Meals for OneRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Chili Beans over Corn Waffles

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This is a kid-friendly, time-saving, budget-loving meal! It just so happens to be pretty healthy too! Fire up the waffle maker and enjoy this fun twist to a typical taco.

corn waffle

Chili Beans over Corn Waffles

Corn Waffles:

1 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 Egg

2/3 Cup Milk

Chili Beans:

1 can Kidney beans

8 oz. can Tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt

Toppings:

Shredded cheddar

Avocado, chopped

Tomatoes, chopped

Lettuce, chopped

Green onions, chopped fine

Directions:

1. Prepare the Corn Muffin Mix. Instead of pouring the batter into muffin tins, pour into waffle maker. Make sure your iron is well-greased with cooking spray.

2. Meanwhile, add kidney beans, tomato sauce and spices to a small sauce pan. Heat on medium-high until warmed through.

3. After the Corn Waffle is cooked, pour chili beans over it. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!

Serves 2-4

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Gluten-FreeMeals for OneRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Hearty Chili Cheese Baked Potato

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In a hurry? Need a healthy meal for just one or two people? Look no further. You will be able to whip up this Hearty dinner in under 20 minutes, and all the fiber will leave you feeling satisfied for hours. Enjoy!

Hearty Chili Cheese Baked Potato

1 Potato, cooked
1 can Kidney beans
1 4 oz. can Tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt

Toppings:
Sharp shredded cheddar
Avocado, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Green onions. chopped fine

Directions:

1. Wash and dry the potato. Poke the potato 3 times and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, add kidney beans, tomato sauce and spices to a small sauce pan. Heat on medium-high until warmed through. Cut open potato, lengthwise and fill with chili beans. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!

Serves 2.

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BreakfastGluten-FreeRecipes

Hearty Veggie Ranch Eggs

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Most ranch eggs have a little bit of vegetables and a lot of eggs. My hearty recipe has a little bit of eggs and a LOT of vegetables, providing plenty of fiber to keep you fuller, longer. It is recommended that we consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. Because one egg contains about 190 mg of cholesterol, I recommend sticking to just one in a day so there is room for other cholesterol-containing foods in the rest of your day. So, when I make this dish for my family, I use one egg per family member and bulk up the rest with vegetables. They love ‘em, and so will you!

 

Hearty Veggie Ranch Eggs

1 Tablespoon butter
3 large russet potatoes, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup bell pepper,diced (any color will do)
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk or Original Unsweetened Almond Milk

Using a large skillet, sauté potatoes in melted butter. They take longer to cook, so start them about 5-8 minutes before the rest of the vegetables.  If needed, add a little water to the skillet and cover potatoes with a lid to prevent burning. Add the zucchini, onions and peppers and cook 5-8 more minutes. Mix eggs and milk and add to vegetable mixture. Add tomatoes and mix until eggs are fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Makes 3 servings.

 

Hearty Ranch eggs prep 1

I prefer cooking my vegetables in a large skillet with a lid. The potatoes take about 8 minutes longer to cook than everything else, so get them started first. It is helpful if you add about 1/8 cup of water to the potatoes and cover it with a lid. This will prevent them from burning and will also speed up the cooking process. Make sure you stir the vegetables occasionally so they cook evenly and none of them get burnt on the bottom of the skillet.

Hearty Ranch eggs prep 2

Nobody likes runny eggs, so make sure you cook the mixture for at least 3 minutes once you have added the eggs. I like to add the tomatoes in around the same time so they don’t get mushy with all the other veggies.

Hearty Ranch Eggs

If you are feeling ambitious, pair the eggs with my “Hearty Whole Wheat Banana Muffins”  and my “Berry Smoothie” for a complete meal that will fuel you through all your day’s busy activities. Enjoy!

