Chickpea and Vegetable Curry with Quinoa

Hello Lovely,

While preparing to return to work, I've been looking for recipes to try that will be filling, healthy and easy to make if I'm short on time in the morning. I don't always have the time or energy to meal prep but that's something I'm trying to get better at this school year. So when I found this recipe, I was actually excited to give it a try. I've been considering trying more vegan recipes. After this one, I honestly don't know how they feel full afterwards. But after eating healthy (not vegan, just healthy) for a week, I actually started to crave healthy snacks and meals.

I would suggest trying it anyway. You may be full afterwards, you may still be hungry. But one thing I can't deny, is this dish is absolutely delicious!  Cooking quinoa in chicken/vegetable broth with a little bit of butter really enhances the flavour and makes eating healthy a lot easier.

Chickpea and Vegetable Curry with Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz or 400 mL)
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon or more brown sugar
  • 1 quarter lemon squeezed or more
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

Note: If you like your curry a bit runny, add a little bit of water in the end to reach the desired consistency. If reheating the next day, you will likely have to add a touch of water to the curry as it will thicken overnight in the refrigerator (I like my curry thick).

  1. Heat coconut milk in a large pan until it boils and reduce heat to simmer. Add next 7 ingredients to the coconut milk: chickpeas, red curry paste, tomato paste, brown sugar, lemon juice, chili powder, basil. Mix everything together until even consistency.
  2. Add spinach, chopped green onions and sliced mushrooms to the coconut milk mixture, bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a separate pan, combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked and fluffy.
  4. To serve, place a scoop of quinoa into the middle of each plate. Top with chickpea curry.

Remember if you try any of my recipes, you've got to share! Tag me on Instagram using @life_by_olivia or #lifebyolivia.

Make Healthy Lunches Exciting with These Chickpea Sandwiches

Hello Lovely,

I've never been one to carry sandwiches or brown bag it for lunch. I always carried leftover dinners or something really heavy like pasta with fish or other veggies. This was usually because I never thought a sandwich would fill me (nevermind the occasional run to McDonalds for their McFish). But these easy chickpea salad sandwiches will definitely shake things up a bit and keep you full all day long! This creamy chickpea salad can be made in advance and stored in the fridge, so its ready to go whenever you need to pack a quick lunch. This really came in handy on Saturday because I never seem to have enough time to make something to eat before heading out to Praise and Worship practice at my church.

The salad is also really easy to customise so feel free to use whatever veggies you have in the fridge and add fresh herbs, spices, cheese and whatever else you need to see you through the work week.

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients

·                  1 can chickpeas (I used Progresso gluten-free)

·                  1 tablespoon mayonnaise or vegan alternative

·                  3 tablespoons corn kernels

·        1 tablespoon diced green onions

·                  8 slices bread

·                  Other sandwich fillings (I used garlic and pepper seasoning, white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and green onions)

Directions

1. Roughly mash the chickpeas (I used my food processor and almost made hummus by accident). Add the mayonnaise and a pinch of your seasoning.

2. Chop the vegetables fairly small and add them to the chickpea mixture. Mix well to combine. I added my tomatoes and green onions at this point.

3. Serve the chickpea salad in between slices of bread with additional sandwich fillings if desired.

And that's all there is to it! A delicious, healthy sandwich filling in just a few minutes. And remember, you can adapt the ingredients however you choose so every batch feels different. No more boring lunches here!

What's your favourite sandwich filing? Share your ideas below and with me on Twitter @lifebyolivia!

IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THESE APPETIZERS AND LIGHT MEALS

Vegan Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Asian-Inspired CousCous Nugggets

Crab Rangoons

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Baby its cold outside!

Just kidding! It's only about 73 degrees here in the Bahamas, but it feels a lot cooler and that's good enough for me! I wish it could stay like this for the rest of the year. I love this kind of weather! It's the perfect opportunity to wear sweaters, wrap up in a blanket, drink cocoa and fall asleep to Netflix!

It’s even better when you have healthy foods to satisfy the comfort-food cravings that always strike this time of year. (Anyone else caves in as soon as they see that Thanksgiving spread)? You could bring this soup to any Thanksgiving dinner and I promise no one would even know its vegan! This seasonal, vegan soup satisfies your need for creamy, warming soup—and is full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in the body, thanks to a plethora of pumpkin.

I love that I didn’t have to add any kind of dairy to make this creamy. Simply pureeing it made it soft and creamy! This autumnal dish is already comforting and warming, but you can make it even more so by adding in a little fresh ginger, or sprinkling your bowl with nutmeg or extra black pepper. Just add bread or crackers and you have your new fave fall soup.

CREAMY VEGAN PUMPKIN SOUP

This delicious fall favourite is so good, you won't believe it's vegan, low calorie and low fat!

