Spinach and Feta Quinoa Quiche

Good Morning, friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I can’t wait to share this Meatless Monday recipe with you!  Before I do that, I have to admit that while I’ve shared a few Meatless Monday recipes already, I’ve always wondered, who started it?  I decided to do some googling, and found that “Meatless Monday” started during WWI as a way to get citizens to conserve for the war effort.  It started up again in WWII for the same reason, and then was brought back in 2003 as the healthy initiative we know it as today.  Pretty cool, right?

us food admin 1

Anyway, today’s recipe fits right into the new “Meatless Monday” campaign.  It’s vegetarian, healthy, and really tasty!  Also, I think that having a warm breakfast is such a treat, especially this time of the year.  It’s only just begun, but I’m already way over waking up and getting ready for work in the dark and cold.  How about you?

Although this quiche can be served room temp, Continue reading

Crockpot Bean & Barley Soup

soup

So, for those of you awesome GTBTC fans who actually follow me on Instagram, you probably already know about my fear of using my Crockpot.  I totally understand that it’s not very powerful, and that no one’s house burns down because of it, and that like… everyone else uses it and leaves their house and their house doesn’t burn to the ground… but it’s scary!  What if that happens to me?!

One of the things I want to do this winter season is to start using the crock more… without anxiety.  I can do that, I think!

With the new job, I have to work one day a week as a “late” day, where I come into work at 11:45am and work until 8:15pm.  It’s not the most ideal schedule but it’s great for using the crock.  I’ve done it a few times now, and it’s awesome.

In the morning, I do all the prep, stick my food in the crock, and then have it ready for Dave and I to eat once I get home late.  It’s so much better than starting to cook at 9pm.

This recipe is fabulous, and I can’t wait to make it again.  I even have enough leftover of all of the ingredients to make it a second time without shopping again!  Perfect!  This vegetarian-friendly soup is so delicious and filling, and I even let myself use the Porcini Mushrooms despite Dave’s hatred for them.  I just had him pick them out, and everything was right in the world.

Enjoy this “Meatless Monday” recipe on a Wednesday 🙂

Crockpot Bean & Barley Soup

Ingredients:

1 cup Dried Multi-Bean Mix, picked through and rinsed
1/2 cup Barley
3 Cloves Garlic, smashed/chopped
2 Medium Carrots, roughly chopped
2 Ribs Celery, roughly chopped
1/2 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Bay Leaf
Kosher salt, Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Dried Italian Herb Blend
1/2 ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms, crumbled if large*
One 24-oz can Whole Tomatoes, with juice
1 package Frozen Chopped Spinach
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:
1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 1/2 Tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper and the porcini mushrooms (if using) in a slow cooker.
2. Chop the tomatoes, keeping the juice and put the tomatoes into the crockpot with all the juices.
3. Cover and cook on high until the soup is thick, about 8 hours.
4. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle into bowls and drizzle each serving with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.  ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from:  Food Network Kitchen

*I bought the Porcini Mushrooms at Wegmans, but you can probably find them anywhere!  They were in a section near the produce in it’s own little area with other dried mushrooms*

All of the ingredients ready to go

All of the ingredients ready to go

Before the water goes in

Before the water goes in

Finished product!

Finished product!

Drizzle of balsamic and EVOO does the trick.  So good.

Drizzle of balsamic and EVOO does the trick. So good.

I shared this soup with a few friends from work, and we all loved it.  It’s thick and creamy and rich, without sacrificing the positive qualities of all of the good stuff in there.  It’s so healthy!

I found this recipe to make about 6 pretty big servings.  Don’t skimp on the Balsamic and EVOO- I added just a little bit to two tiny tupperwares when I brought this for lunch, and I’m glad I did!  The Balsamic gives the soup such an awesome interesting flavor, and it is a great contrast to the richness in the soup.

What crock recipes have you been making this winter?  Feel free to share!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – SRC July

Crockpot Coconut Curry w/ Eggplant & Zucchini – for the SRC July

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I know that typically people whip out their good ol’ slow cookers in the dead of winter, but I am super happy I decided to try this out despite the fact that it’s (OMG… already?!?) July!  There’s absolutely something to be said about a recipe that takes zero effort to prepare and no time standing over a hot grill, oven, or stovetop.  And I just love having a “Meatless Monday” to start my week of right.

