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adventures of a plant-based athlete


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Two Hot Tamales

I was a strange kid. I guess you could say “creative” but I think I was probably just weird. One of the funniest things I remember is playing pretend. I used to keep my mom’s old school paperwork and play school with my little sister. It wasn’t just any pretend school; I took attendance, made lesson plans and even assigned homework to my 5 year old sister (who did not enjoy being my student.)

My cousin and I had a few pretend games we would play too – we made up our own TV shows. By far the best one was New York, New York; a show about two teenage twins growing up in New York City. Again, not just any kind of pretend play, we had a theme song. We would come out of the bathroom in my room the exact same way every time and sing the exact same theme song dancing around like we were being filmed. And, just to make sure I embarrass myself entirely, we had a progressive plot and story line. Ya, that’s right…

From Little Kid’s Bedroom Studios, in association with

What a Weirdo Productions…

New York, New York

Starring: two very odd little girls

Guest starring: the annoying little sister

This wasn’t our only TV show though; my mom’s favorite was probably Two Hot Tamales, our cooking show. Unfortunately, we never got too creative with the meals… it was always the same ‘ole dinner side salad with romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cheese and croutons. But boy did we do an excellent job of chopping those veggies and entertaining our studio audience! We’d set up the entire kitchen table with all the ingredients and tools. Then it was lights, camera, action

“Welcome to Two Hot Tamales! Today we’re going to show you how to make… you guessed it, another delicious side salad.”

There’s a reason for all the reminiscing and self-embarrassment. From a very young age, I have LOVED to cook! I loved to cook with my mom, cook with my dad, cook on my own (when I was old enough). I just really loved creating “masterpieces” in the kitchen. It was a place for me to experiment, sometimes they it horrible and sometimes it was just pure culinary genius.

Here’s my latest creation. It all started with a pre-made can of chili and two poblano peppers. I was doing quick grocery shopping on a late Sunday afternoon after our trip to Colorado. I saw a can of Amy’s Organic Mild Vegetable chili. I was intrigued and still in a “tex-mex” mood. “Hmm, let me inspect that label… vegan, all whole ingredients, low-ish sodium… looks good to me!” Then as I was perusing the produce department I saw some beautiful looking poblanos… “I can definitely do something with those!” It hadn’t clicked just yet… it would still be a few hours before the idea for my masterpiece formed in my mind, most likely in the middle of the night when I’m tossing, turning and desperately trying to sleep.

So I’ve built it up enough… *drum roll please*….

Chili and Quinoa Poblano Stacks

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Disclaimer: There are no specific measurements for this recipe. It’s an easy one, but maybe best attempted by a somewhat more “experienced” cook – someone who can guestimate and taste test through to a finished product. I’ll try and make it again in the near future to put together a more traditional recipe.

Serving Size: 2 people (add 1 poblano per person – or more if you eat a lot)

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • Red quinoa (1 cup dry)
  • Vegetable broth (read quinoa directions)
  • Non GMO frozen corn (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can of Amy’s Organic Medium Vegetable Chili
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 1 lime

Directions: 

Cook the quinoa according to direction (I made one cup dry quinoa – and cooked it in vegetable broth).

While the quinoa is cooking (usually takes about 20 minutes), I sliced the poblanos in half, seeded and cut the onions into large slices. Then put on a Cuisinart Griddler (so grill however you can).

As everything is cooking, heat up the Amy’s Organic Chili in a pot. Also, in the last 3 or 4 minutes that the quinoa is cooking throw the frozen corn in with the quinoa to cook.

Once everything is ready (onion and peppers will be somewhat soft and have grill marks), begin your stack…

Place the peppers on the plate first, then a little bit of quinoa/corn mixture, then the chili, then grilled onions. Garnish with diced avocado and a squeeze of lime.

Voila! Gourmet meal in 20 minutes!

Hope you enjoy! If you try the recipe, post a picture on instagram and #veggiefueled! And feel free to get creative with it… just make sure to let me know so I can try it too!

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You’re having WHAT for dinner?!

Sometime throughout history it was determined that dinner should consist of a meat, a grain/starch and a vegetable (or at least that was my impression). In fact, growing up I was a huge fan of those divided plates… you know, the one’s that ensured none of my food would touch any of my other food because THAT would be disgusting and I couldn’t possibly eat my potatoes after they were contaminated with vegetable juice…but I digress… Even when you google images of “what should your dinner plate look like” you’ll see an array of divided plates.

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Unfortunately, this rule of how a dinner should be served causes some problems for new vegetarians/vegans. I remember when we first started our meat-free lifestyle it was very difficult to find recipes that I felt were appropriate dinners. I was desperately searching for a main course in a world of what seemed like side dishes. The most ironic part was that I was determined to have my plate look a certain way because I felt it was healthier. Oh and don’t get me started on how worried I was to make sure we had a replacement protein source… *slaps hand to the forehead*

Luckily, it didn’t take too long to breakaway from this dinner plate stereotype. Thanks to the wonderful, delicious and nutritious brussels sprout… the vegetable that saved the day (or more so the dinner plate). We had a great brussels sprouts dish at a restaurant and decided to try them out at home. (Check out the recipe here, just leave out the parmesan cheese to make it vegan – it rocks!) We planned on the sprouts being a side dish for our dinner, but they were done a little earlier than expected. We started to munch on them until dinner was ready and next thing you know… we ate them all, the entire 1lb. bag between the two of us! We topped it off with a little green juice and we were good to go for the night.

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And that, my friends, was the start of the random “whatever we’re in the mood for” dinners. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a typical divided plate meal every now and then, but we no longer stress to have a traditional plate planned. Here are some things we’ve been known to chow down on for dinners:

  • Bowl of roasted brussels sprouts
  • Roasted cauliflower with buffalo or barbecue sauce
  • Just juice
  • Guacamole, taco seasoned veggies and chips
  • “Tapas” style leftovers
  • Random vegetables (either in salad or non salad form)
  • Cereal (not too proud of that one…)

Just remember, a dinner (or any meal for that matter) can be anything you want it to be as long as it consists of whole, natural and plant strong foods!

Speaking of stereotypes… My husband was at WholeFoods the other day purchasing The Complete Vegan Kitchen when the cashier said to him “You’re not a vegan, are you?” Well, maybe he’s vegan, maybe he’s not… but what exactly does a vegan look like? Can we break that mold too? By the way, he was surprising me with a new cook book! Isn’t he wonderful! 🙂

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