_8

I’m sorry I’ve been so flaky with posting. Life is crazy, yes, but everyone’s lives are always crazy. I’m no different.

It’s not the lack of time, but rather the lack of good words.  I had a huge slip in the past week or so, and I felt worse that I’ve felt in a long time. Mad. Exhausted. I didn’t run, I couldn’t walk down the grocery store aisle, even.

Not for lack of physical ability.

I’d been feeling fine, and for no reason at all I didn’t feel fine anymore.  Well, there was a reason, but I think that was merely a straw and not the true bulk of …. of…. of whatever.  Still, I was angry at the straw. The straw hadn’t meant to harm, but had harmed nonetheless.

This is probably too much for a blog post about soup. I have been feeling a little better this week and am focusing on getting back into a healthy routine. Or at least a routine.

Sorry.

Ahem, onto the soup.

I wanted something classic and comforting, but healthy and light.  Any abuela worth her salt (con limón) knows that Caldo de Pollo is textbook Mexican comfort food. Although every home chef has their own variation, the basic elements are chicken in bone stock, rice, a bit of pepper. And a mirepoix of sorts with huge chuncks of carrots instead of finely diced ones. If it has little pea-sized carrot bits, it’s not caldo. You can, however, have an awesome Caldo without the Pollo.

dancing-carrots

I have finally joined the mass obsession with chickpeas. I get it now. I need to start soaking them instead of buying them in cans because our recycling is getting ridiculous. We don’t have curbside pickup, which means we usually get a pretty big pile before one of us draws the short straw to drive it in.

Kidding. I always make Jason do it.

This soup is incredibly simple and cheap, with ample servings of iron and protein. I generous lemon squeeze and a chopped up jalapeno give it a bright peppy edge. Despite its Mexican influences, this isn’t a bad soup to eat with chopsticks aside your spoon. They make the spinach easier to pick up.

But if you lost your chopsticks down the garbage disposal, or accidentally threw it out with the leftovers or whatever, a fork is fine too. We’re humans. We adapt, right?

Vegan Mexican Caldo

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 main servings, or 4 side servings

Vegan Mexican Caldo

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 oz of carrots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • salt to taste
  • a few cilantro sprigs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 jalapeno

Instructions

  1. Chop up the carrots into chunks. Not little chunks.
  2. Place the carrots, the onion, the bay leaf, the garlic clove, and about 1/2 cup of the broth in a medium saucepan. Cover, cook over medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes, until carrots soften. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Slice the jalapeno and add it to the soup along with the chickpeas and the rest of the broth
  4. Allow the soup to re-heat, about 5-7 minutes
  5. Add the lemon juice, turn off the heat, and add the spinach. The spinach will wilt quickly.
  6. Garnish with cilantro, serve with love and tortillas.
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http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/vegan-mexican-caldo/

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Pop-Tarts

tiny DIY Pop-Tarts with only a handful of ingredients

Jason is a guy who loves breakfast junk food. Chocolate chip pancakes, gallons of syrup, full fat chocolate milk, waffles with a layer of chunky peanut butter 1-inch thick; an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It doesn’t bother me because he doesn’t eat like this on a regular basis. We’re all allowed our food vices.

Even if it did bother me, he’s the stubbornest husband in the world, so I could nag my head off and it wouldn’t make a lick of a difference.

Last week, he mentioned something about Pop-Tarts. I tucked it in the back of my mental food Filofax, but then I decided that it needed to be pushed up to the front. I didn’t want to make anything complicated, and these are simple as can be. They are actually rather low mess, which fit well with my goal of “oh-please-let-the-kitchen-be-clean-for-longer-than-30-minutes.” I didn’t have to leave the house for ingredients, as they were already tucked in various corners of my kitchen*. And lastly, it was Valentines Day and food is full-blown love gesture in my world.

He ate more than half of them within 20 minutes or so. That made me incredibly freaking happy. I love feeding my guy.

