Quick Curried Lentils. Vegan. Gluten Free.

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My apologies for being so delinquent with my blog.  Swimming ended last Saturday and I foolishly believed that time would be abundant.  Sadly, I’ve been mistaken.  More on that later.

I whipped this up for dinner last night and I used leftover black rice.  The lentils took me about 12 minutes to make.  Perfect, on-the-fly dinner idea.  I had Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils but canned lentils can also be used in a pinch.  You, of course, can use as much or as little spice as you like.  I have some really hot peppers in my garden and my husband and I love spicy food but I digress… some people don’t so you adjust as necessary.

This dish can be paired solo with Naan or over leftover rice.  I used black because the more colorful the food – the more nutritionally dense as a rule of thumb.  Okay so before I run back out… let me share this awesome recipe with you all.
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— Knead to Cook

Raw Cacao and Almond Butter Pudding. Vegan.

THE BEST Raw Cacao and Almond Butter Pudding. Vegan.

THE BEST Raw Cacao and Almond Butter Pudding. Vegan.

I may be biased and reallllllly craving chocolate but this is the BEST sweet treat I’ve eaten in a long time.  Seriously.  Think of a peanut butter cup made into a creamy ganache/pudding texture.  Insanity.  No lie. Seriously, vegan – carnivore —— everyone will love this.  Kid you not.  I made this in my Vitamix.  Plated it for my photograph and while doing that – my daughter ate the remaining.  Then she continued on to eat the staged version.  Get those cashews soaking now… really. Honestly.  Go!  :)
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— Knead to Cook

Lentil Tomato Sauce. Vegan. Gluten Free.

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Happy Monday friends!  After a long swimming-packed rest weekend – It was hard to get rolling this morning.  But it’s a Monday and I’m not big on excuses.  So the day started.  Running.  Swimming.  Tennis and then volunteering for me and my girls.  Pretty uneventful day except that our weather has gotten terribly hot here.  It was 80 degrees at 5 am.  Heatwave has arrived… much to my dismay.  I know, the snow will be here before we know it but geez this is the fringe of hell heat.

This recipe was created last week.  I’m always looking for extra ways to add protein to meals.  I was shocked when even my 78 year old very Italian father ate the pasta with the lentils!  He liked it.  #forthewin But I have to give credit where credit is due… my youngest volunteers at two senior centers during the week.  She picked up a monstrous zucchini at their market and I knew I had to make some zoodles with it… I’m mean really, what else could I do with a 5 lb zucchini she was so proud that she bought me?
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— Knead to Cook

The BEST Breakfast Oatmeal Bars. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars.  Vegan. Gluten Free.

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Wednesday turned out to be a bust.  I was unsure if I was going to run and we had thunderstorms from 1-7 am and with my sweet dog a bit uneasy during this 6 hour period laying on top of me… I decided to bag the day for working out and take a rest day.  Plus Thursday and Friday were going to have cooler temperatures  –HELLO lovely weather let’s do some running!  So I worked in the kitchen and literally threw these bars together and prayed that they turned out.  They did – big time!  I ate 2.5 of them.  I never do that but they are so dang good!  Then my husband came home and proceeded to text me (I was driving kids around) letting me know that he ate 2 bars too and couldn’t stop.   The topping is pretty versatile – I’ll make a list of some toppings that would work nicely.  These bars are kid/teen and adult approved.  Gluten and dairy free.  Refined sugar free.  Oh so addictive.  Next time I whip these up I’m going for vegan chocolate, cacao nibs and nuts!
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— Knead to Cook

Italian Portobello Mushroom Bowls. Vegan. GF.

Italian Portobello Mushrooms.

Italian Portobello Mushrooms.

Boy those weekends just seem to fly by… is it just me?  We hosted (we, meaning me and my co-presidents of our board) an awesome retirement party for our former summer swim coach that we just adore.  Great fun! We also have been trying to knock out some enormous tasks lately but hey it’s summer.  Shouldn’t it be all beach or pool days?  Ummm yeah.  No, it’s not.  I’m in this crazy mom-mode of driving every off-spring pretty much all over the world and just when I get home – the pick-ups resume.  I have one 16 year old with her permit and I have to admit, I cannot wait until she gets her license.  Okay let’s move on to food.  The best part if you ask me…
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— Knead to Cook

Beet Hummus. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Beet Hummus.  Vegan. Gluten Free.

Beet Hummus. Vegan. Gluten Free.

I bought some lovely candy cane beets at the farmer’s market over the 4th of July weekend.  I thought I would roast them.  Then as the rainy weekend progressed, I had the opportunity to pick up a friend’s farm co-op for her while she was on vacation. I thought it would be nice to make her some goodies with her veggies – as she was coming home from her vacation the next day.  Her crops had some really small red beets.  My mind started racing and hummus came to mind.  The candy cane and classic red beets made such a fun colored hummus.  I divided up it up and packaged some up for her and kept some for my family.  We use it on sandwiches, on salads and of course to dip chips or veggies in.  It was so good and well-received by my vacationing friends.
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— Knead to Cook

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce or Dip. Gluten Free.

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce or Dip. Gluten Free.

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce or Dip. Gluten Free.

Ever since my daughter has gone dairy-free, about a year now, she’s craved mac n cheese.  She’s never really been a big fan of it prior to but I’ve tried many recipes, created an equal amount of recipes until now.  She gave this one a big two thumbs up!  In fact my husband was also a huge fan – much to her chagrin.  I need to get on soaking more cashews to make another batch of this for her.

This recipe is a great start but I always encourage you to sample and adjust seasonings to achieve the perfect final product.  This is packed with flavor – trust me!  We aren’t afraid of spice in my house but proceed cautiously if you don’t like spicy foods and omit things that you have concerns about.  This sauce is perfectly creamy and quite heavenly.  It is the best vegan creamy “cheese” sauce I’ve ever made or tasted.  I hope you enjoy it.

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— Knead to Cook

Black Bean Corn Salad or Salsa. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Black Bean Corn Salad or Salsa.  Vegan.  Gluten Free.

Black Bean Corn Salad or Salsa. Vegan. Gluten Free.

This is the quintessential summer salad plus it gets better as the flavors meld together.  This vitamin and mineral packed dish that is perfect to take to your 4th of July BBQ, pool party or to make ahead and have for lunch or dinner.  I also love this on tacos straight up.  Seriously, I could eat this entire batch.  Truth.  This again, is super easy.  I love making it a day ahead of and put it in a fun covered glass jar (this is perfect for a BBQ to keep bugs at bay) or in a lovely serving bowl.  You can eat this as a side, main or as a salsa with chips.  Yum!
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— Knead to Cook

Breakfast chickpea scramble. Vegan. Gluten free.

Breakfast chickpea scramble.  Vegan.  Gluten free.

Breakfast chickpea scramble. Vegan. Gluten free.

It’s the end of June!  Wow…. crazy to think the 4th of July is creeping up on the calendar in a mere few days.

So I took this past Sunday off as a rest day after running a 50 mile week.  I slept in. It was lovely!  After a marathon of swim meets, planning events, studying and taking my food handling certification, driving to New Jersey endless times and life, in general, being crazy – I needed it.  When my husband got home from his ride he was craving something other than a smoothie.  So I went to my go-to favorite breakfast that is reminiscent of a classic favorite but it’s vegan – and protein-packed.  This recipe is so easy and a great go-to, post workout meal that refuels and restores.  I hope you give this one a try.
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— Knead to Cook