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Lifestyle EatingNutrition Education

What I learned about Nutrition on the Wyoming Plains

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I just returned from the coolest experience with the youth of my church. I am a Latter-day Saint—sometimes more commonly referred to as a Mormon. The Church was established in 1830. Shortly after, members of the Church became victims of persecution.  To escape the persecution and settle a new area,  they began a great exodus from the eastern United States to Utah. They hoped for a better life where they could worship freely as they pleased.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-pictures-pioneers-trek-west

Many Mormon Pioneers made the long journey west by pulling handcarts. One particular handcart company had a fateful journey to Utah in 1856. Those companies were led by Captain James Willie and Captain Edward Martin. They left late in the season and met early winter storms on the plains of Wyoming.  A journal entry of a rescuer from Utah, Dan W. Jones, described the desperate state in which he found the travelers: “The [handcart] train was strung out for three or four miles. There were old men pulling and tugging their carts, sometimes loaded with a sick wife or children–women pulling along sick husbands–little children six to eight years old struggling through mud and snow. As night came on the mud would freeze on their clothes and feet… The provisions we took amounted to almost nothing among so many people, many of them now on very short rations, some almost starving. Many were dying daily from exposure and want of food.”

They sought shelter from snowy blizzards in what is now called Martin’s Cove. About 56 people died there. However, of the 1200 total people who began the journey with the Martin Handcart company, approximately 1,050 of them survived the Trek West and entered the Salt Lake Valley in Utah by November 30, 1856.

My husband and I participated with the youth of our church, reenacting these events at the very places in Wyoming where the handcart companies were eventually rescued. An overwhelming feeling I had throughout the two days of pulling handcarts across the plains and over rocky hills was how miraculous it was that anyone survived such a grueling endeavor with so very little food.

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On average, the Pioneers traveled 13 miles each day. In one day, my husband and I walked 14 miles along a stretch of land referred to as “Rocky Ridge.” The name explains well some of the worst parts of terrain we crossed. There was a section which we pulled our wooden handcart full of supplies and a young girl up a hill covered in boulders. By the time we reached the top, our calves were burning and we were totally winded. The image below is the data collected by my husband’s FitBit on our 14-mile Trek day. It gives us a rough idea of how many calories the Pioneers must have been burning on a daily basis.

Screenshot_2016-08-06-21-17-44.png

On a good day, the pioneer’s rations included 8 ounces of flour and a half patty of Bison (Buffalo) meat, if they were lucky. These poor people were traveling the plains during heavy winter storms, so there were no plants available for consumption at all.

According to the USDA website’s “Super Tracker,” the flour and Bison rations only provided 833 calories for the day. Like I said, this is a generous estimate of food allotment. At one point of the Trek, the Pioneers cut their rations to 4 ounces of flour for the adults and just 2 ounces of flour for children. Many of the men gave all of their rations to the women and children, and consequently they were the first ones to pass away on the trail.

Comparing the calories burned: 4,031 to the calories consumed: 833, it is obvious that there were major calorie deficits happening there. So,  just how long can the human body withstand so much physical activity in below freezing temperatures, crossing freezing rivers, with so little calorie consumption?

In a CNN article discussing the safety of very low-calorie diets, Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist states, “Diets of less than 800 calories can lead to numerous complications including heart arrhythmias, which could lead to death. Extreme dieters are also at risk of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure and high uric acid, which could lead to gout or kidney stones.”

Dr. John Hernried, medical director for OTC Medical Weight Loss Group, a weight-loss clinic in California says, “No matter how good the nutrition is in the product, the brain will start to break down under 600 calories.”

An article in Scientific American explains, “In situations of voluntary refusal of food and hydration, death typically ensues after 10 to 14 days.”

Information from Wikipedia further explains that if a person is drinking water, they can survive up to 40 days without food. This particular Trek west by the Martin Handcart Company lasted over 90 days.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-pictures-pioneers-trek-west

One Journal entry from an 8-year-old traveler named Mary Hurren describes the starving state she was in before the rescue wagons arrived with relief supplies. She wrote, “During the last few days before relief came [over 60 days into the journey] our small allowance of flour was cooked as a gruel and eaten that way. Pieces of rawhide on the handcarts were also cooked to secure what food value there was in them. I remember one morning my father [James Hurren] went out, and with a stick uncovered from the snow a piece of rawhide about a foot square. After wa[s]hing it in snow water and scraping the hair off, he cut it into small strips and boiled it. Those pieces were then given to us to eat. We were very thankful to receive them, and chewed them as we would gum until we secured what nourishment there was in it.”

It makes no sense that any of these people survived the exposure, lack of food, and extreme exertion required to make the Trek West. Some may say that their sheer grit and unending determination to reach greener pastures is what got them to the Salt Lake Valley. I know better. The only explanation possible is that they received help by means of Divine Intervention. One journal entry described it this way, “I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.”

http://moroni10.com/mormon_history/martin-handcart-pioneer.html

After experiencing just two days of trekking along the Plains, my eyes have been opened to a little facet of nutritional knowledge: Sometimes the Lord sustains when food cannot.

