Stuffed Acorn Squash

I adore winter squashes and end up buying several without a plan for how to use later. This acorn squash had been sitting on my bar for a few weeks and hubby was wondering when we would eat it. I decided to make something pretty, easy, and yummers.

What you will need:

1 acorn squash, washed

1 cup uncooked rice, I used Jasmine

1 bouillon cube, I used vegetable with herbs

1 4oz can diced hot green chilies

1 small onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 small box of button mushrooms, washed and sliced/chopped

1 Teaspoon avocado oil, or other oil you prefer. The chilies and vegetables provide a lot of moisture, so not much oil is needed

1/2 cup pine nuts

Cook the rice with the bouillon cube, according to the directions that accompany the rice.

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat until slightly browned, set aside.

Place the squash in a microwave safe glass dish with lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes. If soft when touched, it is ready. If still stiff, cook another 2 minutes.

Sauté all other ingredients in a large pan on medium until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat. Add pine nuts. Add rice when it is ready and stir all together.

Once squash is cooked, slice through the middle and let cool for a couple minutes. Careful, it’s very hot. Using a spoon, remove the seeds from each half. Place each half on a plate and spoon in the rice mixture to the squash crater. Place more rice mixture on plate and serve. Yummers!

Tip: This makes enough stuffing for two acorn squashes.

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Chili

When I first started this blog I asked my friends, because of course I started by sharing this with friends, what they would like to see. A dear friend I have known since 1996 requested a chili recipe. I honestly cringed. Every chili attempt I had made was mediocre to not great. Every recipe I explored had so many ingredients that I was uninterested. So I just didn’t do anything with that request, but kept it in the back of my mind.

I’m happy to say that I have cracked the code to easy and delicious chili. It fills my home with a smell that makes my mouth water. I place everything in my crockpot and come home at the end of the day for yummers!

What you will need:

1 and 1/2 cups dried beans, your favorite, or two cans of your favorite. I like to mix it up. Red beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans all work well.

1 4oz can diced green chili, Hatch is still my favorite

2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced, choose the amount based on how much you love garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder, based on how hot you want it 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

If starting with dried beans, sort and rinse them, and set to soak the night before, at least 8 hours.

Place everything into the crockpot and add a can full of water. If ingredients are not yet covered with fluid, add a bit more water.

Turn on crockpot to low and let cook at least 8 hours. Before serving, check that the beans are fully cooked.

If cooking in a pot, simmer at least 30 minutes if using canned beans. Dried beans need to be cooked before cooking with chili on the stove.

Serve with your favorite toppings such as avocado, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, or corn chips.

Yummers!

P. S. & Co in Philly

P. S. & Co was my favorite brunch spot in Philly. All vegan and gluten free, this gem has good food and an outdoor garden to sit in. The staff was super nice and the food case endlessly tempting!


For my first trip I ordered pancakes. Mmm… Then I still had some room and got a piece of cake. Because, cake. My second visit I got breakfast tacos and learned why they are a local favorite. I would absolutely order those tacos again.


The space is rustic and clean.


I absolutely recommend trying out P. S. & Co when in Philly. It gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. Four is because although the food and experience are good, it’s not quite as playful as other places. But, again, totally worth checking out and enjoying.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto pasta is currently my go-to fast meal. Takes as long to make as it does to cook the pasta. And hubby loves it every time! I have been buying pesto at my local farmers market, but any pesto will do great. What you will need:

1 box of favorite pasta, I have been enjoying quinoa penne pasta

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half. Can use regular tomatoes, but the juice will make the dish a bit watery

1 container baby spinach

1 block mozzarella cheese, diced or torn into smaller pieces. I usually use Miyoko’s mozzarella, but any will work. If using Daiya, the flavor is stronger and thus less than the entire package might be good

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

4oz of pesto, more if you love pesto like I do

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place beans, pesto, cheese, and spinach, with the spinach on top, in a large microwave safe bowl and cook for 90 seconds to wilt the spinach. Stir in pasta and tomaoes. Serve immediately. Yummers!!

What To Do With Rainbow Chard


I’m sad I haven’t been able to post any new recipes recently. I have been cooking, just nothing new. Life has been keeping me happily busy. Then I got inspired at the farmers market, again.

Lots of people are unsure what to do with chard and can find it bitter. I think the leaves are incredibly beautiful and the stems stunning. I buy it every time it looks yummy.

