One thing I've missed in this new lifestyle of mine is going out to eat Mexican food. Specifically, refried beans. The creamy, mushy, full bodied, spicy, extremely delicious dish which always used accompanied my fajitas. They're so versatile...eat them with a fork, pick them up with a chip (or 500), or schmear them on your tacos. And it even came in varieties: black beans or pinto.
My Fast Fix Friday solution at home: adding chipotle peppers and fresh veggies. I created a creamy, spicy, yummy, filling version in my humble opinion.
I actually used this as a main meal instead of a side dish, but you totally could make this a side option if you've got something else planned for the main event.
You can customize it however you'd like: add more spice, or take some away. Put half of the mix in a blender and blend it up. Mix the blended, creamy beans with the rest still left in the pot and create a texture extravaganza in your mouth! Or leave it chunky like I did if you're really running short on time.
Top with avocados, sour cream, cheese, chives, or cilantro. Put the beans over rice or quinoa. I put mine over roasted butternut squash. Make nachos if you'd prefer! The choices are endless. And being my day for fast fixin', I'll skedaddle out of here and get my weekend rolling....or in the case of tonight (and more than likely tomorrow) watching it snow. Enjoy!
Today's waffle needed some serious spring in its step. And by spring, I mean the season. It's been mostly gray, rainy, and dreary since the turn of the calendar. And it's affected my mood and my health (cue mega melancholy and sleepless nights). So, I got to thinking....how can I totally bring some splashes of spring into my life?
Ahhh, lavender. Spring flowers. Calming flowers. Edible spring, calming flowers. In a waffle. Can't you smell the relaxation?
The sun even made an appearance to see this come into being. See that natural light beaming in the background?
Thanks Mr. Sun. I missed you too.
Since we're on the topic of who plays a starring role in my waffles today, let's talk about another important flavor in these morning treats, bananas. Specifically, banana muffin mix. And if I do say so myself, this is another lovely almond flour mix by Simple Mills. I bought it to try from my first shopping experience at Thrive Market, and I was very impressed. It will be on my list again for sure!!
Now, if you read my Instagram feed, you know I've been really frustrated with my waffles. As in, it's taken me a few times to get them to either bind together or not stick to the waffle maker itself. I'll be honest, they've ripped in half more times than they've stuck together. It had honestly gotten me spooked of making waffles. I questioned what I was doing--had I lost the Midas touch when it came to waffle creations??? Before I began pondering my sheer existence on this planet (I do love my flair for melodrama), I went back to the first thing I learned about waffle baking--you gotta have good binding. And oil to help the nonstick surface out a bit.
I'd been trying my hand at vegan baking without really studying waffle basics. Kinda like trying to be fluent in a language you don't really know, except for ordering water or asking where the bathroom is. Yeah, you may get to where you want to go, but it's gonna be a long and painful task to get you there.
So, I went back to what I knew worked. Eggs. But, not just any eggs. Happy eggs from happy, pasture raised chickens. And it was success from the moment I pulled my first batch off the iron.
And let's just say the texture was spot on. Fluffy, golden, crispy on outside....soft on inside. I could get really used to this. Thanks happy eggs. You've gotten a spot back at my breakfast table.
This lavender though. I used a food grade lavender to create these....and only a teaspoon. Too much and those purple beauties will overpower anything you put them into. Just a sprinkling of some more lavender flowers on top to serve and voila! Breakfast is served!
Feel free to to top with maple syrup. As I've said before, I don't really dig pouring syrup all over to drown out the flavor of my waffle-y goodness, so I just did sliced bananas. It was good enough for me. My empty plate doesn't lie.
I hope these will satisfy your craving for spring until the season actually rolls around. Or at least, give you subtle floral flavor while you're watching it snow.
adapted from Simple Mills
So, I used to have a go to recipe. One which I made (and was requested) over and over. I brought it to football watching parties, potluck suppers, girlfriend dinners, housewarming parties, new parents, and to grieving families. I made various versions, but my original was always my favorite. Sure, it took more than a few minutes to whip up, but, the end result was cheesy, creamy, pasta-y, and veggie filled....did I already mention cheesy? Because it had a lot of cheese....like a lot.
What was the dish you ask? A baked veggie pasta dish. Always a crowd pleaser. I mean, what's not to love.....cheese, gluten, heavy cream, and oh yeah...some veggies. I mean, until now----none of those things I do well with anymore. What's a gal to do? Get in the kitchen and make it my healing way--gluten free, dairy free, but still creamy and delicious.
What makes it creamy Brooke? How did you get it to hold together? Here's a secret: roasted butternut squash mixed with canned, full fat coconut milk. That combo is just awesome.
I got the idea from a blogger/cookbook author I love, Ella Woodward, aka Deliciously Ella. Her story--a personal illness prompted her to change her diet and in the process of healing, she changed her life, created a business, and became a blogger/restaurateur/author/wholesaler/amongst other things--resonated with my soul because I saw myself in her. I could do this. I could change my life.
When I found her, at the height of the first part of my illness when I was so fatigued I could barely function, she gave me hope I could live a better life. She inspired me to believe I'd not always be this bad off health wise. That I could learn how to heal and create a life which resonated more with my soul and healed my body, rather than just doing something which kinda/sorta/not really/maybe only a little bit nourished me. Does that make sense?
I'm giving you fair warning right now...this dish is best taken in steps. Don't let all the steps turn you away. I know it's not my traditional fast fix, but this is soooo worth it. Here's how I moved through the steps....first things first, turn up the volume to your fave cooking tunes and just enjoy singing and dancing while you're cooking. Believe me, the payoff is so dang worth it.
First, I soaked my sundried tomatoes in boiling water for 30 minutes. While they're soaking, I got to roasting my butternut squash. Stirred them halfway through. Once they're super tender, remove from oven (about 25-35 minutes depending on your oven's heat and size you cubed your squash) and set aside to cool a bit. Leave on your oven because you'll need it to bake it all together.
By this point, my tomatoes were ready to drain. I drained those, added coconut oil to a skillet, and began sautéing my colorful veggies and garlic. Sauté them up, and then turn off heat, set aside.
During the sauté time, I was able to precook my brown rice pasta. I precooked by putting pasta in pot with water, bringing it to a boil for 1-2 minutes, then cutting off the heat and let the pasta sit in the water. Check your pasta though if it needs precooking before it's baked in the oven.
While pasta is sitting, shake up your coconut milk really good...like really good...and then open the can. Pour about 1/2 can into a large bowl and add your roasted squash. Now, you could put in a blender and create a smooth and creamy sauce, but I'm all about thick, hearty, and rustic. Plus, I've got enough dishes to wash by now...I don't want to wash the blender too. Just being honest ;)
Mix squash and coconut milk. Then add in sautéed veggies. Drain pasta and then add pasta to bowl with squash and veggie mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until veggies are set and edges are golden. Ahhhh golden...I once heard one of my mentors say that was one of her favorite colors. I can get behind that statement. For sure. Can't you?
To serve, sprinkle some nutritional yeast and either freshly chopped or dried parsley on top of your bowl. Because this is not a plate pasta. No, it's a bowl pasta. And I'm ready to dig in. Enjoy!