Cowgirl Beans Chili

I heard a while back, coworkers discuss making chili and how it would take all day in the crockpot to get just right. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the crockpot (especially for my refried beans) but … I also want to be able to create a fantastic comforting meal within an hour of getting home from work.

Done and done.

Cowgirl Beans Chili
Entree
6-7
 
You can have a steamy bowl of comforting chili ready in less than an hour! If you prep your veggies ahead of time- have the garlic, onion and peppers in one bowl and zucchini & mushrooms in another, you could have dinner ready in 40 minutes. Don't feel married to the ingredients maybe you don't have zucchini but have a sweet potato or aren't sure which peppers you like yet. Use what you have and experiment to find your taste with spices and peppers.
Ingredients
Veggies
  • spray oil
  • large chopped onion & 2 minced garlic cloves
  • peppers (2 bell, & 2 of a spicy: jalepeno/poblano/serrano OR chipotle in adobo), minced
  • 2 zucchinis cubed
  • 4-5 portobello mushrooms or package of baby bella mushrooms cubed
  • 2 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
Spices
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Tomato & Beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups black beans (canned rinsed or cooked dried)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Spray your deep pot with oil
  2. Over medium high heat saute your onions, garlic, peppers
  3. Add zucchini & mushrooms saute until browned.
  4. Add corn and spices.
  5. Turn up heat and add tomatoes, beans and water.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, let simmer for about 20 minutes (just enough time to pop your cornbread in the oven and spin your salad!)

 

 

 

2 Quick Fix: Sage Apple vegan Sausage with Gnocchi & Sausage Pretzel Rolls

I’m not usually a fan of faux meat products, but once in a while I crave the texture and flavor of a comfort food like chicken tenders or in this case, pan-fried sausage. Most of the time I love a good panko crusted veggie, fried tofu or crispy eggplant but I must say, Field Roast “sausage” is de-liscious!!
We tried the Smoked Apple Sage – “a savory combination of apples and sage anchored with yukon gold potatoes with a subtle hint of hickory smoke”. We pan-fried it in olive oil and it got super crispy and browned, reminiscent in texture to moms breakfast sausage. In fact, we both “mmm”ed repeatdly. When mixed in with the pillowy gnocchi and olive oil it tasted better than the real deal. Not to mention they are made with all natural (soy-free) ingredients, pack 26g of protein and only 10g of fat:

Filtered water,vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed safflower oil, nonsulphered dried apples,yukon gold potatoes, naturally flavored yeast extract,onion powder, barley malt,garlic, natural hickory smoke flavor with torula yeast, sea salt, spices and rubbed sage.

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2 Quick Fix: Field Roast vegan Sage Apple sausage with Gnocchi; Sausage Pretzel Rolls
entrée
Cuisine: American, Italian
2
 
2 Quick Fix Meals using Field Roast Vegan Sausages
Ingredients
Gnocchi & Sausage
  • Olive oil
  • Package Gnocchi
  • 2-4 links of Field Roast Sage Apple Sausages
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sage
Pretzel Sausage Rolls with Broccoli slaw
  • Olive oil
  • 2 links of Field Roast Sage Apple Sausages
  • 2 Pretzel rolls or buns
  • 1 package Broccoli slaw
  • Veganainse
  • Salt & Pepper, Garlic Salt
  • Spicy Mustard
Instructions
Gnocchi & Sausage
  1. Add few teaspoons olive oil to medium high heat pan
  2. Slice sausages into bite size chunks, add to pan and cook on both sides until browned
  3. Add package of gnocchi (you don't need to boil first) and more olive oil. Cook until browned. Season all with salt & pepper and more sage if desired.
Pretzel Sausage Rolls with Broccoli slaw
  1. Slaw: Pour Broccoli slaw in bowl, season liberally with salt & pepper, garlic salt, stir in ¼ cup Veganaise until desired flavor & consistency. Set aside. (Can be made 1-3 days in advance)
  2. Add few teaspoons olive oil to medium high heat pan
  3. Add sausages to pan and cook until browned
  4. Split pretzel rolls, lightly toast interior in pan
  5. Pile together, squirt with Spicy Mustard and enjoy

 

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We used Pumpkin Gnocchi this time, and sprinkled a bit of grated Brazil Nuts over top. The next day, we split some soft pretzel rolls and added some pan-fried sausage with a bit of broccoli slaw on top…equally YUM.

Seriously quick pix…they were devoured quickly!

 

We haven’t been this impressed with a store-bought product in a long time. If you’re a plant predator or just looking to cut down on your meat consumption a little, go buy some Field Roast sausages, you will be pleased! (Found in the frozen section next to vegan/vegetarian products like “burger” patties etc.)

