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 Hey everyone!  I have been planning to write this post ever since last week but I just couldn’t find enough time! Last week I cooked a whole bunch of beans. I cooked some white beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans.  I am trying to include more beans in my diet.  I really like beans and they are full of goodness.  My family usually eats beans Albanian Style like this.  This is usually the only way my family prepares beans but I am always looking for new ways to use them.    I decided to come up with a new bean dish that was different for a change.

I came up with a White Bean Stew!  That day my dad bought some delicious kalamata olives that were begging to be eaten! I also had some capers on hand. I really like olives and capers together, I think it’s a great flavor combination.  I thought it would be amazing in this white bean stew. I was sure right the olives and capers brought this stew up one step further! I also added some sun dried tomatoes for even more flavor! This stew was bursting with flavor!  I really enjoyed this stew and all of the flavors it had. I simply served it was toasted bread and a salad.  You can also add some rice and a vegtable side too.   It also made a delicious pasta sauce the next day! This recipe is really flexible and makes a quick tasty weeknight dinner!

White Bean Stew

 Stewed White Beans

Ingredients:

4 cups of White beans, cooked or 2 15.5 cans of white beans
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion chopped small
2 small carrots chopped small
1 stalk of celery, chopped small
4 garlic cloves minced
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 3 and a half cups) or one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup of vegetable broth or more if needed
1/4 cup of olives or more, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons Capers with some brine
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
A few leaves of Kale or any other leafy green (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Then add the onions and saute for 4 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and saute for 8 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes break down. Now add the sun dried tomatoes, beans, and broth and bring to a boil. When boiling bring down to a simmer. Simmer the beans for about 10 minutes. Make sure that the stew doesn’t get too dry, if it gets dry add more vegetable broth. Add the kale and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the olives and capers and stir in. Cook it for another 2 minutes. Re-season if necessary.

That’s it for now..I’ll leave you with my cat Kisses. This is her first blog appearance! She loves to “help” me with my homework. She lays on my books like she is on vacation!  She’s the best!

kisses on books

lentil stuffed peppers 1
Hey everyone!  I’ve been meaning to put up this recipe for Lentil Stuffed Peppers for a while now but just never got to it.  I made this about a week ago when I add some peppers to use up.  I am always looking for new ideas for stuffed peppers.  As I was thinking of various things I could do with these peppers I came up with an idea of stuffing them with lentils!  I chose to go with a Mediterranean inspriation for these peppers.  I really enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean and these peppers feel very Mediterranean with all the lemon  in them!   I really like lemon, I just can’t get enough of it and it really brings these peppers to the next level!

This recipe is a great nutritious way to use lentils.  The ingredients you can put into these stuffed peppers are endless.  I chose vegetables that I had on hand that day but you can certainly use any vegetable you like or have on hand. I also added a panko topping to these peppers, I just think it adds something special to them.  Serve these peppers as a main course with a salad and some toasted bread or as a side dish! 

Mediterranean Inspired Lentil Stuffed Peppers

lentils stuffed pepper 2_edited-1

Ingredients
1 cup of lentils (I used plain old brown lentils, but you can use any lentils you have on hand)
4 Bell Peppers
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of celery, cut into small pieces
1 small carrot , cut into small pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 large tomatoes or 1 14 oz can of tomatoes
2 cups or more spinach chopped or any other leafy green
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup vegetable broth
half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Lemon Panko Topping
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

In a saucepan add the lentils and about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. When it is boiling bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer the lentils for 15 minutes, you don’t want them to go mushy so keep an eye on them. They should still retain their shape. After 15 minutes, drain the lentils and set them aside.

Meanwhile, cut 4 bell peppers in half, take the seeds out but leave the stem intact. Bring a pot of water to a boil. After the water is up to a boil, drop the peppers in the water and blanch them for 3-5 minutes. Immediately add them to a bowl of ice water.

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor, pulse the two tomatoes until they are chunky and their juices release. (Skip this step if you are using canned tomatoes) 

Now time for the filling!  Heat a skillet over medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Now, add the zucchini or any other vegetable you are using. Saute the zucchini for about 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. At this time season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for a few minutes. Now add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the lentils and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon juice. Re-season if necessary.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. Place the peppers in the casserole dish. Now stuff them with the lentil mixture genoursly. Cover them with tin foil and bake them for 25-30 minutes. After 25-30 minutes take the tin foil out and sprinkle the peppers with the topping. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. That’s it! Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve with plenty of lemon slices!

