Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe is coming to you from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her newest cookbook is called, “I Can Cook Vegan,” and it’s a winner!

Let me tell you, Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is definitely a keeper and one of our new favorites. And for those meat eaters in your family—they won’t even know that it’s Vegan :).

I prefer to leave the oil out of recipes, so I subbed veg. broth to saute the ingredients. I actually didn’t even oil the pan before putting the ingredients in and it was great. You can choose for yourself what you would like to do.

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 8

  • 2 cups cold vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into medium dice
  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped into pea-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups cooked lentils, cooked in vegetable broth (do not add salt)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 recipe Classic Mashed Potatoes (at the bottom of the post)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. In a measuring cup, mix together the broth and cornstarch until the starch is mostly dissolved. Mix in the tomato paste and set aside.

2. Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and carrots in a bit of veg. broth with a pinch of salt until the onions are lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, just until fragrant. Add the celery, mushrooms, and thyme with a bunch of fresh black pepper and salt. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have released a lot of moisture.

3. Add the lentils and use your spatula to mush them in the pan to create a “ground beef” effect. Add the corstarch-broth mixture and mix well. Let cook until the filling is thick and gravy-like, about 7 minutes. Fold in the peas. Taste for salt and seasoning.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 11 x 13 inch casserole dish. Transfer the filling to the casserole in an even layer. Dollop the mashed potatoes over the top, starting at the edges and working your way in, and then use a rubber spatula to spread them relatively smoothly.

5. Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet to collect any juices that bubble over. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned. Let cool a bit before sprinkling with parsley, if desired, and serving.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 lbs. new potatoes, peelings on (cooked in instant pot for 13 min. with natural pressure release or you can boil them)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup whole unroasted cashews (if you own a high speed blender, you don’t have to boil these beforehand. If you don’t own one, then boil for 20 minutes to soften.)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth, at room temperature
  • Freshly ground pepper

1. Cook potatoes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, place cashews and vegetable broth in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth, scrapping the sides occasionally with a spatula to get everything.

3. When the potatoes are done cooking, drain and return to pot. Mash them with a potato masher to break them up a bit. Add half of the cashew mixture and the salt and pepper. Mash with potato masher until relatively smooth and no big chunks are left.

4. Add the remaining cashew mixture, mix it in and mash some more until it is mixed well. And there you have it! Enjoy!

P.S. All of the recipes I make from other bloggers/cookbook authors/instagramers (you get it 🙂 have a Peg twist to them, so if you look up the recipes on line they will be slightly different :).

Tasty Tacos– (the hub’s fav)

It’s my hubby’s birthday today, so in honor of his big day, I’m posting the recipe that is his ultimate favorite taco. You will love the little bit of spicy cauliflower & chickpeas for the filling, which completely transforms the flavor that cauliflower, chickpeas and cabbage normally have. The filling is complemented with a scrumptious cabbage slaw, avocado slices (optional) and a drizzle of cashew cream. Trust me–YOU WILL LOVE IT! GUARANTEED! Please read the full recipe before cooking.

There are 3 parts to this recipe–Cabbage Slaw, Cashew Cream Sauce, and Cauliflower/Chickpea mix.

For the Cabbage Slaw:

  • 1/2 Medium head purple cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Sm/Med Red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 T. Taco Time hot sauce
  • 2 T. Honey or Agave
  • 1/4 C Lime juice
  • Salt to taste

In a small bowl mix hot sauce, honey (or agave) and juice from limes together and pour over cabbage and onion. Mix with your hands. I like to massage it in really well together. (This is actually the part that the hub’s does :). Set in the fridge until serving. This can be made a day ahead (highly recommended, but not essential, for even better flavor), as well as the cashew cream sauce, which I’ll share next.

For the Cashew Cream Sauce:

  • 1/2 C. Raw Cashews, boiled in water for 20 min or let sit overnight)
  • 2/3 C. Water (not the water that you boil the cashews in–fresh water)
  • 1/2 tea. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tea. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tea. Nutritional yeast (optional-this makes it more cheesy)

Put all ingredients in a high power blender. I have a Vitamix that I love, and if you do have a Vitamix, you can skip the boiling of the cashews. It does make it a bit creamier if you boil them, but either way, it works great. Once that is blended together for a few min on high, then transfer to a container and set in the fridge. As mentioned before, this can be made the day before.

For the Cauliflower & Chickpea Filling:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a cookie sheet pan and line it with a splat mat or parchment paper.

