Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crochet Sea Turtle

This little guy is fast and easy to make! I can turn one out in about 1 1/2 hours. What a sweet little toy to give away (or to keep for snuggling!). 

Items Needed:

Size G Crochet Hook
1 Skein of mixed color yarn 
1 Skein of solid yarn
Stitch marker (you can use a paperclip if you don't have one)
2 Small black eyes (I found them in Joann's near the googlie eyes)
Yarn needle (I used my crochet hook, because I don't have a yarn needle, but if I did have one, stitching this bad boy together would have gone a lot faster.)
Stuffing (not the kind you put in a turkey...heh...I'm so funny)

I like to use cotton yarn for this pattern, especially because there is so much more variety for the mixed color yarn. For the color combos I used, try a combo of Lily Brand Mod Ombre & Mod Green or Emerald Isle & Sage.
Emerald Isle & Sage are pictured above
Here are the pics for Mod Ombre & Mod Green

Key:
sc-single crochet
sc2tog-single crochet 2 stitches together
ch-chain
sl st-slip stitch
rnd-round

Top shell-Use mixed color yarn:
Rnd 1: Crochet 6 sc using the Magic Loop method. Place marker to indicate beginning of round and move it up as each round is completed.
**Here is a great tutorial if you're not familiar with the method: Magic Loop Tutorial**
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around
Rnd 3: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc. repeat around
Rnd 4: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc. repeat around
Rnd 5: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc. repeat around
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc. repeat around
Rnd 7: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc. repeat around
Rnd 8: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 6 sc. repeat around
Rnd 9: sc around and fasten off

Bottom Shell-Use mixed color yarn
Rnds 1-8: Work rnds 1-8 of top shell, fastening off after the eighth round.

Flippers-Use solid color yarn-Crochet 4
Ch 6
Row 1: sc in second ch from hook, sc across, ch1 and turn
Row 2: sc in next 4, sl st in fifth sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 3: skip first sc, sc in next 3, 2 sc in next sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 4: sc in next 4, sl st in fifth sc, ch1 and turn
Row 5: skip first sc, sc across, ch1 and turn
Row 6: sc in next 3, sl st in fourth sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 7: skip first sc, sc in next 2, 2 sc in next sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 8: sc in next 3, sl st in fourth sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 9: skip first sc, sc across, ch1 and turn
Row 10: sc in next 2, sl st in third sc, ch 1 and turn
Row 11: skip first sc, sc 1, sl st next ch1 and turn
Row 12: sc in first sc, sl st next ch1 and turn
Row 13: skip first sc, sc next, ch1 and fasten off

Back Feet-Use solid color yarn-Crochet 4
Ch 5
Row 1: sc in second ch from hook, sc across, ch1 and turn
Rows 2-4: sc across, ch 1 and turn
Row 5: sc 2 tog, sc 2 tog, ch 1 and turn
Row 6: sc 2 tog, ch 1 and fasten off

Head-Use solid color yarn
Rnd 1: Crochet 6 sc using the Magic Loop method. Place marker to indicate beginning of round and move it up as each round is completed.
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around
Rnd 3: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 10 sc, 2 sc in next sc
Rnd 4: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 12 sc, 2 sc in next sc
Rnd 5: 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 14 sc, 2 sc in next sc
Rnd 6: sc 2 tog, sc in next 14 sc, sc 2 tog
Rnd 7: sc 2 tog, sc in next 12 sc, sc 2 tog
Rnd 8: sc 2 tog, sc in next 10 sc, sc 2 tog
Rnd 9: sc around and fasten off

Affix the eyes to the head and stuff it. Sew 2 flippers together, repeat with remaining 2 flippers. Sew 2 feet together, repeat with remaining 2 feet. 
The head, feet and flippers will been sewn on between the top and bottom shell. Be sure to go through both the top and bottom layers of the head, flippers and feet and both the top and bottom shell. For example, when sewing on the head, the layers will go: Top shell, top layer of head, bottom layer of head, bottom shell. 
Sew on the head, and flippers (sew on the flippers so that they are angled away from the head), sewing the shell together between them as you go. Sew the shell together to the point where you will begin sewing on the back feet and then stop to stuff the shell. Sew on the feet and add more stuffing if needed before sewing up the shell. Be sure to sew tightly when sewing on the pieces and when sewing the shell together, or the fluff will come out of the sides. Work in ends and then give that cute baby turtle a squeeze!!!











Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vegan Snicker Doodle Cookies

Sorry there's not a photo...we ate all of the cookies before I could take a picture.

I based the recipe on the Vegan Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. It's an easy and tasty adaptation! 

Makes About 12 Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 C. Flour (I've been subbing half of the flour with whole wheat and the cookies still taste great!)
1/3 C. Virgin Coconut Oil
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Turbinado or Granulated Sugar, Divided
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/3 C. Water
2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
1 Tsp. Vanilla (Be sure to check the label to make sure it doesn't contain glycerin!)
1 Tsp. Cinnamon, Divided (The strength of the cinnamon may vary, so add to your taste.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grind up the chia seeds in a coffee grinder, or (my favorite option of course!) in a Magic Bullet. Mix the chia seeds with the water and let stand for at least 5 minutes. When the chia seeds are combined with water they create an amazing gel that works great as an egg substitute. Combine 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon and 1/4 C. Sugar in a small bowl. Stir together until evenly mixed and set aside. With a mixer, beat together the virgin coconut oil, sugars, and baking soda until well combined. Add in the chia gel, vanilla, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon and mix again until combined. Add in a pinch of salt and the flour and mix together on low until combined. Pinch off about 2 tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mix and place on the cookie sheet. The cookies don't really spread out, so flatten the ball until it is about 1/2 " thick. Repeat until the cookie sheet is filled. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Mmmmmm...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vegan Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies



I'm convinced that chia seeds are magical! Although you can't taste them in the recipe, they are an integral part, as their super amazing gel powers bind these yummy cookies together.

Makes About 12 Cookies


Ingredients:
1 1/4 C. Flour (I've been subbing half of the flour with whole wheat and the cookies still taste great!)
1/3 C. Virgin Coconut Oil
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Turbinado or Granulated Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/3 C. Water
2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
1 Tsp. Vanilla (Be sure to check the label to make sure it doesn't contain glycerin!)
1 C. Vegan Chocolate Chips (if you can't find vegan chips, check for dark chocolate chips. Often times they won't contain any dairy)
Pinch of Salt


Preheat the oven to 375. Grind up the chia seeds in a coffee grinder, or (my favorite option of course!) in a Magic Bullet. Mix the chia seeds with the water and let stand for at least 5 minutes. When the chia seeds are combined with water they create an amazing gel that works great as an egg substitute. With a mixer, beat together the virgin coconut oil, sugars, and baking soda until well combined. Add in the chia gel and vanilla and mix again until combined. Add in the chocolate chips, pinch of salt, and flour and mix together on low until combined. Pinch off about 2 tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball. The cookies don't really spread out, so flatten the ball until it is about 1/2 " thick and place it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat until the cookie sheet is filled. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Try really hard not to burn your mouth when you bite into that right outta the oven, scorchin' hot, cookie. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vegan Broccoli & Cauliflower "Cheese" Soup

This super easy to make, super nutritional soup is a great substitute for 
cheesy, dairy filled broccoli cheese soup.

Makes Approx 6 Servings


Ingredients:
6 C. Water 
1 C. White Rice
1 Small Onion Chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 1/2 C. Broccoli Florets
2 1/2 C. Cauliflower Florets
1 Tbsp. Vegetarian Better than Bouillon
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne
1/2 Tsp. Pepper
1/2 C. Nutritional Yeast
Salt to Taste


Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and toss in the onions. Saute until the onions become soft and translucent. Add in all of the other ingredients, but the nutritional yeast, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice, cauliflower and broccoli are very tender. Remove the bay leaf and toss in the nutritional yeast. Puree with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. I like to leave the soup a little bit chunky, so I don't puree all the way. Add salt if needed. Yum!





Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad



This salad is SO good! It's best when it has been marinating in the fridge overnight and all of the flavors have had a chance to combine. The flavor of the kale is excellent with the Caesar dressing. 


Serves Approx. 6


Ingredients:
1 Bunch of Kale, Stemmed and Shredded
1 Batch of Vegan Caesar Dressing

     1/3 C. Olive Oil (You can make the dressing raw by using raw, cold pressed olive oil)
     3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
     2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
     1 Clove of Garlic
     1/2 Tsp. Freshly Cracked Pepper
     1/4 Tsp. Salt
     1/4 Tsp. Yellow Mustard Powder
Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or a beautiful, wonderful Magic Bullet. Blend until the dressing is combined and the garlic is blended into the dressing. 
Toss the Kale in the dressing and refrigerate overnight. It may seem like more dressing is needed, but the Kale will release some liquid overnight as it marinates, so it should be perfect the next day. Yum!



Vegan Caesar Dressing

On the day that I made this vegan Caesar dressing, I also made some non-veg Caesar dressing.  I have to say, I actually liked the vegan dressing better! 


Makes Approximately 1/2 C. of Dressing


Ingredients:
1/3 C. Olive Oil (You can make the dressing raw by using raw, cold pressed olive oil)
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1 Clove of Garlic
1/2 Tsp. Freshly Cracked Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Yellow Mustard Powder


Combine all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or a beautiful, wonderful Magic Bullet. Blend until the dressing is combined and the garlic is blended into the dressing. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

T-Shirt Friendship Bracelet



 Here's a super easy friendship bracelet that you can make using an old T-Shirt.  You can make one for yourself and a matching one for your friend too. Best Friends Forever!

 1. Find an old shirt
2. Cut 4 strips from the center of the shirt. If the shirt is thin and stretchy, cut the strips 1" to 1.5" thick. If they're thick and less stretchy, cut the strips 0.5" thick.

3. Cut each ring of fabric along one of the seams








4. Tie all 4 strips together in one knot.


5.Find a way to anchor down the knot. A good option is to clip the knot with a binder clip and to put the bottom arm under a chair. You can also stick the knot between your toes. It's a friendship bracelet, a real friend wouldn't mind your toe jam, right?



6. To make the steps easy, I'll number the strips. The strip furthest on the left will be 1 and the rightmost strip will be 4, with 2 & 3 in between. Cross strip 1 over top of strip 2.








7. Bring strip 1 around strip 2 and up through the center.






8. Gently pull strip 1 up towards the top, keeping strip 2 taught. Keep the knot a little loose, not cinching it all the way.


9. Repeat, using strip 1 to make a knot around strips 3 & 4. 



10. Continue the process, working from left to right, until you have reached the desired length. Always starting the new row with the strip on the far left. 

You can finish off the bracelet by tying it onto your friend. If your strips are long enough, you can tie a cute bow. I think it looks better if you use a machine to sew the bracelet together (be sure to untie the knot from step 4 before attempting to sew the bracelet together). You can match up the strips and sew them together individually, but I just bunch them together, flatten them out to the width of the bracelet and send them through the machine, with the needle as close to the start and end of the bracelet as possible. There should be enough stretch, so that you can pull the bracelet on over your hand once it is sewn. P.S. make sure that everything is pulled taught before running it through the machine, and don't bother trying to sew in reverse, unless you liked jammed machines.

I used white thread for the example, but be sure to use matching thread on your bracelet, so it's not as noticeable. 

Here's me, using the floor as a work space, and a chair to anchor my bracelet. 

I'm sorry, coco, but I promise you, The shirt will go to good use!



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homemade Tortillas





The tortilla in the photo was in the pan a little bit to long, which is why the bubbles didn't deflate. It tasted great when I stuffed it in my face, so all was well. 

