Phoenix Inspired Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad (Vegetarian)

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I went to Arizona during the holidays and my-oh-my was it an adventure.  We hiked the Grand Canyon, climbed a few red rocks, and played golf till sunset.  It was absolutely beautiful in the desert.  It was surreal.  Here’s a glimpse of the Canyons:

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After an intense hike at Camelback Mountain, we came across this little pizzeria restaurant in Phoenix.  I had their farmer’s market salad and just had to make it.  It was so fresh and hardy.  Who knew that Arizona had such fresh produce?  Seriously that’s all I ate there – fresh salads and fruits.  This salad had salami, but I wanted to make it vegetarian. We need that punch of saltiness that the salami gave to the salad, so I took unsalted chickpeas and added black truffle salt.  Bam!  Let me tell you that the vegetarian version is even better.  My husband had his salad with salami but he preferred the vegetarian version.

Ingredients

  • 1 stock of fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp of quality olive oil
  • ½ cup of Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 can of no salt added chickpeas
  • ½ shredded red onion
  • Pepper
  • Black truffle salt or Sea salt

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 5 tbsp of honey
  • 4 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ squeezed lemon

Instructions:

1.  Cut Brussels sprouts in fine slices or use a mandolin shredder.  If you use a knife, cut the stem, then in half, and cut the Brussels sprouts in thin slices.

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2.  Cut your red onion in very thin slices.  I actually used a spiral shredder on 1 whole red onion and placed it in a separate container.

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3  Take a handful of red onion from your container and add to the Brussels sprouts.  Then add olive oil, pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Massage your salad and set aside.

4.  Rinse your chickpeas with water.  Allow it to dry.  Then add about 3 pinches of black truffle salt or sea salt.  My sister got me black truffle salt from NYC and it’s simply divine for the chickpeas.  You can also get this at Williams Sonoma or a local gourmet shop.  Sea salt works fine too.

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5.  Make your dressing in a separate bowl.  Mix honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and lemon.  I placed my dressing in a mason jar.

6.  Now add chickpeas and Gorgonzola cheese in your salad and mix.

7.  Don’t mix dressing in the salad bowl.  Allow your guests to add their dressing to their heart’s content. I did not add a lot of dressing to my salad, maybe one spoonful.

*Make it vegan: Omit cheese and use agave instead of honey.  I tried it and it’s just as good.*

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Holiday Green-tings

Most holiday parties consist of meat, starches, and sugar.  Be a rebel and bring over the healthy greens for a holiday potluck/party.  Here are two recipes for this blog – Roasted Brussels Sprouts and this Holiday Salad.  You’ll notice one important ingredient – Olive Oil.  When your dishes are quite simple good quality olive oil is a must.

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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I got these Brussels sprouts by the stock.  Aren’t they beautiful?  By the way I’ve been eating a lot of these because I’ve been training for a few races.  Brussels sprouts are an excellent source for energy

  • 1 Brussels sprout stalk
  • 3 tbsp of really good olive oil
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper or more if you like
  1. Preheat at 400 degrees
  2. Cut the ends of the stem and cut the Brussels sprout in half
  3. Massage Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  4. Place them in the pan and heat for 35 mins.  Turn them over midway to heat the other side

They are just like French fries, so eat them while their hot

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Holiday Salad (Vegetarian)

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I got the salad recipe from Oh She Glows, but I modified it as a vegetarian version.  If you want to see the vegan version check out her amazing recipe

Salad

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 fuji apple

Dressing

  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 juiced lemon
  • 3 tbsp of good olive oil

Pecans

  • ½ cup of toasted pecan halves
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of good parmesan reggiano cheese (I used Whole Foods)
  • ¼ tsp of salt

Salad Instructions:

  1. Cut kale in small bite size pieces
  2. Cut dried cranberries in half
  3. Cut apple in bit size pieces.  Mama Chiang taught me a trick to keep the apples from browning.  Fill a bowl with water and sprinkle some salt then place the apples in the bowl while you’re making the rest of the salad
  4. In a separate bowl for your dressing mix your minced garlic, olive oil, and juiced lemon all together
  5. Now add kale, cranberries, apple in a bowl and mix the dressing in.  Massage the salad, so dressing is evenly distributed

Pecans Instructions:

  1. Toast pecans and chop them in pieces
  2. In a bowl add the pecans, olive oil, and salt
  3. Grate your parmesan reggiano to your pecans and mix.  Continue to grate more parmesan to your liking