  • 1 head Cauliflower, broken apart into smaller pieces (not riced though–still chucky)
  • 1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Mix together cauliflower and chickpeas in a large bowl. Set aside while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:

In a saucepan on the stove heat together the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1/2 C. Vegetable broth
  • 2 T. Honey or Agave
  • 1-2 T. Cornstarch

Mix together well in saucepan and cook on medium high heat until thickened. Pour on cauliflower and chickpea mixture. Mix together throughly with a spoon or once it cools enough, mix it with your hands. It just mixes better that way. Pour on cookie sheet and spread mixture out evenly. Cook for 15 min then turn and cook 10 -15 min more or to your liking. I like it a little crisp so I do 10 more min.

This is the brown rice that we use from Costco. It’s so fast to cook.

Now for the best part—- The assembly!!!

  • Corn Tortilla
  • Cauliflower/Chickpea Mix
  • Brown Rice
  • Cabbage Slaw
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Cashew Cream

ENJOY!!! YUM!!

1-Hour to Delish Vegan Roll Recipe

I was inspired to make these rolls after making a trip to my favorite bakery to buy rolls (Great Harvest) and they were out. Of course, it was because of the CoronaVirus and everyone panicking to buy bread. Their bread and rolls were sold out by 11 a.m. that day. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!! All was not lost, however, thanks to my mama teaching me her mean bread making skills. We always had homemade rolls every Saturday. Ohhh how I love the smell of homemade bread. It brings back so many fond memories for me.

As most of you know, we try hard not to eat any oil, so I made this recipe as oil free as I could possibly could (minus the non-stick cooking spray that I sprayed in the pan to keep the rolls from sticking). I hope you love them as much as we did.

1-Hour to Delish Vegan Roll Recipe

  • 1 c. Almond Milk
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1/4 c. Honey (I know, I know honey isn’t vegan) or Agave
  • 1 T. Active-Dry Yeast
  • 3.5-4 c. All purpose Flour
  • 1 tea. Salt
  1. Prep your oven and baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. Warm the liquid ingredients.  In a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water, milk and honey/agave.  Microwave the mixture for 1 minute, and give it a stir.  Continue microwaving the mixture in 15 second intervals, until it is very warm to the touch but not hot or boiling (anywhere between 95°F-115°F), and the butter is completely melted.  The temperature of the water is important here, because if it’s too hot (120°F or more), it will kill the yeast.  If it’s too cool, the yeast will not activate.  Just think — a little bit warmer than your body temperature.
  3. Add yeast.  Pour the liquid mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer.  Then sprinkle the yeast evenly on top, and give it a quick stir with a fork to combine.  Wait for five minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
  4. Add dry ingredients.  Then add in 3.5 cups of flour (not all of the flour) and the salt.
  5. Mix.  Using the dough-hook, mix on medium-low speed until the dry ingredients are combined.  If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add in 1/4 cup more flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky to the touch.  (Only use up to 4 cups of flour total.)  Continue mixing on low speed for 4-5 minutes.  Then form the dough into a ball with your hands and transfer it to a greased bowl.
  6. Let the dough rise.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel or paper towel, and let it rise briefly for 15 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Form the rolls.  Gently punch the dough down and divide into 15 equal-sized pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place the dough balls in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray (9×13-inch baking dish).  Cover the dish again with a damp towel or paper towel, and let the dough balls rise for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  8. Bake.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the rolls are lightly golden brown on top and cooked through.
  9. Remove the rolls from the oven.
  10. Serve warm.  And enjoy!

NOTES

*I buy my yeast in bulk.  But if you’re buying the packets, note that 1 packet contains 2.25 teaspoons yeast.  So this will call for a little more than 1 packet.

Vegan Huevos Rancheros

If you are looking for an amazing breakfast, look no further. This is one of my creations that is so full of flavor and whole food plant-based goodness that it will knock your socks off. It definitely scored a 5/5 with my family. Enjoy.

Vegan Huevos Rancheros

This is such a delicious breakfast. Full of flavor and protein and simple goodness.