Who knew that homemade tortillas could be so easy! Sometimes finding decent vegetarian tortillas that aren't loaded with preservatives can be more of a chore than making your own. This recipe is a pretty small batch, but it can easily be doubled or tripled. 
Makes about 4 Medium-Large Tortillas

Ingredients:
1 C. Flour
1 Tbsp. and 1 Tsp. Canola Oil
3/8 C. Cold Water
1/2 Tsp. Salt
Mix the flour and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the water and oil. Use your hands to knead the dough together into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Heat a large, dry frying pan over high heat. While the pan is heating, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Use your hands to form1 section of the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk on a well floured work surface. Dust the top with flour and begin to roll out the dough, flipping the dough over and turning it a quarter turn after each pass with the rolling pin (this will help the tortilla stay circular...I'm not sure why I chose the above tortilla to be the model, because the other ones I made were much flatter, and much more circular). Gently place the tortilla in the hot pan. When bubbles start to form and the bottom begins to brown slightly (This happens very quickly, between approximately 30 seconds and 1 minute), flip the tortilla over. Allow the tortilla to brown slightly on the second side then remove it from the pan. Repeat with the remaining sections of dough. 







Monday, January 16, 2012

Asian Cauliflower Salad

I made this on a whim when I had some left over cauliflower from a canning project. The result was really great! The sweetness & tanginess of the dressing went great with the crispness and flavors of the veggies. I also liked that the dressing was thin and fresh, unlike the thick , syrupy Asain dressings that you buy in a store. This seems like a summer salad to me, but I sure enjoyed eating it while I watched some snowflakes falling.


Makes about 6 Side-Sized Servings


Ingredients:
1/2 Medium Head of Cauliflower, Broken Into Florets
1 Medium Carrot, Shredded
1/3 C. Diced Green Bell Pepper
1/2 C. Sugar Snap Peas, Cut Into 1/4" Lengths
1 Green Onion Diced
1 Tbsp. Diced Cilantro Leaves


Dressing:
1/4 C. Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1/4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp. Powdered Ginger 
1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds


Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before dressing the salad. Toss all of the veggies together in a large bowl and pour the dressing over the salad. You will probably have more dressing than you need, but I say, just pour it on there! Allow the salad to cool completely before serving. 
On a side note, the veggies will give off some of their liquids as they marinate in the dressing.  You can drain off some of the liquid before serving if you like, but I personally think it makes the salad taste even better. 





Tofu Cashew Curry

This curry is mild and a little sweet. If your Jalapeno isn't very hot you could spice up the dish with a little bit of cayenne. I love this curry because it is so fast and easy and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.


Makes about 6 servings


Ingredients:
1 C. Rice 
   (Prepare per direction on package. Should yield about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. Ghee or Veggie or Olive Oil 
   (Ghee is not Vegan, so be sure to use oil if you are!)
1 Block of Extra Firm Tofu, Diced.
   (I really love the WildWood brand high protein sprouted tofu.  Be sure to check the
     label if you're gluten free, as tofu can have wheat sneak attack!)
1 Onion Chopped
1 Large Carrot, Sliced
1 Large Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Red or Green Jalapeno, Thinly Sliced
3 Roma Tomatoes Chopped
1/2 C. Cashews 
2 Tsp. Curry Powder
1 Can Coconut Milk
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt to Taste


Prepare the rice per the instruction on the package. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil or ghee in a large flat pan over medium high heat. Add in the tofu and fry for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the onion, pepper, jalapeno, and carrots (if you like your veggies a little crunchier you can add the pepper and carrots when the onion just begins to turn translucent). When the onion is translucent, add in the curry powder and allow it to toast for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the cashews, salt, tomato, coconut milk and lime juice and stir until well mixed. Allow the mix to come to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 5 minutes before serving. You can serve the curry over the rice, or you can mix the rice right into the pan with the curry. I like the latter, as the rice soaks up all of the yummy flavor and I can taste the combination of the rice and curry to see if additional salt is needed. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ghee


