Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My favorite spicy Lobia recipe (black-eyed pea curry) - including a Vegan friendly option!

This is adapted from my favorite Indian recipe book ever ... uh, yeah, like the title says...

1 can black eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (yes, this can be made vegan!)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
De-stemmed cilantro for garnish

1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to your taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 can diced tomatoes (sometimes I just cut up a fresh one)
1 fresh serrano pepper, minced (remove the seeds if you prefer it to be less spicy)
salt to taste
optional: 1/2 cup of prepared Better than Bouillon Organic vegetable stock
optional: spinach!

1. Heat the oil or ghee over low-medium heat and saute the onions for 5-10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger, as well as all the spices and saute for 2 minutes or so (this is a typical Indian procedure for getting the spice "paste" created to infuse the sauce!)

2. Add in the tomatoes, stir in the minced serrano and saute for 2-5 minutes

3. Finally add in the black eyed peas with the chopped cilantro

4. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are heated through. If it gets too dry, I like to add 1/2 a cup of Better Than Bouillon Organic vegetable stock. (If you are using spinach, add it about 10 minutes before you take it off the stove).

5. Serve with plain boiled rice - yummy!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Shona's (Obviously) Last Minute Vegan Chili

Since it's been two years since the last post, I figured I'd add some color to this blog, mainly because my kind friends' reviews have excited me about my first ever "official" chili recipe... even if it's without chili powder. Chili powder - the way you are likely thinking about it - is VERY American to me. To me, "Chilli powder" means RED HOT CHILI PEPPER powder :) So, suffice to say, your version is not stocked in my cupboards, which can be problematic for the average recipe-following cook (aka... yours truly).

This recipe is inspired by my work, for always making me late (lol, just kidding) but really by my friends Laura and Jessica, who always manage to serve DELICIOUS chili at their gatherings!

Credits: This recipe is adapted from and inspired by TWO chili recipes with the ingredients I wanted to use - pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Other than those two items, most other items are probably already in your home!

  • Chef John:
  • Real Simple:
VEGAN Sweet potato, squash and 2 bean "Chili-powder-less" Chili! Also, 45 minute chili!

Servings: 6

2-3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 large yellow onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, diced - keep the seeds (more if you like the HEAT)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced in bite size (bigger than a regular dice but small enough to eat in a spoonful!)
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 can (14 oz) low sodium diced tomatoes
1 cup of water
1 can (14 oz) of black beans
1 can (14 oz) of kidney beans
2 cups roasted sweet potato, diced in bite size
2 cups roasted pumpkin or pumpkin-like squash, diced in bite size

  • A large cast-iron pan (3 quarts) OR a heavy bottomed pot
  • OR adjust recipe for your crock pot (on high for 3 hours) - cook all ingredients and then dump in the crock pot for the simmer period
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Spoon to stir the recipe with
  • Spoon to serve the recipe with
  • Bowls & spoons to serve!
Toppings (a cup of each; delete dairy items to keep it vegan!)
  • Fresh-cut diced avocado
  • Freshly de-stemmed cilantro with a dash of lime juice
  • Freshly grated orange sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • Organic blue corn tortilla chips


1. Using medium heat, saute the diced onions & minced garlic in the pan until softened (about 5 minutes)
2. Add in the diced serrano pepper (do this later if you want to preserve its heat) and saute for 2 minutes
3. Add in the diced bell peppers and saute for 2 minutes
4. Add in all the spices listed, reserving cocoa and cinnamon for last, and saute for 2 minutes
5. Once the mixture starts smelling like chocolate (sigh), add in the tomatoes WITH their juice and saute for another 2 minutes
6. Add in the black beans with their liquid, but drain the kidney beans before you add them to the pan, and saute away for another 2 minutes
7. Add in the water and allow the mixture to simmer, covered, on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly
8. Add in the zucchini, roasted pumpkin/squash and roasted sweet potato, and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender
9. Test the taste and adjust as needed. Serve and enjoy, or put in your crockpot on high to serve a little later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shona's SUPER EASY Veggie-Tastic Polenta Lasagna

Okay, so this is possibly the worst picture I could take of the most delicious thing I can take credit for creating on earth. But don't go with the picture, go with the recipe. I am especially excited about it since I created it (with a little help, there is always a little help from the universe!) and for those of you who know me, you know why that's so special for me!

