Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Savory Pumpkin Hummus

This past weekend SPH and I packed up R, G and a whole lot of gear and headed to University of Virginia for SPH's college homecoming weekend.

Of course any good football game needs to include a good tailgate, and since the Cavaliers' colors are blue and orange,  I decided to create a pumpkin hummus recipe (orange) to serve with blue corn chips.

Go Hoos!

Savory Pumpkin Hummus

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 - 15oz can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3-4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons tahini
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place the garlic cloves in a microwave-safe dish and cover with the 2 tablespoons oil.

Cook on HIGH for 45 seconds.

Remove the garlic and chop well with a knife.

Place the garlic, oil and the remaining ingredients (begin with the lower amount of water and vinegar) in a food processor and process for 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides and process again until smooth.  Add additional water or vinegar to taste and for the desired texture.

Serve with vegetables, chips or crackers.

Makes about 2 cups hummus.

Life is sweet,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hearty and Healthy Vegetable Bean Soup

Is there anything more warming than a bowl of hearty soup on a cold day?  Pair soup with a hunk or slice of bread, and you're warmed up in no time.

But with many hearty soups, you have to watch the fat, calories and sodium too.  If you love hearty with an emphasis on healthy, this soup has your number.

This recipe is completely meatless and vegan, but if your crew craves meat, some Italian turkey sausage would pair beautifully with the flavors.

I added alphabet pasta to the recipe, mainly to jazz it up and make it fun for the boys...but you can easily omit it or use any other small pasta, quinoa, couscous or even rice.

Side note:  if you have a big crowd gathering at your home, this soup is a really inexpensive way to feed your group.

Hearty and Healthy Vegetable Bean Soup

1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
12 cups water
1 cup dried white beans
1 cup dried black beans
1 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried lentils
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons turmeric (optional)
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup alphabet pasta, small pasta, quinoa, couscous or rice

In a very large stock pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they begin to brown:

Add the carrot, celery, potatoes and zucchini, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes:

Add the water, beans, lentils, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil:

Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.  

**Be sure to stir occasionally and check if there is ample water (you can add additional water as needed, just add an additional 1/4 teaspoon salt with each cup of water to keep the soup adequately seasoned), as this is a thick soup and you don't want it to dry out!** 

Add the pasta or other grain and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

I found this fun gluten-free alphabet pasta!

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 12-16.

Life is sweet,

Friday, October 18, 2013

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: A Meatless Menu Challenge

I've given you a challenge this week for the Healthy Weekly Meal Plan:  an entire week of meatless meals.  Save for the bit of fish in the pasta dish, this week's meals are all vegetarian, which may feel like a stretch...but you can do it!

Here's this week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Peanutty Stir-fry, Brown Rice, Pineapple

Garlicky Smashed Tomato and Arugula Spaghetti, Apple Slices

Cinco de Mayo Burrito Bowls, Fresh Mango

Pizza Soup, Fresh Pears

Grilled Portabella Burgers, Roasted Butternut Squash, Braised Cabbage, Kiwi

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder, Spinach Salad, Pomegranate

Peas and Love,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Easy Overnight Pumpkin Spice Granola (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

It's a busier than usual week here in Sweet Peaville and when life gets hectic, I love easy, go-to recipes to keep life simple.

With pumpkin food items popping up everywhere, I was inspired to use some canned pumpkin in my Easy Overnight Cinnamon Vanilla Granola to create a new taste twist.  It was a winner!  The pumpkin taste was subtle, but sweet, spicy and best of, delicious.

Easy Overnight Pumpkin Spice Granola

7 cups whole gluten-free oats (conventional oats are fine if you don't need to be GF)
1/2 cup ground flax (optional--I use it to add a nutritional boost)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats and flax, then add the cinnamon, salt and brown sugar.

In a microwave safe dish pyrex combine the honey, vegetable oil, pumpkin and vanilla extract.  Mix well:

Cook on HIGH in a microwave for 1 minute and stir well:

Add to the oats and stir well:

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat liner.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Turn off the oven, but keep it closed until morning.

In the morning, remove the tray and begin to break up the granola.

Break into small pieces and place in airtight containers.

Makes about 7 cups of yummy pumpkin spice granola.

Life is sweet,

Friday, October 11, 2013

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: My Kind of Weekend

As I type, it is in the low 70s and sunny...just a beautiful, picture-perfect, autumn day.

My garden is still going gangbusters (my tomatoes and peppers were late-bloomers this season) and I'm about to head outdoors to divide some hostas and other perennials.  What a joy to work in the garden on an afternoon like this.

This is going to be a great weekend!  I hope your weather is as beautiful as this October afternoon, but whether your weather is great or whether your weather is gloomy, find something that brings you joy and cherish some down time.

After the weekend, you'll be ready and refreshed for a new week.  

Here's next week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday:  Vegetarian Moussaka Pasta, Clementines

Caramelized Onion Dairy-Free Calzones, Fresh Mango, Steamed Broccoli

Quinoa with Sauteed Kale, Chef Salad, Fresh Pineapple 

Lightened Gumbo, Brown Rice, Blackberries

 Seven Bean Soup, Arugula Salad, Bread, Frozen Peaches with Almond Slivers 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

Somewhere along the line R developed a huge taste for Buffalo Chicken.  Buffalo Chicken Dip (despite the fact that he doesn't love cheese) is a huge favorite, as are Buffalo Wings or Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

This recipe is an easy way to make lots of Buffalo Chicken and then use it however you wish.  Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, Dip, Salad, Pizza, or just a big ole' plate of chicken with your favorite sides.

I even use leftovers for R's lunch; I heat some up and pack it in his lunchbox thermos.  That's a winning lunch in his book!

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
1 cup 2% plain Greek Yogurt
4-6 tablespoons hot sauce
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the chicken in the slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients:

Pour over the chicken to cover:

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, HIGH for 4-5 hours.

Remove the chicken and let cool slightly.  Shred the chicken with two forks:

Pour a 1/4 cup or so of the liquid from the slow cooker over the top of the chicken:

Serve with additional hot sauce:

Serves 8-12.  The leftovers freeze well for future use or lunches!  :)

Peas and Love,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Health Weekly Meal Plan (and the cookbook winner is...)

And the cookbook giveaway winner is:

Paige M!

I used random.org to pick a winner, so Paige M, be sure to email me at sweetpeaeats@gmail.com and share your address with me...I will pop the cookbook in the mail to you next week!

Sorry I don't have a cookbook for everyone, but the good news is you can order The Family Flavor on Amazon.com here (click the link).

Ok, so most of you didn't win, but you can still have a winning week next week with the healthy meal plan below:

Next week's Healthy Meal Plan:

Meatless Monday: (almost) Northstar Cafe Burgers, Sweet Potato Crisps, Braised Cabbage and Kiwi

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie (**Can also be made chicken-less), Baked Apples

Olive Bar Fish, Steamed Green Beans, Parmesan Grits, Fresh Pear Slices

Pumpkin PastaSimple Greens, Grapes 

Breakfast for Dinner:  Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Meatless Sausage (Trader Joe's), Mango

Barbecue Chicken Meatloaf, Smashed Avocado,  Roasted Tomatoes

Peas and Love,