I love Ghee. I don't care about the saturated fats. I'm gonna eat it. Lot's of it. I was first taught how to make ghee by an Ayurvedic teacher who was a guest speaker in my yoga teacher training class. Ghee is used in Ayurveda to cure all kinds of ailments, and is supposedly much healthier than butter, as the milk solids are boiled out. Most of all, ghee is incredibly delicious. It smells sweet and caramely and enhances the flavor of all food that is cooked in it. 
You can buy ghee at most health food stores, but it is much cheaper to just make it yourself. You can make a small batch, like starting with a stick of butter, or a really big batch, like starting with 2 pounds of butter. The process is the same. The prepared ghee does not need to be refrigerated and is better if it is just left at room temperature. Ghee is basically clarified butter. The process is really simple: melt, boil, cool, strain. Here are the specifics:


Prepare your jar (or jars) for straining and keeping the ghee. The easiest way is to use a mason jar with a ring. Take an unused coffee filter or 4 layers of cheese cloth and place it over the opening of the jar. press down slightly, so that the filter/cheesecloth makes a well, rather than lying straight across the jar. Screw the ring on over the filter/cheesecloth to hold it in place. Place the jar to the side for the straining step. P.S. If you're using a coffee filter, you may need to change it one or two times during the straining process. 


Place the desired amount of refrigerated butter into a pot. Place the pot on the stove and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the butter to melt and to come to soft boil (turn the heat down if needed). It will more than likely foam and sputter, but there is no need to stir it at all. You'll notice that the milk solids will sink to the bottom of the pan. Once they begin to turn a light brown, turn off the heat. Allow the ghee to cool for 5 minutes. In that time frame the solids should have turned to a caramel color. 


Pour the ghee into the jar through the coffee filter/cheesecloth. After you have poured all of the ghee, remove the coffee filter/cheese cloth and replace with a lid. Mmmmmmmmm...doesn't it smell amazing? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Super Easy Veggie Stew

This super easy veggie stew is a great solution to a weeknight dinner. You can just throw everything in a crock pot before you go to work, and when you come home you will have a warm, filling, and tasty stew waiting for you!

Makes about 6 servings


Ingredients:
3 Russet Potatoes, Cut into 1 Inch Chunks
1/2 Bag of Baby Carrots
3 Stalks of Celery With Leaves, Cut Into 1 Inch Lengths
1 Onion, Roughly Chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 C. Wine, Either White or Red Will Do Just Fine
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Cream of Tomato Soup 
(P.S. I prefer the taste of Amy's Organic soups for both the mushroom and tomato, plus there's no MSG or secret non-veg ingredients to worry about)
Salt to Taste


Are you ready for the easy instructions ever? 


Throw everything in a crock pot and stir it up. Set it on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. I'm lucky enough to be able to come home from work at lunch, so when I make this stew, I like to give it a stir over my lunch hour. You can also cook the stew in an enameled cast iron crock. Just Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 4 hours.
The End.


If you're feeling guilty and you'd like to add an extra step, you can pour yourself a glass of wine when you add it to the stew, although you may want to pass on this option if you're about to leave for work...










Sunday, January 8, 2012

Graham Cracker Crust

Great for Cheese Cakes and for Pies!


Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 C. Graham Cracker Crumbs 
6 Tbsp. Melted Butter
1/4 C. Sugar


You can buy pre-made graham cracker crumbs, but they're really easy to make. Just break up some crackers and put them in the food processor and let it do the work for you. You can also put small batches of crackers in a large Zip-Lock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. 1 1/2 cups is about 1 1/2 of the little packages within the graham cracker box. If you're using the food processor, add in the butter and sugar and process until combined. Otherwise mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed. Press the mix into the bottom and sides of a pie pan (or little pie pans) to form the crust. For pies, I like to pre-bake the crust at 350 for about 5 minutes to allow it to set up before I fill it, I don't pre-bake the crust for cheesecakes. 

Whipped Cream


Whipped Cream:
Makes a pretty big batch, but c'mon...you know you'll find a way to use it up.

Ingredients:
8 oz. Container of Heavy Cream
1 to 2 Tbsp. of Powdered Sugar (See Tip for How to Make!)
1 Small Pinch of Salt
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla


Combine ingredients in mixing bowl and mix on high (using the whisk attachment if you have one). Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over mix or you could end up with butter! Remove the whisk attachment or beaters and lick clean. Store left over whipped cream in the refrigerator and re-whip if the leftovers go flat.