For the Lemon Panko Topping
Heat a small pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the panko bread crumbs and thyme, cook for a few minutes until the panko bread crumbs are well coated. Now add the lemon zest and parsley, Season with salt and pepper. That’s it!

Hey everyone!  It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged.  This month flew so fast!   This month wasn’t that great for me since I got strep throat!  I was put under the dreaded antibiotics for 10 days!  It turns out this is the only way you can cure strep throat, with antibiotics.  I tried salt and water in the beginning and it seemed to work but after a week I felt very tried so I went to the doctor who prescribed me those antibiotics!  I really hate antibiotics!  Anyway, I’m feeling a lot better now! 

Raw Pasta

 Zucchini Pasta with Raw Marinara Sauce

I recently got Raw Food/Real Worldfrom the library as I was searching for new cookbooks.  The cookbook has some of the most amazing food pictures I have ever seen.  I got the “uncookbook” so I can learn more about raw vegan food.  I was impressed!  I still didn’t try any of the recipes but I did make something raw of my own.  I made a very easy raw zucchini “pasta” with a raw marinara sauce.  All I really did was peel some zucchini into thin slices and then I made a quick sauce in the food processor.  It was really tasty!  I felt really good after eating it, for some reason I had a lot of energy after eating it.  I don’t plan on going fully raw, but I am interested in trying various recipes and hopefully I just got a juicer yesterday! 

Here’s some Baked Pumpkin Ziti I made last week from Veganomicon.  I never got around to making this awesome recipe  last fall.  This Baked Pumpkin Ziti was the first recipe I made from Veganomicon!  It’s a favorite of mine!  It’s so tasty!

Baked Pumpkin Penne Edited

Baked Pumpkin Penne

Finally, some Chana Masala! Chana Masala was  one of the first Indian foods I have tasted.  I never tried to make it until earlier this week.  I looked at various ways to make Chana Masala, and came up with a great recipe!   It’s really tasty, and I plan on making it next month again!   I think it’s going to be a new favorite because it’s so easy and flavorful.  I’ll share the recipe soon!   I was so happy that it tasted like the Chana Masala I had first tried.  I’m really enjoying exploring Indian food.  I really like watching Manjula’s Kitchen and other Indian cooking shows on youtube.  I also like reading  Hooked On Heat which has a lot of information about Indian cooking. 

 Chana Marsala

Chana Masala

Well that’s about it for now!  I hope to blog again very soon!

Hey everyone!  This week I was really craving Indian food!  I normally don’t make Indian food that often, in-fact I really only made it a couple of times at home and ate it a couple of times at Indian restaurants. Anyway I saw a Red Lentil Dahl recipe on the The Post Punk Kitchen recipe corner a while ago. I have been meaning to make it for quite sometime and I finally made it this past Monday. This was the first time I made a Dahl. When I was making it I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because I was a bit skeptical of all the spices that were going in it. There were a lot of awesome spices in the Dahl. This dahl made my house smell so nice and fragrant! Now let’s get to the good part! After 40 minutes of cooking my first dahl was done! I made some brown basmati rice which I flavored with some cardamon and I also made some steamed broccoli to accompany my dahl. Now dahl isn’t the most good looking dish in the world but I tried to make it look nice. I plated everything up and started eating.

red lentil dahl

Red Lentil Dahl, Basmati Rice and Steamed Broccoli

I was amazed at the flavor of the dahl! As I was eating it I could almost taste each spice I had put in it. It was so flavorful and delicious! Each day the dahl got better and better until it was all gone! Isa never let’s me down and I am so happy she created this awesome dahl recipe! I will definitely be making more dahl and Indian food frequently! I think I am hooked on Indian food now! I really suggest making this recipe as soon as possible, it’s so good! 

This week I also made some delicous pumpkin cookies which were testers for Isa and Terry’s upcomping cookie cookbook! These cookies are pure goodness! I enjoyed them so much, I ate the whole batch in less than 24 hours with a little help from my mom! The recipe only used half a can of pumpkin so I was left with more pumpkin!

Pumpkin Cookies

                 Pumpkin Cookies

Guess what I made?