What I love so much about cooking -and blogging- is that I can find so many different recipes from different places.  This recipe happened because of a really awesome blogging club that I participate in, called The Secret Recipe Club.  Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the adorable vegetarian blogger, Amanda and her blog Dancing Veggies.  Despite being the opposite of a vegetarian, I totally fell in foodie-love with Amanda’s blog.  Her veggie dishes are super flavorful and complex, it was so hard to pick just one.  Amanda loves spicy food, like us, so this Crockpot Coconut Curry won out.  It was amazing!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – Eggplant & Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, large
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 2 Thai Chilies, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Marsala
  • 1lb Zucchini, cubed
  • 1lb Eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, bell pepper, and thai chilies into a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices and process until smooth. 
  2. Place the veggies and sauce into the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve over rice with delicious naan bread.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Slow Cooker Coconut Curry

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Veggies chopped... so good!

Veggies chopped… so good!

The finished product!  yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

The finished product! yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

Dave and I were just dying over this curry!  The veggies become completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the curry sauce is thick and packed with spice and flavor.  I served the curry over some brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and skipped the Naan this time.  This healthy dish should definitely make it into your weeknight repertoire!  ENJOY, and don’t forget to check out the other posts written below by the fabulous bloggers in the SRC!

Avocado Smoothie : BA Cleanse 2014

Anyone who isn’t living under a rock probably knows all about how the East Coast got slammed with another snow storm this week.  Dave, the doggies, and I got snowed in for two days!  Snow days just aren’t as fun as they used to be- both of us had to work 😦

I just had to do something to warm us up and remind us of the summer.  For our snack, I decided to make this awesome smoothie that I had tried during our Food Lover’s Cleanse.  This avocado smoothie is light and refreshing, and I loved using Coconut Water instead of milk or yogurt.  It might sound weird, but try it!  It’s delish and even dairy free!

Avocado Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 ripe Avocado

2 cups Coconut Water (original, not flavored or sweetened)

1-2 teaspoons Agave Syrup

2 teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice 

Directions:

1.  Combine ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.  Add extra lime juice to taste.

Recipe from:  Bon Appetit

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Try some of my other smoothie recipes!

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and October’s SRC Reveal

THANK GOD it’s October!  I am so super ready for Philly’s amazing falltime weather with low humidity, crunchy leaves on the ground, and of course lots and lots of PUMPKIN recipes!!  I’ve already had it in cookies, in my coffee, even pumpkin pie martinis.  Loving it!  I was super excited to have found this new Pumpkin Pie SMOOTHIE recipe on my Secret Recipe partner’s website this month.  How good does that sound?  and more importantly, why haven’t I thought this up yet?!

Secret Recipe Club

The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined last winter.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  This month, I was paired up with Chris & Rachel’s blog called “The Keenan Cookbook“.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

It was seriously so difficult to choose just one recipe for this month.  Chris and Rachel’s recipes are all so amazing!  They have the cutest family and I also loved reading all of their stories.  I ended up absolutely having to pick the pumpkin recipe since it’s October and all… and because it just sounded SO GOOD!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
  • a dash of cinnamon to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or a packet of Truvia/Splenda

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a small blender and blend until smooth.  Add a tablespoon at a time of skim milk if it is too thick.

Recipe adapted from The Keenan Cookbook

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So- this recipe tastes amazing.  I mean what could be bad?!  Honestly, I ended up making it every single day last week for breakfast.  Tee Hee Hee!  The only thing I would do for the next time I make it is to maybe try to do it with some Greek Yogurt or Vanilla Protein Powder? This recipe is definitely missing some protein if you’re trying to eat it for breakfast.  If you want it as dessert (what a great idea!!) you should probably keep it as is.  YUM!

Check out these other amazing recipes from this month’s SRC Reveal!

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers

This week I made my very first from SCRATCH veggie burger.  I also made an orzo pasta salad.  And I also made dinner that night too.  This was all about an hour after going for a run for my longest distance ever- 7 miles (1 hour and 3 min!).  What an exciting day.  I don’t know what got into me but I like it.

Dave, Donny and I are running the Broad Street race in Philly next month.  Well, they are running it and I am going to attempt to run it.  I have always had the most trouble with running and have never done a race or anything like this before.  I decided I wanted to give it a try and here I am, running 7 miles outside on the Schuylkill River Trail.  It has been difficult training, since I re-injured my back a few weeks ago and was forced to “lay low” on the exercise front for a while.  Now I’m hoping the 7 mile run this week put me back in gear and I’m ready to go for 10 on Broad!

phoebe-running-o

Let’s be honest people… I might be running 7 miles now, but I totally look like Phoebe when I do it.

With my running out of the way for the day, I was dead set on making these Veggie Burgers from the How Sweet It Is Blog.  I thought I had everything I needed at home, but it turns out I was fresh out of White Beans… so I replaced the White Beans with Black Beans and got goin’.