To serve:  Have your guest add the pecans to their salad.  I have a few relatives that are allergic to nuts so I keep that aside.  It also prevent your pecans from getting soft

Award Winning Vegan Pumpkin Chili

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It’s been a while.  Things have been a little crazy, but wanted to share this recipe.  If you plan to cook to a big crowd for Halloween or Thanksgiving chili is the way to go.  I got a prize at work for entering my vegan pumpkin chili to a Chili Cook-off contest.  It starts out a little sweet and ends with a kick.  I added pumpkin flavors to give it an autumn twist.  The level of hotness is fiery hot, so adjust the recipe to your spice level.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini (cut in cubes)
  • 1 red pepper (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cubanelle pepper (cut into cubes)
  • 2 serrano peppers (remove seeds and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can of organic pumpkin (It has to be a can of pure pumpkin.  Don’t use pumpkin pie.)
  • 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of cayenne
  • ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of vegan worcestershire sauce (I used Wizard’s Organic sauce and you can get this at Whole Foods.)
  • ¼ bottle of Sam Adam’s Pumpkin Beer
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini beans
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1 ½ cups of veggie broth
  • spring onions (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil under medium heat in a large pot
  2. Sauté onion and garlic
  3. Once onions are slightly caramelized sauté zucchini, red pepper, cubanelle pepper, jalapeno, and serrano pepper until soft
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, pumpkin, beer, chili, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, and cayenne.  Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes on medium low heat
  5. Add cannellini beans, black beans, and corn
  6. Add veggie broth as needed to create the thickness you need.  I used all 1 ½ cups of veggie broth
  7. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes
  8. It gets better overnight if you transfer the chili into a slow cooker and keep the temperature on warm
  9. Dress it with spring onions before you serve
  10. Sprinkle mild shredded cheddar if you like to make it vegetarian

Ninja Turtle Green Juice

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I have to admit I’m not good with breakfast.  A cup of Joe started my day.  I know…it’s very bad.  Eating in the morning made my stomach uneasy, so I needed something easy to digest.  I’ve been eyeing on a Breville juicer for a very long time, and about a couple weeks ago it was on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I also have a 20% coupon in the mail.  What a deal!  I was having fun with my new toy juicing all sorts of fruits and veggies.  I also found my go-to breakfast every morning – I call it the Ninja Turtle.  First of all, its green and it gives you a super kick like a ninja turtle.  A little corny I know, but this is the pick-me-upper I need.  It’s delicious, refreshing, easy to digest, and don’t get me started on how healthy this is.  No more skipping breakfast and no more Starbucks (*for now*).

If you have a juicer gave this a try.  Or you can blend the ingredients below and remove the fiber.  Make sure you wash your veggies before juicing.

  • 2 stalks of kale
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 pear
  • 2 slices of pineapple
  • ½ inch of ginger (very good for relieving inflammation)
  • Small handful of parsley
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 lemon (peel the skin)

Baby I Like It Raw

My husband took me to a romantic dinner at Elizabeth Raw this past weekend.  Elizabeth Raw started as a catering business, but eventually opened their restaurant on Friday evenings.  I’ve been dying to try this place because they specialize in raw foods.  A raw food diet is when you consume plant foods at its natural state, meaning foods that are uncooked and unprocessed.  Most raw foodists spend a lot of time chopping, blending, peeling, and dehydrating.  Although I’m not a raw foodist 2-3 of my meals on a given day are typically raw.  If I can have dinners like this every day I would be 100% raw for sure.

The restaurant looks like an art museum  – beautiful paintings, hard wooden floors, and chandeliers to create a warm and intimate atmosphere.  We were actually greeted by Elizabeth herself.

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While we waited for our table we sipped our cocktails and noshed on kale chips at the bar.

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I actually saw people come in just for these kale chips.

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Chef Jonathan Seningen comes up with a different menu every month.  We came right in time for the March menu.  There’s also a wine pairing option, but we opted out since we still had our cocktails.  We didn’t even finish our drinks at the end of the night, so skipping wine was a good idea.  Here’s what we had:

-AMUSE-
Beet Aumoniere
pistachio mousse, avocado, parsley
This is my favorite dish.  It’s a spoonful (literally), but the flavors were dancing in my mouth.    

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-START –
Warm Cucumber Soup
apple, cashew yogurt, avocado
Super creamy and I can’t believe this is raw.


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-APPETIZER-
Parsnip Choux Froid
black olives, sun dried tomato, marjoram, beets
My husband’s favorite dish.  Such a pretty plate. 