I made the Awesome Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with A Vengeance! I really wanted to take a picture of these but I ate almost all of them. These are my favorite muffins, they are so delicous! I wish I had a picture to show you all!

I do have another picture of my dog Madison in the snow this past Monday. It snowed a whole lot this Monday! We even got a snow day. It was a great chance to take some awesome photos but my brothers kept throwing snow on me in an attempt to ruin my camera so I had to go home! Luckily I got a few, this one really stood out of the few pictures I took of Madison.

madison in the snow 2

Look at her head, it’s covered in snow!  She had a blast in the snow on Monday!  She really loves snow!

Hey  everyone!  It’s been a couple of days since I last blogged. 

Last week I made a very tasty and healthy Lentil & Escarole Soup from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook. 

Lentil and Escarole Soup
 I have been wanting to try this soup for so long and I am glad I did.  It had a very nice taste to it and the lentils created a nice thick broth which I loved.   I don’t usually cook with lentils that much but this soup inspired me to use more lentils in my cooking!  I recently got these awesome vegetable broth concentrated packets from Trader Joe’s and I must say they rock!  They will definitely be used a lot in my kitchen!  They made this soup taste really good without the trouble of making a vegetable broth from scracth.  

On Saturday, I made another awesome dish that I have been wanting to make for so long!  I made the awesome Tofu Florentine from Veganomicon!
Tofu Flourentine
I though this was very fancy in my option from what I normally eat for breakfast/brunch.  The cheesy sauce rocks, I made mine with extra lemon.  I just love lemon, I always find my self using more than the recipe says.  I like how it gives food a nice light taste.  The broiled tofu used for the Florentine was really good, next time I would probably reduce the water for the basting liquid so the tofu is more concentrated with the soy sauce-lemon flavor.  I am so glad I found vegan English muffins!  I looked for them in my regular supermarket and they had milk in them, but when I went to Trader Joe’s I found some awesome ones.  This is definitely going to be a brunch regular! 

Here are some tester blondies from Isa and Terry’s upcoming cookie book!   These were really tasty! 
Blondies

Here’s my awesome and healthy green smoothie that I made tonight!
Green Smoothie
I have just gotten into the whole green smoothie thing.  The first one I made was awful, as I was low on fruit. Then I started experimenting and made a great tasting green smoothie!  This one was really good!  For this one I used some leftover Escarole from the lentil soup that I made earlier, spinach leaves, a carrot, a banana, a couple of strawberries and blueberries, celery, parsley, pears, orange juice, and flax seeds.  This blend makes a great tasting green smoothie and it is super healthy and makes you energized! Some of them may not look that good but the amount of vitamins you get from these is worth it! My family thinks it weird drinking green smoothies but I just tell them that you don’t know what your missing!  It’s so good as long as you have a perfect balance of fruit and vegetables.  I suggest everyone try a green smoothie, you’ll like it.  Just try different combinations and see which one you like.   Your body will thank you for sure!   

Alright everyone, blog to you soon in a few days!

Hey everyone!  How have you all been?  It’s a bit late to say this but Happy New Year to everyone!  I have been out for so long.  I missed a lot!  I took a whole lot of time off from blogging, I don’t know how it happened.  I took many pictures of food that I cooked I guess to lazy to blog about them.   couldn’t take it any more, I just had to start blogging again!  Hopefully I will not stop blogging again from now on, I really hope I don’t!

I have started testing recipes for Isa and Terry’s upcoming Cookie Book.  So far I have made the Brownies from the new book.   These brownies tasted really really good.   This is just how a brownie is supposed to taste like!  The next following weeks I am going to be testing the last of cookies that are left to test.  I am really excited! 

Brownies Tester
Here are the brownies from the Isa and Terry’s upcoming Cookie Book. This book is going to be amazing!

