Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

Hi, my name is Jeanine and I’ve been an Instagram addict from the beginning. I love seeing what’s going in on other people’s lives, what they’re making, and most of all drooling over delicious looking food that I want to eat right through the screen. Someone who I’ve loved following is Lindsay Maitland Hunt while she was working on her cookbook Healthyish. It felt like I would always see her photos right before lunch or a few hours before dinner and I’d just salivate. Her food looks not only so delicious, but it’s the kind of approachable, real life, I-can-make-that-too, kind of food that I always want to have right in front of me at any time of day. So, needless to say, I’m so excited to talk about (and cook from) her book! If you’re not familiar with Lindsay’s work, she was an editor and recipe developer at Real Simple Magazine and Buzzfeed. She’s created recipes for everyone from college students to busy families to seasoned home cooks.

At the beginning of the book she talks about her Healthyish balanced approach to eating which I totally relate to (see post about my lemon-only diet) – “I’ve oscillated between extremes my entire life, whether it was eating a greasy grilled cheese or eating a boring bowl of steamed vegetables. But seesawing between the two isn’t how you achieve balance. Healthyish is eating a big, hearty bowl of food that doesn’t leave you feeling weight down. Food that makes you feel good, and not sad.”

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

The recipes are a mix of really-healthy and mostly-healthy recipes, hence the name. The book is not entirely vegetarian but there are SO MANY vegetarian recipes, especially in the section that’s titled Vegetarian Dinners. I have my eye on the Linguine with Trumpet Mushroom “Scallops” and the Smoky Cauliflower and Onion Frittata.

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

We made these Adzuki Bean Bowls the other night (very healthy without the “ish”) and they are simply delicious. The napa cabbage, snap pea, and carrot slaw take no time to toss together. It goes over adzuki beans (if you can’t find canned adzuki beans, black beans sub great here) and brown rice. A yummy sesame miso dressing gets drizzled over the whole thing. It’s hearty yet light, crunchy, and so so delicious. I just love bowls like this!
  Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls from Healthyish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt

You can buy the Healthyish Cookbook here, I hope you love it as much as I do!

OR you can win a copy of both Healthyish + (our book) The Love and Lemons Cookbook: head over to THIS Instagram post to enter the giveaway.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

During my first semester in college, I gained about 25 pounds. For a short person like me who never had any prior issues with food or weight, it was dramatic. It was the result of terrible cafeteria food, too many fat free animal crackers, and definitely too many midnight dorm room pizzas. That New Year’s Eve, I resolved to get the weight off… and fast. My best friend told me that she was doing this thing called the master cleanse so, naturally, that sounded like a good idea. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – it involves a concoction made of lemon juice, maple syrup, and black pepper. Only I didn’t like black pepper and maple syrup was expensive, so instead I decided that I would just drink lemon juice mixed with water for as many days as were directed in the “cleanse.” During those first few weeks back at school, while everyone would have their cafeteria trays full of pancakes and whatever other breakfast food, I’d fill my tray with four glasses of water, sit down, and start squeezing my lemons. Everyone thought I was crazy, but the idea of just eating reasonably and sensibly didn’t make sense to my college self, who wanted to be thin NOW. Well, I was crazy and drinking only lemon juice isn’t actually sustainable (no love with those lemons), but this line of thinking stayed with me for a couple of years while I yoyo’d up and down in weight. That was until one day I learned that if I just ate pretty well and avoided crazy ups and downs, everything would be ok – and it has been.

So this year, like every year, I have no New Year’s diet resolutions other than continuing to eat delicious, wholesome food with some room for fun foods. Just like this tomato soup (wholesome) with grilled cheese croutons (fun!). It’s all vegan but I promise you won’t even know it because it’s so creamy even though there is no actual cream. We’re partnering with ALDI on this post because they carry delicious organic produce and some A+ pantry staples as well.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Because it’s winter, I intended to make this soup using only canned tomatoes, but when we got to ALDI, their organic fresh tomatoes just looked so darn good. So I roasted onions, tomatoes, and garlic which I later blended with canned tomatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

This soup is SO good. It’s tangy from the tomatoes, creamy from the chickpeas, and so so satisfying. I’d say yes to a bowl of this every day of the winter. Jack, who is not the biggest fan of tomato soup, could not get enough.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s delicious on its own, but the fun, yummy grilled cheese croutons really take it over the top. I used ALDI’s Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread and their Earth Grown Vegan Shredded Cheese. I have to tell you that I’m so excited about this vegan cheese because: 1 – it tastes really good, 2 – it actually melts great, and 3 – it’s so affordable!

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Happy New Year’s soup making!

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

The first snow came early in Chicago this year. It was barely November and we were driving to an appointment. It was snowing, and then all of the sudden it went from “really charming” to “wow it’s really coming down!” Now I learned to drive in snow, so I know how to pump the brakes (before anti-lock brakes existed) and to turn into the slide. But after living in Austin for so many years, I got soft. It was always funny to me how the slightest hint of snow in Texas meant that schools were closed and roads were abandoned, but when our first real snow day happened here in Chicago, my first though was “how many people are really going to be on the road?” Well, the answer ended up being way too many – we sat in the cold car way too long, wearing way too-light coats, staring at brake lights and a grey sky. I thought – really – what have we done?? I write a blog about vegetables, I’m shooting a book that’s due before May (when the spring farmers markets open) and we’ve moved so far from the sun!