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-INTERMEZZO-
Apple & Celery Sorbet
sel gris, olive oil
This was surprisingly a great combination. 

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-ENTRÉE-
Curry Scallop with Carrot Risotto
rutabaga, fennel, saffron cappuccino
The scallops were made out of trumpet mushrooms and the risotto was made out of carrots.  Yum-O!

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-SWEET-
Banana Chocolate Semifreddo
coconut, rum, almond
This was intimidating at first because I was full, but after one bite it was soon an empty plate with leftover chocolate smears.  Yea I wanted to lick the plate, but remained ladylike for the sake of not embarrassing my husband.  I would so do it if I was at home. 

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What a phenomenal experience!  My husband and I ate slowly to savor every single bite.  We were thinking about what to do after dinner – a stroll along Georgetown Waterfront like old times?  Or grab another cocktail in the area?  Something romantic?  When you’re married you can skip all that mumbo jumbo and tune in to your guilty pleasure.  For us it was Duck Dynasty.  Yup, we couldn’t get enough of that show.  Hey we were laughing together and to me that’s romance.

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picture from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_Dynasty

Say Pseudo Cheese! Gluten-free, Low-Fat, Vegan Broccoli Rabe & Sundried Tomatoes Mac n’ Cheese

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Mac n’ Cheese is one of my favorite foods.  I get crazy over this stuff.  When I became more plant-based mac n’ cheese was not on my menu.   Although I missed it (especially my uncle’s mac n’ cheese) my body didn’t miss what it did to me afterwards, so I searched for a healthier version.  I went to a couple vegan restaurants, but didn’t find one I was crazy about.  This prompted me to make my own.  Plus I’m trying to go more gluten-free these days, so the best way to meet my criteria was in the Stay Classy & Fit kitchen.

Servings 8, Inspired by Oh She Glows Cheeze Sauce 

Ingredients

  • 1 8oz box of Quinoa Pasta Shells

Cheese Sauce

  • ½ cup nutritional yeast (The main ingredient for your cheese sauce.  You can find this at Whole Foods)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp sea salt (add more if needed)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp dairy-free butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cup pasta water (from cooked pasta)

Optional – You can add any of your favorite veggies and seasonings, but this mix is a winner.

  • 1 cup of frozen broccoli rabe
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of sundried tomatoes
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Boil quinoa pasta.  Drain the pasta when it’s al dente, but reserve about 2 cups of pasta water and set aside. 
  2. Sautee garlic, broccoli rabe, and sundried tomatoes over medium heat.  Set aside when cooked. 
  3. Blend all cheese ingredients in the blender to make it extra creamy including 1 ¼ cup of pasta water (save the rest of the pasta water for later).
  4. Then heat cheese sauce over medium-low heat.  Stir until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add pasta and stir.  If you want to put more moisture add a little bit of pasta water and stir. 
  6. Then add sautéed broccoli rabe and sundried tomatoes. 
  7. Sprinkle oregano and red pepper flakes
  8. Say Pseudo Cheese!

Kidney Beans and Kale Soup (Low Sodium, Low Calories)

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I’m guilty for consuming canned and boxed soups.  In college, my staple dinner was a can of Chunky soup.  Yes, New England Clam Chowder or Chicken Dumpling Soup with bread were my go-to meals.  When I actually paid attention to the calories I was like “Wow – for a can of soup. What the!”  Ok, so I went the healthy route and purchased light and low calorie soups.  You know, Light Progresso or Campbell’s Soup-to-Go.  Then I noticed the ingredients.  I didn’t know half of what they are, but I do know high fructose corn syrup is bad-bad-bad.  I ditched the canned soups for good.  Sure it’s quick and easy, but you can always make a pot of soup that can last you for the week.  If you still like canned soups I recommend the natural and organic kind, like Amy’s Kitchen.  Although, nothing beats a bowl of homemade soup.  I have my soups with salad or a side of veggies, and I feel more satisfied than any canned soups with bread.  Every week I make a batch, so forget about Progresso.

By Shelly Chiang, 6-7 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can 15 oz unsalted organic kidney beans (drain and rinse kidney beans)
  • 1 can 14.5 oz unsalted organic diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped raw kale
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ diced onion
  • 4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of rosemary
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of paprika
  • ¼ tsp of cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

 Directions

  1. Sautee garlic and onions with olive oil over medium heat until brown
  2. Add vegetable broth and stir
  3. Then add kidney beans, chopped kale, and diced tomatoes
  4. Now add your spices – oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne
  5. Bring to boil and then to low heat for 15-20 minutes