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Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Hearty Zucchini Muffins

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Are you swimming in zucchini this time of year? What’s a poor gardener to do with so much zucchini?! The answer for me is to shred and freeze as much as possible so I can bake my favorite zucchini muffins all winter long. This recipe is a variation on my Hearty Banana Muffins.

Hearty Zucchini Muffins

2 Cups Zucchini

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 Cup applesauce

2 Eggs –OR- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed whisked into 6 Tablespoons water

1/4 Cup Honey

1 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

(optional) 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts

 

Directions:

(If you are using frozen shredded zucchini, get it out of the freezer the night before you bake muffins, and let it thaw on the counter.)

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the muffin tins.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the bananas, applesauce, eggs (or flax mixture), honey, and vanilla. Mix until very smooth.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until well-incorporated, but do not over mix. It will make your muffins flat if you mix the batter too much.

5. If desired, mix chocolate chips or nuts into the batter.

6. Fill the greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

7. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

shredded zucchini

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

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I am always surprised at how many people love this Salad—my husband, his brothers, their wives, my meat-eating-Wyoming family—they all devour it at family gatherings. I hope your next dinner guests will enjoy it too!

This recipe is an alteration of a recipe I found on the blog, Sweet Peas and Saffron.  I re-worked it to make it fit our family’s palate and preferences better.

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

8 Cups Kale (one bunch), washed and chopped into 1 inch leaves
1 1/2 Cup (one 15 oz. can) garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Cups barley (3/4 Cup dry), cooked and chilled*
1/2 Cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, cubed
1 pear (optional), cubed
1/4 Cup green or red onions, chopped fine

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

1. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the dressing until the honey is completely dissolved.

2. Kale can be a pretty bitter leafy green if it isn’t prepared right. I recommend preparing the kale and putting it in a large mixing bowl. Before adding any other salad ingredients, pour the lemon vinaigrette over the kale. Start by using just half the dressing. With your (clean) hands, massage the dressing into the kale. This tenderizes the kale and helps it absorb the dressing, taking away the bitter taste. I do this about 20 minutes before serving the salad.

3. Add all remaining salad ingredients and serve immediately. This salad stays fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container, so you can make it in the morning and eat it for lunch, or make it for dinner and eat leftovers the next day.

Makes 12 1-Cup servings.

*Notes: To make this salad gluten-free, you will need to either omit the barley or substitute it with another grain like quinoa or millet. Otherwise, every other ingredient is safe for gluten-free eating.

 

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Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Hearty Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

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You will be shocked at how moist and delicious these are! The bananas make these so sweet that no added sweetener is needed in this recipe. I substituted ground flaxseed for the eggs to make them oil AND cholesterol-free.

Hearty Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

 

2 Cups + 1 ripe banana, mashed

1 Cup applesauce

2 Eggs –OR- 2 Tablespoons  ground flaxseed whisked into 6 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

(optional) 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

 

Makes 2 dozen muffins.

 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the muffin tins.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the bananas, applesauce, eggs (or flax mixture), and vanilla. Mix until very smooth.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until well-incorporated, but do not over mix. It will make your muffins flat if you mix the batter too much.

5. Fold the nuts and (if desired) chocolate chips into the batter.

6. Fill the greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

Hearty Banana muffin prep

7. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

8. Let cool in pan for about 3 minutes before removing. Serve immediately.

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Appetizers/ DipsGluten-FreeRecipes

Hearty Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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It’s difficult to find a hummus in the store that isn’t saturated with oil, so I opt to make my own. This recipe is delicious as a sandwich spread or as a dip for veggies, crackers, and pita chips.

“Hearty” Red Pepper Hummus

15 oz. can Garbanzo beans or 2 Cups cooked Garbanzos

1 Red bell pepper, roasted and peeled

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (1 Tablespoon dried)

Garlic Salt to taste

Puree all ingredients until well blended. Serve immediately, or transfer hummus to air-tight container and chill for up to one week.