This dish is very simple, as follows my entire approach to cooking. And not at all bitter. Just put everything in a pot and cook. What you will need:

One bunch of rainbow chard, cleaned and chopped into ribbons

One onion, diced

2 tbs garlic, minced

Polenta, one tube cut into bite-sized pieces

One can white beans, drained and rinsed

Pepper to taste

Chili powder, three shakes

1 tsp liquid aminos, more to taste

Smokey Parmesan cheese, shredded, or other flavorful vegan cheese, for topping

One pint baby yellow tomatoes, rinsed and sliced into halves

Put everything but the cheese and tomatoes in a large pan. I use a wok shaped pan to easily hold everything. Cook on medium to medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the onions are soft. The polenta will break up a bit and make the dish creamy. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomatoes. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top. Yummers!

Organic Avenue take 2


Organic Avenue closed about 9 months ago. I was so sad. The location in my neighborhood is now a chocolate shop that I have not explored.

There was/is a location across the street from where I work and one day I noticed it was back open. Happy day!

The menu is very different, with new options like mac and cheese, but some of my old favorites are still available, live avocado soup. Still all grab and go, but can get a fresh smoothie and kombucha.


And they have vegan baked goods too! I tried a cookie and a brownie. Not my favorite, but I’m glad they have them, especially since several options are gluten free.

I’m thrilled to have this place back open. I pick up lunch at least once a week to take back to my desk and am really digging the salads. The location is also perfect for Bryant Park, Movies in the Park, but they close at 6:00, so don’t wait too long after getting a spot on the grass to get some food. Yummers!

Not Quite Lasagna

  
I love lasagna, but it always takes me forever to make and the noodles are usually my biggest frustration point. One night I decided to use very different ingredients and layer them together like lasagna. We scarfed this down!

  
It was so good we didn’t even have leftovers. And it’s gluten free!

What you will need:

4 good sized red potatoes, washed and pricked with a fork. Red potatoes are usually small, so I picked out the bigger ones

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into desired size

1 big jar vegan spicy spaghetti sauce

1 batch of Alfredo sauce

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a microwave safe dish with lid, cook on high for 10 minutes. While cooking, begin making the Alfredo sauce. When microwave dings, use an oven mit to make sure the potatoes are soft/done. If done, set potatoes onto a cutting board to cool. If not done, cook another 2 minutes and check again.

Using the same microwave safe dish with cover, place all kale and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in dish and cover. Cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes to steam. Set aside to cool.

Finish Alfredo sauce and pull out lasagna dish. Once potatoes are cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife to gently slice into 1/2 inch circles.

Layers-

Spaghetti sauce

Potatoes

Kale

Alfredo sauce

Spaghetti sauce

Potatoes

Kale

Alfredo sauce

Spaghetti sauce

Place in oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbling. Yummers!

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg Frittata

  
Woo hoo! Finally found the VeganEgg at a local grocery. Now what? It has been almost two decades since I cooked with eggs. Also, I have read reviews that this product will mimic the texture of eggs, but not the full flavor. Okay. So make something with egg that has its own personality. Frittata!

  
I had never made a frittata, but knew they are considered simple. A quick search of recipes gave me confidence I could pull this off. But, first, I had to make sure my pan could go from stovetop to oven without melting. An important piece of the recipe. Another quick internet search. Luckily, mine can. I based the recipe on the size of my pan that is not super big. What you will need:

1/2 an onion, sliced thin in half circles

1/2 a red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and sliced thin to match the onion

4 mushrooms, sliced thin

2 kale stalks, stems removed and torn into smaller pieces

1/2 tsp avocado oil

1/2 tsp liquid aminos

2 shakes pepper

4 eggs worth VeganEgg; 8 TBS and 2 cups water, follow package instruction

Preheat oven to 450. Sauté at medium all but the VeganEgg until soft. Add VeganEgg and stir together. Make everything flat and raise burner heat to medium high. Let cook until the sides are pulling away from the pan. Move pan to oven and cook until top is browning.

After pulling from the oven, I decided to sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

  
I was not disappointed. I think next time I will add some nutritional yeast. It was good, but from the veggies. The VeganEgg will benefit from more spices. This was Yummers though!

Peanut Stew

  
Okay, this is one of the yummiest things I have ever made. Especially in my standard sized crockpot. I adapted from what is often called West African Peanut Stew, but I changed several things and this is not really the same thing. What you will need:

2 cubes low sodium vegetable bouillon 

1 medium red onion, diced

Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peel with a spoon edge and mince

2 TBS minced garlic

1 tsp sea salt

1 bunch red or rainbow chard, stems removed and torn into pieces

2 medium yams, diced

¾ cup smooth peanut butter

8 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp hot sauce

16 oz can small red beans, drained and rinsed

Optional: Serve with brown rice

Place everything in a crockpot, add enough water to cover contents, five to six cups. Cook on low for at least eight hours. Add more hot sauce if wanting more spice. Yummers!