DIY Gluten Free Vegan Blueberry Poptarts

Frozen blueberries are one of my favorite ingredients.  I can’t say that I’m hypercreative with them — I cycle between smoothies and jam, smoothies and jam.  There’s no shame in this apparent redundancy — there are dozens of blueberry smoothie recipes and a plethora of ways to use jam.

I’ve been making frozen fruit and date jam for awhile now, and I like it because tastes better than store jam, and is simpler then pectin jam. You just throw dates and fruit in a saucepan and when it gets jut right, blend it up and you’re done.  It’s easier when you have an immersion blender, which I currently don’t. Mine burned out several months back I have yet to replace it. I gotta get on that because it’s winter and I’m backlogged on my creamy comforting soups.

Also, another thing about this jam — it’s less messy than other jams. That sounds very weird and suspicious and y’all aren’t believing me on this, but don’t know how else to describe it. See how the jelly is peeking out a little from the side of the crust? Well, when you bite into it, it doesn’t squirt out or anything (at room temp. no promises on hot jam). Maybe Hot Jam! should be me new exclamation. Hot Jam, it’s cold out! Hot Jam, you look cute those boots! Hot Jam, Annie’s a real nerd, isn’t she? 

vegan gluten free pop-tarts diy pop-tarts

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Poptarts

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 11-12 mini pop tarts

Serving Size: 1 pop tart

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup of rolled oats, ground to flour
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 pitted dates, softened in hot water
  • pinch of salt
  • Jelly
  • 2 cups frozen Maine blueberries
  • 5 pitted dates
  • sprinkles
  • coarse flake sea salt
  • zest from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Before you begin, set the blueberries out to defrost for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Crust
  3. Blend together the dates, the peanut butter, and the oat flour. It should ball up in your blender or food processor. I love this part because the sticky stuff gets on the ball and not the blender cup, making for easy cleanup. Yay!
  4. Roll the crust out to 1/8 inch thick, then cut rectangles that are 1 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inches. should end up with 22-24 rectangles. If they get hard or crusty to roll at the end of the batch, roll the dough in your hands for a bit to warm up the pb oils.
  5. Jelly
  6. Place the defrosted blueberries and the five dates in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, covered for 6 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes. Imitiatley remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Blend the blueberries to an even consistency.
  8. To assemble
  9. Place 1/2 to 3/4 of a tsp of jelly on a crust rectangle and cover gingerly with another rectangle. Don't pinch the ends together with a fork-- there's not enough room-- just press together gently with your fingers.
  10. Sprinkle lemon zest and a little bit of salt over top. If you want, use little cookie cutters to make the top more festive
  11. Serve with love

Notes

I used my omnigrid sewing square to make the rectangles just right. i think i use it more in the kitchen than i ever did when I sewed a lot. if you have one buried in your craft stuff, relocate it to the kitchen and store it with the cutting boards. you'll find yourself using it over and over! that said, if you don't have an omnigrid, a regular ruler will also do the job here.

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http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/mini-peanut-butter-and-jelly-pop-tarts/

Gluten Free Vegan Poptarts

crust adapted from the first mess

 

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

I’ve loved ricotta from a very young age. Only I didn’t know it was ricotta, I just called it “that white pie that Nana makes at Easter.” She put little bits of canned cherries in there, and it was my favorite part of the Easter meal. Other than the rolls, obvs.

Other ways I love eating ricotta

  • In a bowl with fruit and nuts and honey
  • in pancakes
  • in ice cream
  • cookies

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

This is a bit of a combination of pancakes and pie, but it’s easier than either of them.  There’s no need to guard the griddle or flip this pancake. Flipping regular pancakes is requires care and attention, but flipping ricotta pancakes is a delicate art. An art that I have perhaps not studied enough.

Ricotta pie can be simple, but it can also be complicated — recipes ranging anywhere from 4 eggs to 12 eggs, heaps of sugar, cream, liquors. I never glanced at Nana’s recipe, so I can’t tell you how fussy it was, but I can tell you that it never tasted overwrought. It tasted simple and comforting.