Source: Peg

Cuisine: Mexican

Main Ingredient: Tofu Eggs

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 40 min

Total Time: 1 hr

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • For the Tofu Eggs:
  • 1 16 ounce firm tofu pressed (see below)
  • 12 medium Anaheim Pepper finely diced
  • 12 small red onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 T. Frank’s hot sauce
  • Vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • salt and pepper
  • 14 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 T. Tumeric
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes sliced in half lengthwise, cooked on 425 on a cookie sheet with either parchment paper on top or a s
  • 1 can refried beans black beans, or pinto beans, warmed (I like to add a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder, salt and pe
  • 1 can sweet corn warmed
  • Pico (I love Harmon’s jalepeno fresh salsa, if you live in Utah)
  • 1 avocado sliced in thin slices
  • Corn Tortillas warmed on the griddle just before serving

Directions

  1. For the tofu:
  2. To press tofu–wrap in a clean kitchen dish towel and place several heavy books on top. This makes the tofu a little more dense and releases some of the moisture. The books will get damp so put plastic wrap on top of the tofu and then the books on top. Let set for 20 min.
  3. Pour about 3 T. of the broth in a nonstick skillet and add the Anaheim pepper, garlic and onion and saute about 5-6 min on medium high. If it looks like it is starting to burn, add more broth. Add Frank’s hot sauce and saute for just a minute longer. Set aside while you get the tofu ready.
  4. Mix nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt and pepper together. Break the tofu apart with your hands and toss in the nutritional yeast mixture until well coated. Add this to the anaheim pepper mixture in the fry pan. Turn on heat to medium and add a little more broth, but not too much. You can always add more if it is looking too dry. Saute turning carefully the tofu chunks so they don’t make too many crumbles. Heat about 10 min and let sit and cover with lid so it stays warm.
  5. Prepare remaining ingredients as instructed.
  6. Serve order:
  7. corn tortilla
  8. beans (if you aren’t using refried do these after the sweet potato)
  9. sweet potato
  10. tofu eggs
  11. corn
  12. avocado
  13. pico
  14. (cashew cream would be yummy drizzled on this as well)

You Won’t Believe Its Vegan Chili

Recently I set on a quest to perfect my chili recipe so those who are not whole food plant based people, would not miss eating meat in their chili. This original chili recipe came from https://eathealthyeathappy.com/killer-vegan-chili/ but I modified it a little bit. It’s quite a process to make but just like most anything in life that takes a lot of time—it’s sooooo worth it!!

I cooked the recipe for my pinto beans in the instant pot the night before. The recipe link is here https://itsapegslife.com/2019/03/09/delicious-instant-pot-pinto-beans/ They are my family’s favorite, so I thought the added flavor of these beans would just enhance the taste of the chili.

Next step is to make the cauliflower hamburger recipe as follows:

  • 1 head cauliflower, grated in food processor or you can just use your blade, whatever works best for you to make the cauliflower the size of rice grains
  • 6 oz. of button mushrooms, washed, dried and grated/blade in food processor
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped medium (again you can use your food processor)
  • 1 -2 T. cumin
  • 1-2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper as needed

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well. I like to use my hands and mix it really good. Taste the mixture to see if it is to your liking. Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet with a splat mat or wax paper on it. If you don’t have a splat mat or wax paper, just spray the cookie sheet with Pam and spread a thin layer of cauliflower mixture on it. I like to use two cookie sheets so the layer isn’t too think.

Cook on preheated 425 degree oven on the upper rack so it’s close to the element for 15 min and then turn the mixture. Cook again for another 10-15 min. And there you have it–cauliflower hamburger. Let cool.

Now for the Chili—–

You Won’t Believe Its Vegan Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock)
  • 2 c chopped bell pepper, any colors

45 oz. cans Pome chopped tomatoes (you can find these at your Harmon’s for those of you that live in Utah)

  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 4 c water
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 c uncooked quinoa (wash throughly)
  • 2-3 c cooked pinto beans (the homemade beans above)
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 can sweet corn

Toppings like fresh homemade cashew cream, cilantro, avocado or vegan cheese shreds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add a small portion of the broth to a large lidded cooking pot. Add onion and saute over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, basil, chipotle powder, cumin, oregano salt and pepper. Add a few splashes of the veg. stock to deglaze the pan and simmer 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat slightly and/or add more if the spices are burning at all.
  3. Stir in the bell and poblano peppers and the rest of the stock. Simmer about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the Pome tomatoes, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, liquid smoke and water. Loosely lid the pot and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice, quinoa, beans, and corn. Reduce the heat to medium low, lid the pot and simmer about 60-70 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add enough water to make it the consistency you like as you need to.
  6. When soup is done simmering add cauliflower mixture. I like adding about half of it but you can add as much as you want.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings.