This delicious fall favourite is so good, you won't believe it's vegan, low calorie and low fat!

Ingredients

·      3 cups vegetable broth (organic and yeast-free) OR water

·      1 bay leaf

·      2 cups chopped pumpkin

·      ½ stalk celery, chopped

·      ¼ large onion, chopped

·      2 thyme leaves or sage

·      1 tablespoon black pepper

Instructions

1.    Add vegetable broth (or water), bay leaf, pumpkin, celery, and onion to a large soup pot. Place on medium high heat and cook for about 30 minutes (or until the squash is soft). Add thyme or sage, and pepper. Simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes.

2.    You can serve this soup as is, or make it smooth by blending it in batches with a blender or using an immersion blender (I took the leaves out before blending).

3.    Serve and enjoy!



Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with Coconut Tomato Sauce

Woo sa!

Hi Friends!

How ironic is it that making a post on what to do when you're having a bad day, here I am having a bad day. Well, morning. Nothing else has sucked so far. Here's what happened:

I was all excited to take a picture of my lunch to share with you guys today. I had everything prepared and was about to go out the back door, to get more sunlight on the back patio. I didn't realise that the alarm was still set so opening the door set off the alarm. I had to rush my put my stuff down, lock the door back (it's the only way it will stay closed) and try to turn the alarm off. In the process of putting my stuff down, I tripped over all of the detergant bottles and plastic bags my mum seems to leave laying in wake, just waiting for an accident. This of course caused all of my stuff to fall down, including my dish....which was porcelain.....and my FAVOURITE dish to eat out of. Nevermind that my cell phone also fell (and I'm still trying to keep a steady signal on it) and the food. But my favourite bowl absolutely shattered! You could ask anyone, I eat EVERYTHING out of this bowl! It was a beatiful square bowl and I can't even remember where I bought it from to replace it.

The fortunate part was that I had already separated what was for my lunch and what was for photo purposes. So after cussing to the moon and back over the loss of my favourite bowl, I threw away the broken pieces, got a new bowl, scooped everything up into the new bowl, re-garnished everything and cautiously proceeded outside to take the photo. (Hey the show must go on right)? It really was too pretty to not share (even if no one was going to be able to eat it). It hurt to have to throw it away when I was done, but at least I can share the recipe so that if I ever decide to make it again, I'll remember what I did (and what not to do when photographing it). And you can stare at food you may not believe is actually unedible.

But before I give you the recipe, here's how I actually got to make this. There were no leftovers from Sunday dinner and I needed something for lunch. I quickly decided to improvise with some spaghetti. I know that spaghetti isn't the most fabulous, high end meal, but when you're fridge is empty and so it your wallet, you've gotta improvise. I saw some leftover coconut milk and even though I despise the taste and smell of coconut (So why did I have it? Good question. Remember that Coconut Milk Leave in Conditioner I made? And the DIY Body Wash? Great. Glad we cleared that up) I immediately searched the internet for ways to use coconut milk as a sauce for spaghetti.

When I found one I liked (I was so lazy I just went with the first one I saw, I began.

It was so simple, and kinda pretty. I wasn't blown away by the flavours, but that could be due to not having any white onions. That may have done more for the flavour. But again, this was a whatever-I-have-left kinda sauce. I was sceptical about the coconut milk, but it really wasn't bad. Probably because I masked it with some almond milk. Still this is a great dairy free recipe (well it was until I sprinkled it with parmesean cheese. You know I like my cheese!) The coconut milk was a light addition to this sauce that kept the dish vegan and healthy! So here's the recipe!

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Prego Marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (+ 1/4 cup almond milk- I only had that much left in the carton so I tossed that in too)
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced (or 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/4 medium diced onion (I didn't have this so I use 1 tablespoon diced green onion but I would recommend combining the two)
  • 1 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I didn't have any but feel free to add it)
  • Cooked spaghetti (I have no idea how much)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Recipe Steps

  1. Melt margarine in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

  2. Add in the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.

  3. Add the white wine vinegar and then the marinara sauce. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.

  4. Pour in the coconut milk stirring frequently.

  5. Once combined stir in the garlic chili sauce, salt, and pepper.

  6. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve over pasta.

I'm glad I finally got back into the kitchen and tried something new. This took about fourty minutes when you consider that I was also making breakfast. I actually still have some tomato sauce on my toes from the aftermath. I thought I scrubbed it all off, but it's not the worst thing to have stuck on your toe. If you're not sure what to do for Meatless Monday, I'd definitely suggest giving this recipe a try!


XoX,

Olivia

Maple Almond Butter

Wow!

It's definitely been awhile since I've posted but I'm back. I still don't have my new lens but I shall be reunited with it shortly (I hope). Until then, I'll try to give you the best quality photos I can with a cell phone. It's not my personal preference, but not trying new things just because I can't photograph it is no way to live. Right? Right!