Earlier this week, for the first time I made burgers!  I made the Veganomicon Black Bean Burgers.  The black bean burgers were really tasty!  I used a fry and bake method for them because I wasn’t sure they would firm up from frying.  I think it was because I put to much water.  Next time I would probably reduce the amount of water for these.  So anyway after I fried them until they were golden about 3 minutes per side, I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes until they were nice and firm to the touch.  To accompany the burgers I made some sweet potato fries which I spiked up with some chili powder.  The fries were really good…this was my first time I made sweet potato fries so I was really excited about them!  These black-bean burgers have inspired me to make more burgers from now on! 
Blackbean Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
These burgers are awesome!
Here are some Ginger Pear Waffles from vwav that I made earlier today.   These waffles were really tasty and had nice spice from them which I enjoyed.  I wish there was a little more pear flavor in the waffles but I used apple cider instead of the pear juice as I didn’t have pear juice.  Next time I think I will take Isa’s tip and fold in crystallized ginger in the waffles.  Imagine how good that would be!
Ginger Pear Waffles

Wow..It’s been really fun writing this post!  I am really trilled to be apart of this awesome blogging community once again!

Hey everyone!  I loved making food from all types of cultures.  Whenever I am eating a foreign dish I feel like I am transported into that country.  It’s an awesome experience!  Yesterday I made a  Moroccan Vegetable Tagine from VwaV.  I’ve wanted to make this recipe for so long, ever since I gotten vwav.  I finally made it!  I was a bit skeptical because their were so many spices and herbs going in it.  I got a little worried when the recipe listed raisins and cinamin because I didn’t know how it would work in a savory dish.  I added a few extra vegetables like celery, peppers, and broccoli.  It worked out perfectly.  When I tried it tasted a bit like curry, probably because of the turmeric.  The tagine came out well and when I added lemon it was even more awesome!  The raisins really made it interesting and the cinnamon added a nice back-round flavor to it.  The couscous I served it with was also great.  Today it was even better becasue the flavors settled perfectly.  This is defiantly a   The tagine wasn’t that photogenic but it was sure tasty!

Moccroan Vegetable Tagine

Hey everyone!  Its been a couple of days since I posted something up.  Well tonight I am going to post some things I have cooked up. 

On Friday I made a lot of things.  My aunt and her family came on Friday and my mom was at work.  It was me, and my grandparents at home so I offered to make some of the food.  I wanted to make some type of cookie but I was a bit low on baking ingredients like the brown sugar and chocolate chips.  I went to Isa’s old blog and saw Vegan Milano cookies.  I had most of the ingredients except for bittersweet chocolate, I had only unsweetened but I fixed that up my putting some sugar in it.  These cookies were good but it took forever to bake them because my oven keeps shuting off!! 
vegan milano cookies

Well anyway I made 3 more things that night.  I made the famous chickpea cutlets baby size!  I wanted to make mini versions of them so my aunt and her family would be more willing to try them.  They went really good as always.  Their were no leftovers. 
chickpea cutlets mini
I also made my favorite broccoli recipe from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook.  It’s the best broccoli I have ever had, its called Sicilian Style Broccoli.  Basically you simmer it in vegetable broth, garlic, and capers. Its so so good! 
brocoli
Lastly I made some rice pilaf which I adapted from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook. 
rice pilaf
I also served my mom’s Albanian Beans, which my mom made this time.  My grandpa also had to have meat as he thinks you have to serve people meat.  Oh well at least everything else was vegan!  

Saturday I made some hummus!  I love hummus!  Its seriously my favorite food, I could eat it all day and I have done that a few times!  I am still working on the perfect recipe.  I finally achieved the creamy consitensity.  Today it was super creamy.  It was a bit dense because I added a bit more tahini than normal like 6 tablespoons.  I used the v’con recipe this time and I liked it but I still think it needs more lemon.  I just love lemon and can’t get enough of it.  Overall the hummus was great!  I ate the whole bowl below for dinner!  I ate it was some Ritz crackers!  It was awesome!!  Tonight I found an awesome blog all about hummus!  It’s so cool.  It has very good information about hummus making! 
hummus