I like to make this the night before I serve it and then reheat in the slow cooker. Sooooo good!

Delicious Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Delicious pinto beans with no overnight soaking needed.

You are going to LOVE these flavorful and delicious pinto beans. They are so so easy to make in the instant pot and NO SOAKING NEEDED! WOO HOO!

Ingredients:

  • 5 C. Pinto Beans, rinsed with water
  • 1/2 Anaheim Pepper or 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1 T. Minced Garlic
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 3 T. Cumin (I love cumin so if you don’t, add just 1 T.)
  • 2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 10 C. Vegetable Broth or enough to cover 1″ above pinto beans

Put a little vegetable broth in the instant pot and turn pot on the “sauté” setting. When pot is hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant (approximately 2 minutes). Add pepper and onion. You may need to add more broth here so it doesn’t burn. Sauté for approximately 5 minutes and then add cumin, chili powder and salt. Cook until you smell that luscious smell of spice. OOOOO do you smell it? I LOVE that smell.

Add beans, stir with a large spoon, and then add the broth. Stir again. Turn instant pot off and then push “manual”. Set the time to 55 minutes. When instant pot beeps and it’s done cooking for the 55 min, release the air vent out after 10-15 min. Taste beans to make sure they are spiced to your liking and add more salt if needed.

For this burrito, I layered it with mashed sweet potato, quinoa, and beans. Roll it up to eat like this. Or, to make a taco salad out of it, top with avocado, lettuce, salsa, vegan cashew sour cream, and your favorite vegan dressing. Enjoy!

The BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe-Gluten Free

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PLEASE DON’T BE TURNED OFF BY THE TITLE OF THIS POST LOL!!  I promise–YOU WILL LOVE THESE!!  The texture is seriously my fav!!  The original chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe, that I have been making for about 20+ years now, has 1 c. of butter flavored shortening  and we all know how terrible that is for our body, so I subbed 1/2 C. applesauce and 1/2 C. almond butter.  I love grinding my own almond butter at the grocery store–seriously the best and you know exactly what is in the container :).  I also subbed flax eggs for real eggs.  The recipe is below:

1 Flax Seed Egg= 1 T. Flax seed mixed in 3 T. water

Let mixture set for about 5 -7 min and add to cookie mixture.

For this recipe, I used 2 flax seed eggs, so 2 T. flax seed and 6 T. water.

Lastly, I wanted to make them gluten free, so I used almond flour along with xanthan gum, because I have a couple of friends and a sister that LOVE to eat treats, and we all know that gluten-free treats seem to be rather bland.  Well, look no further because this recipe is a keeper.  Even if you’re not gluten free, you will be surprised at how glutenous this recipe seems to be haha.

THE BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIE RECIPE– GLUTEN FREE

Yield: Approx. 2 1/2 doz. medium cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:

CREAM TOGETHER WITH BLENDER:

1/2 C. Applesauce (no sugar, all natural organic)

1/2 C. Almond Butter

1/2 C. White Sugar

1 C. Light Brown Sugar

2 Flax Eggs (recipe above)

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

IN SEPARATE BOWL COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS WITH WHISK:

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 scant tsp. Salt

1 C. Oatmeal

3 1/3 C. Almond Flour

1 3/4 tsp. Xanthan gum

Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time and mix by hand (I like using a rice spoon). Don’t use the blender. Continue adding dry ingredients until all flour is mixed in and then add:

1 C. Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

1 C. Coarsely Crushed Walnuts

Mix until chocolate chips and walnuts seem to be throughout the dough. Put dough in freezer for 20 min. This is a step that you cannot skip!

Remove dough from the freezer and use a medium sized cookie scoop and put scoops of cookie dough on cookie sheet topped with a sheet of parchment paper. You should be able to get 12 scoops of cookie dough on one cookie sheet. Put in oven on center rack.

Bake cookies for 20-25 min or until slightly brown on top. Enjoy!

GNOCCHI WITH ROASTED BROCCOLINI IN WHITE WINE SAUCE

My daughter introduced me to gnocchi in Portland. She is an amazing cook and has introduced me to a lot of different foods. Well, she is a dietician and that helps too. Gnocchi has come to be one of my favs.

The other night when I got home from work and the “What’s for dinner?” question entered my head, as my stomach was growling, I needed to make a quick dish before I smacked myself to death, I remembered I had some gnocchi in my pantry that I’ve been wanting to cook. I originally was thinking of a mushroom marinara for this dish, but at the last minute I changed my mind (definitely a woman’s prerogative haha) because when I tasted the white wine mixed with the mushroom broth and spices it tasted fantastic.