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers

Makes: 4 Burgers

Ingredients:

1 can Black Beans (15oz), drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked

1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers, chopped (I used homemade but if you use jarred make sure you pat them dry first)

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Large Egg, beaten

1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Dried Basil, Smoked Paprika, Pepper, Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each)

1 Tablespoon Flour

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (or other oil, I’m using Grapeseed Oil right now)

Toppings: Toasted Bun, Bacon, Red Peppers, Mayo, Ketchup, Jalapenos, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

1.  Mash the beans coarsely with a potato masher or fork.  Stir in quinoa, garlic, and roasted reds and mix well to combine.  Add the Panko, Seasonings, and Egg.  Mix with clean hands to moisten and combine.  Add the flour in and continue to mix well.

2.  Form into four equally sized balls.  Smush a little and form into patties but make sure the sides are formed as well to keep them together while they cook.

3.  Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and add the oil.  Once the oil is hot (you can test by just a drop of water to see if it sizzles), add the quinoa burgers carefully.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until they are crisped up.

Recipe Adapted from:  How Sweet It Is

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 221

Fat: 9g

Protein: 9g

Fiber: 6g

Carbs: 26g

Sugar: 2g

It was so hard to not eat these burgers immediately!  I had made them for lunch so once they cooled off a bit on some paper towels, I wrapped them up in foil and saved them for Dave and I to eat the following day.  They heated up really well in the microwave and were even still crispy on the outside!

Pre-Mixing

Pre-Mixing

The patties are pretty big!  Ready to be fried.

The patties are pretty big! Ready to be fried.

 

I could not believe how delicious these burgers were.  I have tried veggie burgers in the past, you know, the frozen Boca Burger kind.  They are fine but these are delicious.  They are big and hearty and have great flavor.

Next time, these will be topped with some avocado and sriracha mayo… or even some cheddar cheese & bacon!  YUM!

Four Burgers ready to be packed up for lunch :)

Four Burgers ready to be packed up for lunch 🙂

Slice of delicious Quinoa Burger!

Slice of delicious Quinoa Burger!

 

Creamy Carrot Soup w/ Scallion-Poppy Topping

I know it’s getting warmer out here in Philly.  The geese have returned to the parking lot where I work (next to the river), it’s sunny on my ride home, and it’s starting to feel like that time of year where I can go get Fro-Yo or Ice Cream every day.

I love seeing my "Friends" when I'm leaving work!

I love seeing my “Friends” when I’m leaving work!

With all of that being said… I still am trying to squeeze in a few more soup recipes for you.  I can’t get enough of soup and that’s just going to have to be okay going into the Springtime here.

Today’s recipe is a really healthy vegetarian soup which I served as a main course for dinner (maybe a little more than 6 servings).  It would also be a great starter making the suggested 12 servings.

My Fitness Pal tells me that splitting this recipe into 6 makes a 179 calorie dish.  Considering how full I was after I ate this, I’m VERY pleased here.

Creamy Carrot Soup w/ Scallion-Poppy Topping

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil, DIVIDED

1 Onion, coarsely chopped

1 quart (box) of Low Sodium, Organic Veggie Broth

1 quart of Water

2 lbs Carrots, sliced into 1/3 inch thick discs (approx)

6 Scallions, sliced very thin

2 teaspoons Poppy Seeds

2 Tablespoons Fat Free Half and Half

1/2 cup 2% Milk

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a dutch oven or VERY large pot, melt the butter and 1 Tablespoon of oil.  Add the chopped onion, stir, cover, and cook over low heat stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes.

2.  Add the carrots first (i didn’t and splashed EVERYWHERE), then the broth and water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover and lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the carrots are soft (about 30 min).    

3.  While the soup is cooking, in a small saucepan, heat a Tablespoon of Oil with the Scallions and Poppy Seeds.  Cook over med-high heat while stirring for about a minute.  Set aside.

4.  Check a carrot to make sure they are cooked, then either blend the soup with an immersion blender or work in batches to puree the soup in a blender until smooth.  Stir in the FF Half and Half (or use heavy cream if you like that sort of thing) and milk.  Simmer over medium heat and stir.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  Serve with the Scallion-Poppy Seed mixture as garnish.

Recipe adapted from:  Food & Wine

Three Carrots = 2lbs?!  I got these babies at the Italian Market for $1 :)

Three Carrots = 2lbs?! I got these babies at the Italian Market for $1 🙂

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I served this soup with "quick biscuits" I tried for the first time... recipe coming soon (Bisquick, Sour Cream, and Sprite... whatttttt?!)

I served this soup with “quick biscuits” I tried for the first time… recipe coming soon (Bisquick, Sour Cream, and Sprite… whatttttt?!)

Look, my scallion-poppy mix turned into a heart when I stirred it :)

Look, my scallion-poppy mix turned into a heart when I stirred it 🙂

Are you still in SOUP-MODE?!  Try one of my other favorites…

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup

Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup