Asian Quinoa Pineapple Salad

Now that it’s August I no longer want to eat hot food. Portland is in the nineties everyday and I only have air conditioning in my bedroom. So I’ve been trying to create recipes that give me the satisfaction of warm food, but that don’t actually warm me up. On top of wanting to stay cool, all of my favorite fruit and vegetables are in season. I picked up a pineapple at the market yesterday and used it in this recipe and the flavor is AMAZING! Usually we don’t get good pineapples but this one is perfect. The other fruit I love is peppers. August is prime pepper season and any chance I have of adding spicy and sweet flavors together, I take it.

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TIME: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups pineapple chopped

2 tablespoons minced jalapeno

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons tamari

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup water

Yields: 5 Cups

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First rinse the quinoa and cook according to the instructions on the package, about 15 minutes. I used tri colored quinoa but you can use any quinoa you like for this recipe.

While the quinoa cooks prepare pineapple, jalapeno, red onion and cilantro. Mix together in a bowl and set aside.

In a blender, place the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly for the sauce.

When the quinoa is done cooking let it cool before adding all ingredients and mix well.

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Maple Cashew Cream

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This is such an easy and healthy replacement for sweets! You can use it in parfaits instead of yogurt for a vegan breakfast or I like to just eat it with fresh fruit or on top of my pancakes or waffles as a whip cream substitute.


It will be a lot easier to get the creamy texture if you soak the cashews for a couple of hours before blending but it’s not necessary. You should also have a high speed blender like a vitamix in order to get it smooth. If you don’t have a high speed blender it may remain a little chunky, but that’s Ok. It will just be like chunky peanut butter versus smooth peanut butter. It will still taste just as delicious.

TIME: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews soaked

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup orange juice

YIELDS: 1 cup

Soak your cashews for several hours.

Place drained and soaked cashews in the blender with orange juice and maple syrup and blend well. If your blender is struggling you can always add a little more orange juice!

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Summer Corn and Black Bean Salsa

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Summertime is a great time for barbeques and potlucks and this is a perfect recipe for both of those. This tasty and healthy salad will give you something healthy (and vegan) to eat without starving at these get togethers, or cause you to lose sight of your goals. I like to eat it in a tortilla as a taco filling, on top of a tostada or mixed in with a green salad.

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You can buy fresh corn and shuck it yourself or you can do what I did and buy it already shucked. After it’s shucked just stand the corn on it’s wide end and use a sharp knife to slice off all of the kernels from the top to the bottom in a straight line. You could use canned corn for this recipe but it will change the flavor a bit. I buy fresh, sweet corn, and it oozes with yummy juices and nutrients.

TIME: 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh corn removed from the cob

2 tablespoons jalapeƱo minced

1/4 cup cilantro chopped

1/2 cup lime juice, about 3 limes

1/4 cup red onion diced

one, 15 ounce can black beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 avocado, about 1/2 cup

YIELDS: 5 cups

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Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately. If you aren’t going to serve immediately leave the avocado out or it will change color. Just mix it in when it is time to serve.

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Mango Avocado Salsa

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It is now summer time and the heat is coming on, but that means all of the most delicious fruit is also coming available. One of my favorite fruits is mango and the other is avocado. When the two are combined as a salsa with jalapeno and lime juice you get a perfect combination of sweet, savory and spicy.

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I came up with this recipe when I catered a Mexican wedding last weekend and this was one of the appetizers. I decided to go home and create my own recipe and share it with you. You can always add a little more or less jalapeno depending on your preference for spice.

TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 mango diced (about 1 cup)

2 avocados diced (about 1.25 cups)

1 jalapeno seeded and minced

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced red onion

YIELDS: 2 cups

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Mix all ingredients gently, trying not to mash the avocados too much. Serve with corn tortilla chips, in tacos or on top of a nice green salad.

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No Alcohol Citrus Cooler

About two months ago I removed alcohol from my diet, and this has helped me in so many ways both mentally and physically. I do, however, still have the desire for a cocktail at the end of the day. Since we just passed the summer solstice, and it’s staying light until past 9:30 here in Portland, I want a drink that I can sit and enjoy out on my deck in the evening. We’ve already had several days that have reached into the 90’s and it isn’t even July yet!

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I also do not want to sabotage my diet and exercise routine. The minute I drink a glass of wine or a cocktail, that’s it for the evening! No more working out for me!

What is more refreshing in mid summer, and in the heat, than citrus. I came up with this super simple and cheap drink that I can enjoy and not feel guilty about.

I used brown sugar in this recipe, but it can be made diabetic friendly be using agave nectar. I’m relying mostly on the orange juice for sweetness as well, but if your oranges aren’t sweet, then add either more sugar or more orange juice.

Happy drinking! Cheers!

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TIME: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 cup sparkling, unsweetened water

YIELDS: 2 cups

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Juice your lime and orange juice and stir in your brown sugar. Pour the juice over your pre measured sparkling water and serve over ice!

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Curried Lentil Hummus

My pantry is filled with a large variety of legumes that I bought with the good intentions to cook amazing dishes or to sprout. But as tends to happen, life got in the way. I’ve been working full time and haven’t had the chance to cook what I had wanted, and that includes the blogging that I’ve been wanting to do. Fortunately I have a couple of months off before going back to work, and I plan on getting everything done that I’ve been saying that I would do. That includes cooking amazing dishes and blogging about them!

The other night as my husband was getting ready to go to work, he mentioned that he would like me to cook some of the lentils that were in the pantry. I had the plan to make a cool summer salad, then the idea to make a nice soup or chili. As I got ready to cook the lentils up, I thought of the tahini that I had in the fridge and how we had just finished off the last of the hummus. I changed my mind and decided to make a hummus.

Being that it would be a lentil hummus, I immediately thought of Indian food, which brought to mind curry. That is how this recipe developed in my mind. I threw in a bell pepper because I thought it would add a little extra flavor and this is what I came up with. Try using a different type of pepper or zucchini possibly and see what comes of it!

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I used red lentils for this recipe but you can use any type you’d like.

TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

1/2 cup tahini

1 orange bell pepper chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

YIELDS: 3 cups

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Place the lentils in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until done. Most of the water should be absorbed but if there is an extra amount, then rinse them.

Once the lentils have cooled enough, place them in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Chill until ready to be eaten.

You can serve this on pita bread, with cracker, veggies, or as a spread.

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