So to celebrate Meatless Monday, (and the fact that I can now leave work at 3pm because it's summer) I made some almond butter! I'm not crazy over nuts and will only eat peanut butter if it's creamy, but something told me this was a must try and my gut is glad that I  trusted my gut! I got the recipe from Show Me The Yummy. I had to make a few changes as I only had about 1/2 cup of almonds and not 2 cups, so with my barely basic math skills, I made some adjustments. THIS IS DELICIOUS!

Probably more so because I used genuine real Canadian maple syrup (I like saying that!) This recipe is even safe to give to your dogs! Just cut the oil, vanilla, and salt in half and eliminate the maple syrup.

MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almonds (I used roasted and salted almonds. It allows me to skip the step of having to roast them)

  • ¼ cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)

  • 2 teaspoon coconut oil + 1 teaspoon after blending

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  • Place almonds on a baking sheet and toss with maple syrup and two teaspoons of coconut oil.

  • Roast for about 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

  • Let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Place roasted almonds into food processor and process until smooth. You’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides. This should take about 5 minutes.

  • Once creamy, add in vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and another 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and process until well combined.

NOTES

This should be stored in the fridge.

Thug Kitchen: BBQ Bean Burritos with Grilled Peach Salsa

Recovering  from a slight flu/cold left me with not much energy or appetite. But today I decided that even if I had to force myself to eat, I would eat well. And that meant trying a new recipe from my Thug Kitchen cookbook.

If you still don't know what Thug Kitchen is all about, Thug’s foul-mouthed food lovers want you to talk dirty, eat clean. No more microwave and no more processed crap. Just healthy, simple, affordable food, made from scratch. It's all meant to be vegan (something I didn't know when I made that Morrocan Spiced Couscous with Honey Glazed Chicken. The added chicken really was more for my boyfriend who will probably be a meat eater until he dies (no further comment). So after that I went through the cookbook and bookmarked all of the other recipes that I would eventually give a try.

I had this one bookmarked for awhile and completely forgot about it. (I actually forgot about the book entirely). I was happy to see that I had all (or at least most) of the ingredients needed. I substituted for whatever I didn't feel like using (like the peppers, cause I'm deathly allergic). I also used less ingredients because I only wanted to make enough for me. So I used two super tiny peaches, for the peach salsa and probably only about 1/3 cup of beans. I also accidentally pureed the beans with everything else, but either way, I'm still gonna be eating it! I didn't get a chance to take a picture of mine, so I just used the photo from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I assure you, mine looked exactly the same, except for the lack of visible beans, the avocado (because they're not quite in season yet) and my rice was white rice, not Spanish (but I swear I'm not racist, LOL).

BBQ BEAN BURRITOS WITH

GRILLED PEACH SALSA 

Makes 6 big-ass burritos

From: Thug Kitchen


INGREDIENTS


BBQ Beans

  • ½ yellow or white onion, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce* plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce

  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon molasses

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans**

Burrito Stuff

  • 6 burrito-size flour tortillas

  • Spanish Rice

  • Shredded lettuce

  • Grilled Peach Salsa (see below)

  • Sliced avocado


INSTRUCTIONS

  • First, make the BBQ beans: Throw the onion, tomato paste, garlic, chipotle peppers and sauce, broth, OJ, brown sugar, molasses, and soy sauce in a food processor or blender and run that fucker until a smooth sauce forms. Pour that into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, fold in the beans, and simmer until everything is warm and the beans absorb all that flavor, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • To make the burritos: Grab your tortilla and pile in a scoop of the beans, some rice, and a handful of lettuce and top with the peach salsa and some avocado. (Using foil paper when rolling your burrito actually helps to keep the shape and keep all of the ingreients inside). Serve right away because burritos wait for no motherfucker. (Seriously, it'll get soggy, if left for too long).

* These smoked peppers come packed in sauce and are sold in a tiny can at most stores near the salsa and beans. 

** Two 15-ounce cans if you aren't cooking this shit yourself


GRILLED PEACH SALSA

This salsa lets people know you aren’t fucking around with your snack spread. The perfect combo between savory and sweet, this is one salsa that makes it hard to not double-dip.
Makes enough for 4 to 6, about 3 1⁄2 cups

From: Thug Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 peaches (about 3 pounds)

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon oil*

  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, minced

  • 1⁄2 medium red onion, chopped (about 2⁄3 cup)

  • 1 medium tomato, chopped

  • Juice of 2 limes (about 1⁄4 cup)

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

  • Handful of cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut the peaches into wedges no thicker than an inch. You can leave the skin on because everybody needs more fiber in their motherfucking diet. You should get around 12 wedges out of each peach. Throw the cut-up peaches in a large bowl with the oil and mix them all together.