Hey everyone!  Today for dinner I made Albanian-Style Bean. You may be wondering what in the world are Albanian-Style Beans, don’t worry I am here to tell you.  I am here to introduce a great way to eat beans!!  My ethic backround is Albanian.  My mom and dad were born in Montenegro so I know a lot of Albanian dishes that I will be sharing with you from time to time.  By the way there are Albanian people in Montenegro.  Whrn I went to Montenegro I told everyone all the different ways I cook beans like put them into soups, stews, etc.  This was unheard of there.   There is only one way Albanian people eat beans.  They eat them in a gravy like liquid.  The  liquid is like a thick soup.  The most popular beans that we use are any white bean and roman/kidney beans.  These beans can be flavored in so many ways.  I like to put whatever soup vegetables I have on hand.  Most often I put carrot, peppers, and celery.  I like to flavor it with paprika, oregano, and Vegeta.  Now you may be wondering what in the world is Vegeta.  Vegetais an awesome seasoning that Albanians always use, in fact it’s our number one seasoning.  It is dehydrated vegetables, some spices, and lots of salt!  Its really good and I put it in quite a few dishes mostly Albanian dishes.  I feel it is difficult make Albanian food without vegeta, it just doesn’t taste Albanian.  I think almost every Albanian household has vegeta.  I really think you should go to an eastern European market and get it.  I sometimes use it in place of vegetable bouillon cubes or vegetable broth.   I am going to give you a basic recipe on how to make these beans. I am always experimenting on these beans as I just learned how to make them. This is what I did with them today. 

Albanian-Style Beans

Albanian style beans

Ingredients
1 pound of beans (Today I used Roman Beans)
1 Large Onion chopped and half of it goes whole
1 Carrot fine chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper fine chopped
1.5 teaspoons of paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 teaspoons vegeta or any powered broth or 1 bouillon cube or use vegetable broth instead of water
About 6 cups of water
A couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce (Optional)
1.5 tablespoons flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak the beans for 8-12 hours. Rinse them and put about 6 cups of water covering them by a fair amount. Add the carrots and half an onion. Bring to boil and then to a simmer. Cook beans until they start to get tender about 40 mins depending on beans.

When they start to get tender start chopping the onions. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onions. You want the onions to cook nice and slowly for about 10 minutes. Add the herbs and paprika. Also add tomato paste if using. Also season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the mixture to the beans. Then you want to clean the pan with the bean broth and add it back to the beans. Cook the beans for 15 minutes until thickened. You want it to be nice and gravy like. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with bread and salad.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask me as you probably have never heard of Albanian food or this dish.

Hey everyone!  My mom bought quite a few vegetables this week.  They all screamed Soup to me all week long so that’s what I made today!  I love making making soup.  I think what I love most is chopping all the vegetables, I think this is like the best part and eating it too.  Today I made a Minestrone soup which is a soup with beans, pasta, and vegetables.  I made a lot, by a lot I mean a pot overflowing with soup.  I will have leftovers for a while.  I love eating soup the more it sits, it just gets better and better.   Minestrone Soup is one of best soups and it is so simple to make, I throw whatever vegetables I have on hand, some beans, some pasta, broth, tomatoes, herbs, and that’s about it.  It’s that easy.  My mom has taught me everything I need to know about making a vegetable soup, that I can make it with my eyes closed!  I wrote a recipe that describes what I do most often when I make this soup. 

My Recipe for Minestrone Soup

minestrone soup 2

I use whatever vegetables I have on hand. Some of my key vegetables to include are cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes canned or fresh, and spinach. Feel free to add whatever you like. I add the vegetables that take longer to cook like potatoes, cabbage, carrots in the beginning and vegetables that take a shorter time to cook like zucchini in the end. This is a very verstile recipe, you could play around with it!

The Ingredients:
2 medium bell peppers diced small
1 onion chopped
4 garlic gloves
2-3 carrots diced small
2-3 stalks of celery diced small
2 small zucchinis diced Small
1/2 head of cabbage shredded
2 medium potatoes
1/2 pound of spinach
1/4 cup parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
2 bay leaves
8-10 cups of vegetable broth
1 can of white beans or more if you like I used fresh beans which is about 2 – 2.5 cups
28 oz can of tomatoes or 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1/2 cups short tubed pasta like elbow, I used orzo this time because it was all I had.
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

First you shred the cabbage, I shred it with a knife because the cabbage shreds better than in the food procceser.
prep for soup 1
Chop the onions, carrots, and celery.
prep for soup 2
Heat a soup pot with oil to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile start chopping the rest of the vegetables.
cooking soup 1
Add the bell peppers. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the potatoes and cabbage. Also add the bay leave, oregano, thyme, salt/pepper and sage. Now you can add the broth and bring it to a boil. When it’s up to a boil bring it to simmer. Simmer it for 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
soup cooking on the stove
Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Now add the spinach and beans. Cook for 5 minutes. Finish it off with the fresh parsley. Enjoy!

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