Egg Free Key Lime Pie

This year was my hubby's big 4-0. For weeks I practiced making cakes for his party (baking cakes in high altitude can be a little tricky). I made chocolate cakes, lemon cakes, chocolate ginger cakes and more! When the week of his birthday came and I asked him which cake he wanted, he answered with...Key Lime Pie?! A pie that I had never made or even eaten before! Tuns out that Key lime pie is super, super easy to make! I even found a way to make it egg free in consideration of our dear friend who doesn't eat eggs. 


Makes 1 Large or 5 Mini Pies


Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 C. Graham Cracker Crumbs 
6 Tbsp. Melted Butter
1/4 C. Sugar


You can buy pre-made graham cracker crumbs, but they're really easy to make. Just break up some crackers and put them in the food processor and let it do the work for you. You can also put small batches of crackers in a large Zip-Lock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. 1 1/2 cups is about 1 1/2 of the little packages within the graham cracker box. If you're using the food processor, add in the butter and sugar and process until combined. Otherwise mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed. Press the mix into the bottom and sides of a pie pan (or little pie pans) to form the crust. I like to pre-bake the crust at 350 for about 5 minutes to allow it to set up before I fill it. 


Filling:
2 Cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 C. Sour Cream
3/4 C. of Key Lime Juice
Zest of 1 Lime


You can combine the ingredients by hand with a whisk or with a mixer over low speed. Combine the condensed milk, sour cream and zest first, then add in the lime juice. Once combined, pour the filling into the graham cracker crust and bake at 350 for 15 minutes (10 minutes for the mini pies). Do not allow the pie to brown. Cool completely before serving and service with freshly made whipped cream


Yeah...it's that easy.

Stars and Spinach Soup

This Italian style soup is so good and so easy. I love how the pepper flakes give it a little kick and how the lemon gives it a brightness.

Serves about 4

Ingredients:
1/2 Onion, Diced
1 Large Carrot, Peeled and Diced
1 Stalks Celery, Diced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Quart Vegetable Stock
1/2 8 oz. Bag of Star Noodles (Be sure to check the ingredients for egg if you're vegan)
2 Big Handfuls Raw Baby Spinach
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2-1 Tsp. Pepper Flakes, Depending on Desired Spice
Salt to Taste
1 Tsp. Parmesan per bowl (optional, don't add it if you're vegan, duh!)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until the onion is translucent and tender. Add in the pepper flakes and saute for one more minute. Add the veggie stock and bring to a boil. Once the stock has reached a boil, add in the pasta and lemon juice. When the pasta is almost al dente, add in the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt and add salt to taste. Top each bowl with a tsp. of Parmesan if you like and serve with a crusty piece of bread. 



How to Roast Peppers in the Oven



If you're familiar with my blog, you'll know that I use a TON of roasted peppers in my cooking (they're really tasty as a snack or side dish on their own too). I really enjoy roasting my own, so that I don't have to pop open a whole jar for just one lil' pepper. Plus, roasting your own can save a bit of money. Roasting peppers in the oven is really easy and is a great alternative to roasting them on the grill, especially in the winter! 


Set your oven to high broil. Place the peppers on a cookie sheet or a glass casserole dish in a single layer. Place the tray of peppers on the upper rack of the oven. Broil until the skin on the exposed side of the peppers is blistered and charred in places. Turn the peppers over a quarter turn and repeat. Continue until all of the sides are done. Remove from the oven and immediately cover the peppers with a heatproof lid or some tin foil. Allow the pepper to "sweat" for at least 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to handle. The skin should slip off easily. Remove the stem, seeds, core and skin. That's it! 

Pesto


I am pretty picky when it comes to pesto. I find that a lot of pesto is too oily or strong for me. This is my favorite pesto. I hope that you like it too! 


Makes approx 2/3 C.


Ingredients:
1 Packed C. of Basil Leaves
1/3 C. Walnuts
1/4 C. Finely Grated Parmesan
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic


Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides if needed. Wasn't that easy?!