And then there’s always the pie crust to contend with, enemy of even the most veteran baker.

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

This humble cake has five simple ingredients. The fruit topping is purely optional — you can omit it and drizzle on some honey instead, or just eat it plain. I chose raspberry because I have been on a major raspberry drive lately. I just want raspberries in everything and on everything, especially when they are bright and tart.

Fresh out of the oven, the texture of this cake is soft and cake-like, egginess noteable but not overpowering.

If you leave it to mellow, the next day you will find it sweeter, with the vanilla more present, and carrying a definite custard texture.

Wonderful either way.

You can mix this cake in less than five minutes, but it takes about 40 to bake. This is a gift. Get up, make the cake, and spend the cooking time cuddling in bed. hello sunshine.

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

Prep Time: 4 minutes

Cook Time: 42 minutes

Yield: 1 6 1/2" cake (serves 2-4)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup light ricotta*
  • 11/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp honey, plus 1 tbsp for drizzling on top
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • optional topping
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • nuts
  • honey

Instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 375
  2. lightly grease a small casserole or pie pan (6 1/2 inch).
  3. Combine eggs, vanilla, ricotta, and honey. Beat on medium for about a minute or so, until well combined.
  4. Stir in the oats.
  5. Pour into the pan and drizzle additional honey on top
  6. Bake 38-42 minutes, until golden. It will still look a little wobbly when you take it out of the oven.
  7. Allow to cool slightly
  8. for the optional topping
  9. defrost the rasberries and mash them with a little honey. Spoon over top of the cake and sprinkle with nuts. serve with love

Notes

*light ricotta and part-skim ricotta are not the same thing.

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http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/baked-honey-ricotta-pancake/

Easy Baked Ricotta Honey Pancake

Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

I have enjoyed many a veggie burger, but those burgers were not fruits of my labor. I ordered them at restaurants, bought frozen in boxes, cajoled my mother to make them when she visited.

But I wouldn’t make them. They were too much work, too much chopping, too many peels in my kitchen trash bin. They sometimes cooked funny, and they were inevitably expensive because of all the ingredients.  💰 💰 💰

Not this burger. This burger is awesome. (okay, all those other burgers were awesome too, but listen to the reasons this one is awesome).

First, it’s cheap-cheap-cheap to make. I spent less than ten dollars on ingredients, and that makes about 6 burgers. There’s some frozen things in here (frozen chopped kale and frozen corn), but since you don’t use the whole package, it’s even cheaper the next time you make them. Just pull the leftover corn and kale out of your freezer and you’re good to go.

Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

Second, it just might be the easiest veggie burger ever, because there’s so little chopping involved. A food processor/blender/what-have-you does most of the work. You only need to chop two things — a red pepper and a jalapeno. Well, I guess three if you count the onion, but you’re not chopping that. You’re making a single cut, tossing the peel (which practically falls off by itself), and then putting the cut bit in the blender. No onion tears! Extra points. You bake it in a loaf pan, and then slice it up. No flipping or oily splatters from a skillet.

Third, you can slice it up, freeze the individual slices, and then have burgers for days! Easy dinner. Just nuke it for a minute to defrost and then toss it under the broiler for some nice toasty char. I usually take my own dinner when I eat at my in-laws, because our diets are rather different and I don’t want to have them make anything special just for me. Anyways, I went over there on Sunday, exhausted after my first long-ish (slow, cold, plodding) run of the season, and it was wonderful to just heat this up without having to scrap together a salad.

I ate it with ketchup 😁

Which leads me to my fourth point….it’s versatile! You can have in tacos with salsa, plain over your favorite salad, or open faced on toast with ketchup and a pickle. Or no pickle.

And, yeah, I will conceded that this is NOT the prettiest burger that you’ve ever seen, but um, after it’s in your belly and you’re happy, are you really gonna care?

Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

 

Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

Yield: 6 burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, well drained
  • 1/3 purple onion
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen chopped kale (non-brick form)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flax (optional but highly recommended)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. In a blender, pulse together the chickpeas, carrots, and onion. Be very careful and quick. You are aiming for a coarse grind, not a paste.
  3. Chop up the red pepper and the jalapeno.
  4. Combine the chickpea mix, both peppers, the frozen corn, the frozen kale, the garlic powder, and the salt. Add the flax if using.
  5. Press mix into a lined loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toasty golden on top
  6. Allow to cool slightly before slicing -- if sliced too soon, it will be a little crumbly.
  7. Turn the oven up to broil, and with quick hands, slice and shape a burger. Don't burn yourself!
  8. Broil for a minute or two on each side.
  9. Serve with love
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/incredibly-easy-veggie-burger/

really easy veggie burger

 

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

It’s started to snow, and my first winter in the Midwest feels like it’s officially begun. I used to be able to get by with thick sweaters layered under a windbreaker, but that won’t do here.  Over the holidays I acquired a warm puffy coat with lots of pockets, and was pleased to be able to snuggle into its insulated depths. Some 1/4″ sheet metal screws drilled into old running shoes used to keep me steady in the slush, but now I have a pair of jangling snow cleats that are more appropriate for this weather. So now I suppose I’m ready for the frosty months ahead.

But I hadn’t yet made soup, and it was time. I love a simple root stew, chunky, the kind that you can eat with a fork it you really wanted to. Only a few ingredients can make an incredibly filling and comforting meal.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Speaking of few ingredients, I am trying to be more budget conscious when I cook (no promises though) 😇😈. We need to be saving a little money now, and I feel like many families experience the same after the holidays. This soup is wallet friendly, and both hearty and healthy.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

This soup is good and spicy, kind that warms in you in more ways than one, the kind that makes you sweat just a little. The key element here is a single plump chipotle pepper plucked from a can. One little guy flavors the whole pot. Chipotle peppers are one of my treasured soup ingredients, but I often only use one at a time. I freeze the rest, either wrapping them individually in plastic, or stuffing them in an ice try.

I crumpled queso fresco over top, but you totally don’t have to. Since we’re going with the budget theme here, I encourage you to use any cheese you have on hand. Some traditional Mexican soups are also served with cream stirred in, though I have never liked this.  But if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, try stirring in some Greek yogurt. The cheese topping is the only animal-derived ingredient in this dish, so skip it to make it a vegan meal. Feel free to trade it in for some cashew cream, or even a delicate drizzle of tahini.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 5 medium carrots (about 1/3 lb worth of carrots)
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can, plus 1 tbsp of the can juice
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • salt to taste
  • to serve
  • crumlbed queso freso (of whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • warm corn tortillas, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the onion, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of the broth in a pot over the lowest heat setting. Cover. Allow to cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (about 5 minutes)
  2. Scrub and dice the potatoes and peel and slice the carrots. Add to the pot with another 1/2 cup of broth. Raise heat to medium and cook for another 12 minutes.
  3. After 12 minutes, chop up the chipotle and add it to the pot with the tbsp of juice, the can of crushed tomatoes, and a full cup of broth. Cover once more.
  4. After about 23 more minutes (aka you are approaching the 40 minute mark of cooking, total), add the last cup of broth and allow to simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat. Add a little salt to taste.
  6. Serve with love and cheese.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/spicy-root-vegetable-stew/

 

Quick Veggie Enchiladas in Pumpkin Sauce

Quick Veggie Enchiladas in Pumpkin Sauce

I went back to school last year to study something I love.  School always felt rote before, and now it’s exciting.

I made these enchiladas on a study break. They were a good choice because the prep part is very short, and then you can put them in the oven and get back to work.  Make sure your notes are out of the way while you’re doing this. My flipcards definitely have some enchilada sauce on them now. Whoops.

Quick Veggie Enchiladas in Pumpkin SauceThey have a warm, smokey flavor that is perfect for fall. I want to keep on talking about them, but I have mid-semester exams next week, so I gotta get goin’.

Enjoy!

 

P.S. I chose habaneros as a garnish since they look like cute little pumpkins. They are not fun to eat straight-up, despite the colorful appearance.  If you have young kids around, please make these without the garnish. They are awesome enough on their own. Thanks.

 

Quick Veggie Enchiladas

Yield: 2 hearty portions

Ingredients

    for the enchiladas
  • 2 cups of quartered Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 - 3 smallish white potatoes, cubed
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • pinch of seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • for the enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not the pie filling)
  • 1 medium-small garlic clove, microplane grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • one 7-oz can of chipotle salsa (you can find it right next to the canned chipotles. do not use whole chipotles for this recipe)
  • topping (all optional)
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • optional garnish
  • 3-4 habanero peppers

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Place the sprouts and potatoes on a baking sheet and toss in the coconut oil to coat. Sprinkle with the seasoned salt.
  3. Bake for 20 min, turning halfway through.
  4. for the salsa
  5. Stir together the vegetable broth, the pumpkin, the garlic, salt, and chipotle salsa until well combined. Taste and add a pinch more salt if you need to. Set aside
  6. to assemble
  7. Put the corn tortillas in the oven for about a minute until the get just a little toasty, but are still malleable.
  8. Fill the tortillas with the veggies and roll them up. Double up on the tortillas --- two tortilla per enchilada. Stuff them so you can't roll them all the way.
  9. Place in a one-quart casserole dish and pour the sauce over. You might have leftover sauce.
  10. Sprinkle cheese of top and return to the oven
  11. Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes until everything is all bubbly at hot
  12. Serve with Greek yogurt, avocado, and plenty of love.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/quick-veggie-enchiladas-in-pumpkin-sauce/

Quick Veggie Enchiladas in Pumpkin Sauce

 

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers

I love Brussels sprouts!

I love the way they taste, but I also love that they are so healthy. The are so full of the best things, like cancer-fighting vitamins, and potassium, which is an anti-inflammatory. Happy knees, happy runner!

Now you can eat these all on their own (they’re vegan!) or you can eat them with an egg (not vegan of course, but totally delicious and full of protein).  Runners love protein like they love their Garmins. And they’re gluten-free and I’m pretty sure they’re paleo, too. Everybody’s happy!

 

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers

Yield: 6-8 patties (serves 2 as main)

Serving Size: 3-4 patties

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 medium-small cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • some coconut oil for the pan
  • optional eggs for serving

Instructions

  1. While you're gathering the rest of your ingredients, prepare the sweet potato. It's best if the potato is somewhat cooled off before you make the patty.*
  2. Scrub the potato and wrap it in damp paper towels. Microwave the potato for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Cut all the little heels off the sprouts.
  4. Shred the sprouts. I did this in my food processor, and it was so fast!
  5. Combine the shredded sprouts, the garlic, salt, thyme, cayenne, and cumin. Mix well.
  6. Heat a little bit of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the shredded spouts for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  7. Peel the potato and smash it in the bottom of a bowl. Add the par-cooked sprouts over it. Combine and mix well.
  8. Form patties that are about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter.
  9. Heat a little more oil in the pan, over medium heat this time.
  10. Cook the patties for three minutes on on side, and then flip and cook for three more minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little more salt and cayenne, and serve. They taste wonderful with a sunny-side up egg

Notes

* I prepared the potato awhile before I made the rest of the recipe. You could even nuke the potato when you get home from work and then just let it sit on the counter until you're ready to make dinner. It's not critical to the recipe for the potato to be cool, but it will be a lot kinder on your hands when you're making the patty!

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/brussels-sprout-sweet-potato-burgers/

idea from caveman keto