If you want to make this sauce creamy, blend up 1/2 c cashews in about 1/4 c vegetable broth in a high speed blender and add it to the dish at the end. Make sure you blend this up well so you don’t get that gross grainy texture. Another trick is to soak the cashews for 15 min in boiling water, drain it before adding it to the blender with broth. Now to the recipe…..

GNOCCHI WITH ROASTED BROCCOLINI IN WHITE WINE SAUCE

Serves: 4 but if you have big eaters I would double.

Cook Time: 30 min.

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 small red onion

2 c. mushrooms sliced

1 bunch broccolini or regular broccoli (see recipe below)

1 package gnocchi, prepare as directed on package and set aside

1/3 c. dry white wine

1/2 c. vegetable broth (I like to make this with the “Better than Bouillon” brand

1 T. oregano

1 T. parsley

(Or in place of oregano and parsley add 1T. Italian seasoning)

1 tsp. salt

Prepare broth. Add 1/4 c. broth to a medium size Dutch oven or large rim pan and turn heat to medium high. As soon as pan is hot, add garlic and sauté for 2 min continuously stirring until it smells fragrant.

Add onion and sauté about 5 min or until slightly translucent. If you need to add more broth here to keep it from burning, do so. Add mushrooms and sauté these for 10-15 min or until a nice liquid broth forms from the mushrooms, add white wine and keep sautéing for 7 min or so until the alcohol burns off.

Add oregano, parsley and salt. Taste the mixture to see if it is to your liking. From here you can make a the cashew cream as mentioned above or leave it out. I thought it tasted good as is, so I opted not to. Add gnocchi and roasted broccolini. Mix well and taste once again to make sure it is properly salted and spiced. Enjoy.

ROASTED BROCCOLINI

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with baking rack on the top slot of the oven.

Place as much broccolini on a baking sheet pan as you want to serve.

Sprinkle broccolini with vegetable broth and salt and pepper.

When oven is up to temperature, place broccolini in the oven and set timer for 7 min. After 7 min stir broccolini on baking sheet and put back in oven for about 4 min or until it’s cooked to your liking.

Remove from oven and serve or add to cooking dish.

Delicious Granola (oil free)

This recipe is one that you’re going to want to keep handy. It’s delicious on its own for a snack, or pour almond milk over it and you have yourself a real treat! I also like throwing a handful in my oatmeal.

I actually made two batches of this–one with almonds and honey (for all of you non vegans 🙂 and one with agave, coconut, and peanuts. I loved the agave, coconut, and peanuts one!! So delicious! Ahhhh my mouth is watering thinking about it, so let’s get to it…….,.

Recipe is adapted from Cooking Classy.

Granola (no oil)

Yield: 8 cups approximately

Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 30 min. Total time: 40 min

4 c. Whole oats (don’t use quick oats)

2 c. Amaranth flakes

1 c. Slivered almonds or peanuts (I love peanuts)

1/4 c. Coconut, the wide kind (optional)

3/4 c. Packed light brown sugar

1/2 c. Agave or honey

1/4 c. Water

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1 c. Dried berries (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss together oats, amaranth flakes, coconut and sliced almonds, set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar, agave, water, cinnamon, and salt and bring mixture to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 min. whisking constantly and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda and whisk until foamy. Be careful here because the baking soda makes it foam up a lot.

Carefully pour mixture over oat mixture and toss to evenly coat. Spread mixture onto an even layer on a Splat mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 min until golden brown. I cooked it for 10 min intervals and then tossed it a bit to get even cooking. Remove from the oven, toss in dried fruit and allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container but make sure granola is completely cool first.

Enjoy!

Pita Pockets with Black Beans, Brown Rice and Sweet Potatoes

Looking for a quick lunch idea? Here is an easy one………

Pita Pockets with Black Beans, Brown Rice and Sweet Potatoes

(Inspired by my daughter, Natalie 🙂

Makes 3 or 4 Pitas

INGREDIENTS

2 c. choice of greens

1 sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes

1 cooked brown rice bowl (see picture below)

salsa

1 can black or pinto beans

favorite brand of pita pockets (I love Trader Joe’s whole wheat)

Directions:

Place a 1/4 of the greens and sweet potato in the pita. Add salsa, beans, brown rice and I like more salsa. I love it. Enjoy!