 

The first step towards delicious hummus is roasting the red pepper. Line a pan with tin foil so you don’t have to get the steel brush out to clean it afterwards. Cut the bell pepper in half, lengthwise, and remove all the seeds. Place the bell pepper halves on the lined sheet, open side down. Roast the pepper at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until it starts to blacken and blister.

Red Pepper roasted

While the pepper is roasting, combine the, garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon juice and garlic salt in a mixing bowl. I have lots of dried garbanzo beans (A.K.A. chickpeas) in my food storage, and I always have some cooked up, sitting in a Tupperware in the fridge. Using canned garbanzo beans is just fine as well. It’s just always less expensive to cook your own.

Once the red pepper is roasted , peel the blackened skin off the pepper and cut the pepper in slices.

Red pepper roasted, peeled

Add the pepper to the bean mixture.

Red Pepper Hummus 1

Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into a thick hummus.  You could also throw all of this into a blender and make it that way.

Red Pepper Hummus 2

You can eat this immediately. However, I suggest you transfer the hummus to an air-tight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. This allows the flavors to blend.

hummus and veggie snack

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad

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This is the heartiest of all hearty salads, and a hit at barbecues and potluck dinners! It is a modification of “California Pizza Kitchen’s” Roasted Vegetable Salad.

 

CPK Grilled Vegetables

 

Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad

1-2 Cups asparagus or green beans (whatever is in season)

1 Red bell pepper, chopped

2 small zucchini squash, chopped

1 Cup frozen corn

1 (15 oz.) can artichokes in brine

1/4 cup green onions, chopped fine

1 avocado, chopped

small handful sundried tomatoes

Romaine lettuce, chopped

 

Vegetable Marinade:

1/4 Cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I use BRAGG Liquid Aminos for my Gluten-Free friends)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

dash of cayenne pepper

 

Balsamic Dijon Dressing:

1/2 Cup olive oil

1/3 Cup Balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Chop all the veggies except avocadoes. Combine the green beans, bell pepper, zucchini, corn, and artichokes into a large bowl.  Prepare the vegetable marinade in a jar with a lid. Give it a few shakes and pour it over the veggies. Let it marinade while you prepare the Balsamic Dressing.

2. Grill the veggies until the green beans are crisp-tender. Let them cool for 5 minutes and serve over a bed of romaine lettuce, topped with green onions, avocado chunks, sundried tomatoes, and 1/8 to 1/4 Cup of dressing. (Don’t use ALL the dressing you made. It will be too greasy. Save some for another salad some other time.)

Makes 10 to 12 side servings.

There’s a lot of chopping that goes into this salad, so check out my “Chopping Tips” to speed up the process. You will be glad you did. If the dinner-hour is as crazy for you as it is at my house, do your chopping and marinate the veggies earlier in the day. They taste better the longer they marinate anyways.Dinner pre-prep

The veggies have the best flavor when they are grilled on an electric griddle or inside a cast-iron skillet made for an outdoor grill. I have used a big skillet on my stovetop, and the flavor is still good, but not great.

CPK Grilled Vegetables

For potlucks, I mix everything together with dressing so it is easier to serve a large group. At home, however, we always have leftovers, so I serve the veggies on a bed of lettuce. This allows us to eat it the next day without soggy lettuce. I paired the salad with garlic cheese bread to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

CPK Grilled Vegetable salad

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Cooking Tips & TricksRecipes

Chopping Vegetables Faster (My BEST Kitchen Hack)

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Sometimes, eating plant-based food means spending LOTS of time chopping. Most of my recipes start with “chop, chop, chop…” Meal prep gets too long when there’s so much chopping involved. Who has time for all that?

Two years ago, my sister-in-law brought this beauty up to a family reunion at the cabin. I watched her chop onions, tomatoes, and broccoli so fast that I got a bit jealous. So did all the other family members, and soon every one was using her chopper. As soon as I returned home, I ran to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up a “Vidalia Chop Wizard.”

IMG_20160728_095403587_HDR

This is my favorite kitchen tool. I use it EVERY day.  My cute husband even likes to chop with it! Now I can make salsa, eggs, stir-fry, salads, and more in much less time. This busy Momma’s life is so much easier with my Chop Wizard! We have gifted dozens of these as wedding, bridal shower, and house-warming gifts and they are always received so well.

P.S. No one is paying me to say this. I just think you all need to know my not-so-best-kept-secret in the kitchen.

Happy Chopping!

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