We got to where we were going – an industrial area in the Pullman neighborhood where, situated on the roof of the Method production facility, is Gotham Greens. I’ve been obsessed with their locally grown greens the moment I came across their deliciously spicy arugula (among other greens) earlier this year at Whole Foods. We got a tour of their rooftop greenhouse and even though it was cold and miserable outside, it was so warm and sunny up there. There was a sea of the softest butter lettuces, my favorite spicy arugula, and the loveliest scent of fresh basil. My first two thoughts were: 1. Could I just hang out up here all winter? I could bring my laptop and maybe they could put a desk in a sunny corner for me? and 2. How hard would it be to build a greenhouse on our rooftop so that I could go up and pick local fresh produce (and hang out in the warmth) all winter?

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

Later that night, with a fridge full of greens and a pantry full of not much else, I made this five minute arugula pesto pasta because, well, we weren’t about to head out into the snow for any additional groceries. I used Gotham Greens’ vegan pesto, which I love, especially when I’m too lazy to make my own. This recipe for kale pesto would also be great here (and would be delicious using their fresh basil if you wanted basil pesto instead of kale pesto). The key to pesto pasta is to reserve some of that salty, starchy pasta water to loosen the pesto enough to make it a light sauce over the pasta.

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

I’m so excited about this recipe because, who doesn’t love lasagna in the middle (err… beginning) of winter! Growing up, lasagna was my favorite food. Even though my mom made it pretty darn often, I was always excited when lasagna night came around. But this version of lasagna is no ordinary lasagna because instead of noodles, I used paper-thin sheets of sweet potato! It’s what veggie dreams are made of.

I hope Santa was good to you last week… if you found a KitchenAid® Artisan® Stand Mixer under your tree, do yourself a favor and go get this Vegetable Sheet Cutter Attachment as a gift to and from yourself. It’s so fun! Just look at that long sheet of sweet potato!

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

Since these noodles aren’t noodles, I had to do some experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn’t as a filling. The biggest takeaway is that the filling can’t have too much moisture. This means using one layer of marinara sauce at the bottom instead of diced canned tomatoes throughout. It also means making a mixture of ricotta and feta cheese (rather than just ricotta), which helps to thicken up the filling. The feta also has the added benefit of adding a tangy bite, which is so delicious in contrast to the earthy sage throughout the filling.

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

Also, you can see in the photo above that my sweet potato noodles are not all the exact same size… nor did I peel them. Since sweet potatoes come in different shapes and sizes, you’re not going to get perfectly rectangle noodles (although if you get a short/fat potato, you’ll get really close) – just get crafty while piecing them together however they fit together best. I used 3 smaller strips of “noodles” for the first layer, and wider strips for the middle and top layers. No wasted food scraps here (any extra scraps we did have we gave to the pups who love sweet potatoes).

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

This recipe could not be more simple – from start to finish, it took me less than 30 minutes to assemble. The noodles don’t need to be pre-cooked, so all you have to do is mix together the filling and layer this up. A warm and cozy dinner (or in our case, lunch, after we took these photos!) awaits.

No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna What should I noodle next? Sweet potato manicotti? Maybe a multi-root vegetable lasagna?
  No-Noodle Sweet Potato Sage Lasagna

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast

Tell me, what’s your breakfast weakness? Pancakes? Waffles? Mine is French toast. Eggy bread that’s soft in the middle and crisp around the edges with a good dash of cinnamon throughout… what’s not to love? Well, it can often be quite an indulgent sugar bomb, which is why I like to make it at home where I can use ingredients that are a bit lighter. I usually make French toast on the stovetop for just myself and Jack, but today I’m sharing this baked version which would be so delicious for Christmas morning or a holiday brunch where you’re cooking for more than 2 (though Jack had no problem finishing this off…).

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast

This French toast is lighter than most – I swapped out heavy cream for almond milk and instead of regular sugar I used Truvia Brown Sugar Blend. I get SO MANY requests for lower sugar recipes stevia-based sweetners. That’s why I’m happy to share this recipe in partnership with Truvia.

The best thing about Truvia Brown Sugar Blend is that the texture is the exact same as regular brown sugar because it’s made from a blend of Truvia Natural Sweetener and brown sugar. The blend is sweeter than regular brown sugar so you use half as much for the same flavor and sweetness but with 75% fewer calories than full-calorie brown sugar. I mixed it with cinnamon and sprinkled it all over this dish before I baked it. It caramelized on top in the oven giving the top of the bread a delightful crisp edge. 

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast

This recipe is super easy to make. Start with challah bread that’s a few days old and slice it pretty thick. Dip it in the egg/almond milk mixture, and load it into the baking dish.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast

Sprinkle with the Truvia Brown Sugar Blend and cinnamon mixture before baking. Once baked, I topped mine with pomegranates and toasted almonds, but feel free to serve this with whatever toppings or fruit you like – blueberries or raspberries would be delicious!

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Baked French Toast