Serves 12


For the Lasagna "noodles"
2 rolls of pre-made organic Polenta (plain or your favorite flavor), sliced in horizontal sheets to resemble thick, flat noodles

For the cheese sauce
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 tbsp fresh or bottled dill
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (adjust to your taste)
2 organic brown eggs, beaten (or whatever you have)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the "veggie-tastic" mixture
3 tbsp olive oil
1 box (4 patties) of Boca Spicy Chick'n burgers, defrosted & chopped small
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cans of organic diced tomatoes (or substitute fresh)
Diced veggies of your choice (we used 2 zucchinis cut into medallions, 1 red bell pepper, 6 asparagus)
3 tbsp of basil, fresh or bottled
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the topping
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced

Other ideas:
Add chilli flakes for some oomph
Add sliced olives, artichokes, and feta for some Mediterranean love
Make half the recipe if its for small eaters

Make it!

Pre-Heat the Oven to 350 degrees
1. Mix the ingredients for the cheese sauce together. You may want to add the eggs last if you want to adjust it to your taste preference. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat and saute the Spicy Chick'n burgers and garlic till just beginning to brown and give off their yummy mixed aromas. Add in the tomatoes and simmer. Once simmering, add the rest of the veggies to the pan. Saute for 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are tender but not overcooked. If you are using zucchini, leave that out. Add in the basil and the salt.
3. In an ovenproof, oiled casserole, place half the polenta "noodles" overlapping so that they cover the base, as you would ordinary lasagna noodles.
4. Spoon out half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly onto the "noodles."
5. Put half of the veggie-tastic mixture on top of the cheese mixture. Top with the uncooked zucchini medallions, if using.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 for your second layer.
7. Lightly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire casserole, then top with slices of the fresh mozzarella.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the mozzarella is just beginning to brown and bubble.
9. This is possibly the most important step: ENJOY! And take the leftovers to lunch to make your coworkers jealous :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matt's Mediterranean Hash

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 for a main course, 4 with other dishes or toast

2 Boiled baby red potatoes, finely diced
4 Eggs, beaten
4 Morning Star Hot 'n' Spicy fake sausage patties, defrosted & diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3-4 tbsp garlic (or to taste)
1 small can sliced black olives
3 tbsp dried basil (or substitute fresh, for more color)
5 tbsp feta cheese
2-3 green onions & 1/4 red bell pepper (or red chilli flakes), sliced, for garnish (this is missing in the picture!)
salt to taste
oil for sauteeing

1. Saute the onions in hot oil on medium heat till softened (3-5 minutes)
2. Add the garlic & the potatoes, and sautee till the potatoes start to brown (2-3 minutes)
3. Add the fake sausage patties, olives and basil, and sautee till heated through (2 minutes)
4. Add the eggs and scramble with the rest of the ingredients till done (5 minutes). Sprinkle with salt to taste.
5. When done, serve garnished with green onions & red bell peppers or chilli flakes
6. Enjoy with toast or by itself

Shona's quick 'n' easy mini-pizzas

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients (adjust to your taste)
Brown Rice Cakes (or any rice cakes) - x2 (per person)
Pasta sauce of your choice (I whipped some up with garlic, canned diced tomatoes, dried basil and onions) - 4 tbsp
Shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (feta is nice too) - 4 tbsp
Shredded spinach - 1 tbsp
Canned pre-sliced olives (unless you prefer to slice them yourself) - 2 tbsp
Yellow onion, diced - 2 tbsp
Mushrooms, sliced & diced - 1 tbsp
Artichoke hearts, sliced - 1-2
Red or Green Bell Pepper, diced - 2 tbsp
Red pepper flakes (or finely chopped serranoes)
Whatever else you like to put on a regular pizza

1. Put the pasta sauce on each rice cake
2. Add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella
3. Dress it up with the onions, olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, artichoke hearts (careful, you may run out of room! That's why there are 2!)
4. Put the shredded spinach on top
5. Finish it with the feta or shredded mozzarella
6. Bake in a toaster oven for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melty & just beginning to brown
7. Serve with a spring mix salad topped with berries, mango bits or other fresh fruit and enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This vegan chocolate cake blew my mind!

Picture from AllRecipes.Com

I can personally attest to the fact that it's moist and delicious and amazing. And vegan, if you use the right chocolate chips (or omit them). Since I didn't change a thing, I'll link you to the original recipe:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shona's AMAZING vegan coconut-squash soup

Image from Dear Kitchen: Let's be friends

A quarter of a LARGE orange roasted squash (I used winter squash) - about 15 oz of pulp
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
olive oil, for frying
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 can of coconut milk
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp finely chopped serranoes
salt to taste

Garnish - chopped fresh green onions & thinly sliced baby carrots

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan or pot
2. Fry the onions till they are soft (3-5 minutes) then add in the garlic and ginger (saute till aromatic). Next, add your squash.
3. Add in the garam masala, cumin & serranoes & saute for 3-5 minutes (once aromatic and before it starts to burn)
4. Add in your coconut milk and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Puree in a blender.
5. Taste & adjust seasonings, then serve garnished with green onions & carrots!