  • Bring your grill to a medium-high heat. Place the peaches on there for 45 seconds or so on each side. You don’t need to cook them; you just want some char marks on there because that looks pro as fuck. Grilling the peaches also caramelizes their natural sugars, making them sweeter.

  • When the all peaches are grilled, let them cool for a couple minutes while you chop everything else up. When the peaches have cooled enough to handle, chop them up into salsa-appropriate-size pieces and then mix everything together. Let this all chill together for at least 30 minutes and then serve.

Peanut Butter Banana Waffles

Guys,

I decided to give my waffle iron another shot. I was all ready to break up with it after my chocolate banana waffles were a fail (the batter was too moist for well...anything. And I should've just added more flour, but my brain doesn't work that well at 5 in the morning.

So on Sunday, I stayed home from church and gave it another try. And this time, it was a delicious peanut buttery success! I ate four between Sunday and Monday and left the remaining three for my mum.

So the base for these waffles is filled with plenty of banana, along with a little bit of spice and some creamy dreamy peanut butter. The peanut butter taste is pretty prominent, while the banana is more of a subtle background thing.

They aren’t overly sweet, which is exactly how I like them because that means … more toppings!! I just wish I had some granola to crumble and use as a topping for these waffles! But plain old syrup with a side of fruit had to suffice.

 

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA WAFFLES

INGREDIENTS

For the waffles:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (if you don't have whole wheat flour, just use 2 cups all purpose)

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour

  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup well mashed banana (about 3 medium ripe bananas)

  • 1 cup milk (I use almond milk)

  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter 

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ cup honey

Serving ideas:

  • additional peanut butter

  • sliced bananas or other fruit

  • drizzled maple syrup or honey

  • chopped raw walnuts

  • granola

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large bowl, whisk together both kinds of flour, the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, banana, milk, coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until combined (the batter will be a little lumpy).

  • Preheat a waffle maker. When hot, pour the recommended amount of batter into the waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

  • Serve with desired toppings!

Strawberry Cocoa Smoothie

I am so bloated after that trip! I can't say that I will immediately begin a weight loss regime, but I will start with simple cut backs, or at least healthier substitutions for how I've been eating these past five days. Do you guys ever pig out on your vacation or are you so disciplined that it doesn't even matter? I'm the kind of gal that pigs out just because the phone is ringing too much! Is that bad? I'm sure I'm not alone on this. So to satisfy my urge to consume in a much healthier manner, I made this smoothie to go with breakfast this morning. To be honest, I ended up drinking it more as a pre-breakfast snack. It was so good, I couldn't put it down! I adapted this recipe from my Smoothie Bible and I think you'll like it too. I added more cocoa than it originally asked for. The entire time, I kept singing in my head, "I'm in love with the coco". It was only this past week that I discovered 'coco' is not 'cocoa' as in 'cocoa powder' like hot chocolate.

Strawberry Cocoa Smoothie

Serves 1

Don't skimp on the cocoa powder. It enhances the flavour for a smooth flavour that bursts in your mouth. You'll be licking the cup when you're done!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberries

  • 1/2 cup plain non fat yogurt

  • 1/2 packet Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 3 ice cubes


Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Should be enough to fill a 12 oz. cup.

Wild Berry Salad

Who am I? When did I become the kind of person that makes salads? This is so foreign to me! I mean I am not hating on the salad eaters, but do you ever feel like when a girl is eating a salad, secretly she’s imaging that it’s a slice of pizza, or a thick juicy burger? I get that are actually people out there who genuinely enjoy eating salads (hi weirdo’s) but I am just not that girl!

 

It’s day four of my detox and I think I’m doing well. I’m still on the fence about whether detoxes really work. I’ve noticed more bumps springing to the surface of my face and that is not good at all! It’s the opposite of what I expected. Maybe I’m doing this detox wrong. I’m following Little Spice Jar’s guide and she laid it out like this:

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Oatmeal

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Eggs

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Pancakes (ahem, maybe just 1)

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Hash browns + light breakfast quiche

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

I drank my Very Berry Spinach Avocado Smoothie yesterday and I actually licked the jar. It was really that good!

Update: I just rubbed my chin and I don’t feel the bumps I felt before. Maybe they just shifted to my cheek. Hmm, I’ll keep up with this and see what happens.

Wild Berry Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls spinach

  • ¼ cup blueberries

  • ¼ cup strawberries

  • ¼ cup diced apples

  • 1 fish fillet sliced in semi-thick strips

  • Sesame seeds (optional)

  • Salt and black pepper for taste (optional)

Directions:

Prepare ingredients on your cutting board. Toss ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over salad if you choose to use it. Top with Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing and serve!


I hope you like this recipe. Stay on the healthy track and you’ll be ready for Valentine’s Day in no time!


XoX,

Olivia