How I Met Your Puppy

As Mac and Sadie approached 11.5 and 12 years old, we talked about getting another, young lab to help ease the transition of the loss of one or both of our sweet loves. But, when Mac suddenly and tragically passed in December of 2011, we grieved hard. We never foresaw the devastating state of our hearts as we wept with one another for our dog. Our sweet, always lovable polar bear, Mac-ee-doodle. 

After many tears and heartache (and about the time Sadie started invited herself to sleep on the couch), we knew we needed another dog to help ease the huge hole he left, especially for Sadie (or so we told each other). I emailed Lab Rescue ( http://lab-rescue.com/ ) and went through the process of extensive application, interview, references etc. while also looking and emailing about dogs on petfinder.com at local shelters. We thought we wanted one about 2/3 yrs old, not a puppy, that would be tio much work! We met a few but they weren’t the right fit for Sadie or us. (one young dog/puppy sent Sadie over the edge). Once our Lab Rescue application went through we started picking dogs on their site we wanted to meet. It was a rough 2 months for some reason (now we know) as dogs got adopted before we had a chance to meet them, our adoption coordinator wouldn’t get back to us…etc. etc. Meanwhile, AJ’s over two week Africa missions trip loomed (all members of the family, including other dogs must be present to meet the adoptable dog). I was obsessivly checking the website daily, getting my hopes up and again and again the dogs didn’t work out. Our “last ditch” was to go to the event at the Fairfax Petco a week before AJ was to leave…when a blizzard hit and they canceled.

A week later, I was at the barn with my best friend Christina and a mutual friend mentioned her next door neighbor was fostering some puppies…”puppies?!” “what kind?”…”LABS?!”….”what color?!” “YELLOW?!” I didn’t get my hopes up this time, but when I got home, I looked at them online (adorable) and sent an email application and FB note to the girl fostering them. Meanwhile, AJ is 2 days into his Africa trip with no idea I’m still on the hunt. One morning, almost 2 weeks later, I’m walking Sadie, and I hear God telling me to give it UP. So I pray that when it’s the right time for a dog, the perfect dog for us, AJ, me and Sadiekins could He please hand deliver it in our lap. I won’t look on the website anymore, I want our adoption coordinator to just call and it be the one. Amen.
The very next morning, I get a phone call from the friend of the neighbor saying, do you want to come see the 2 puppies they’re still here and she said your application was good. “Yes. I’ll come after work.” Sheepish smile at God…hmmm….

  So Christina and I went to visit them, Sadie in tow and as soon as I met them I knew I liked the somewhat calmer (for a 3 month old!) cuter (in my eyes:) pup. We petted and played with them a bit and within 10 minutes, Christina had negotiated for me to take the dog THAT day….there was a few quick phone calls and all we had to do was wait for the adoption lady to bring by a contract….so we went in the yard and played, introduced Sadie (she was fine, mostly ignored him, and he was cautious about her and Christina’s big shepherd, Anna). Within 45 min. I had a dog.
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. I stopped at Petco, picked up food and a toy, called my neighbor to drop off a crate they had offered a month before and then looked over at the sweetest little face curled up on the passenger seat and said “Thank you God!….Oh my gosh a puppy?! What do I do with a puppy?!”
Five days later I had settled into the waking myself up every 4 hours for teetee breaks, coming home from work 2x a day for walks, establishing house and yard rules and enjoying the snuggles of quite possibly the cutest Huckleberry God had ever created. Enter husband with no idea…

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And thus began our journey into lab puppy rearing.

Review: The Sconage Bakery Granola

Some people are as particular about their granola as others are about tomato sauce. Some buy only one brand while others have recipes passed down through generations with specific ingredients and methods. I don’t typically buy granola because of the high sugar and heavy processing leaving an unhealthy product with no redeeming values (high in oil, refined sugar, refined grains etc.) .

However, when The Sconeage Bakery sent me a sample box with full sized packages of their Fresh Roasted Granola products I was happy to taste! They included a Blueberry Cranberry Granola bar, a Chocolate Granola Bar and a 1 lb. container of their Fresh Roasted Blueberry Cranberry Granola.

The ingredients were plant based and minimal, just what was needed for the texture and taste of each product. These indeed tasted like fresh baked products, things I would have been pleased to have come out of my oven for a special treat.

I was upset when I found the box on my front stoop (a day or two after it had arrived) because the box was bashed in and it had been very hot outside. Although the bars were a little smooshed, the wrapping wasn’t broken and no ants had penetrated the barrier. Whew! The chocolate was a little melty but that ended up being a good thing since it tasted like a giant delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookie…Oh my goodness Yum. AJ and I had been outside working in the yard, mowing, trimming, planting when I had found the box and as soon as I assessed the damage I broke open the granola for a snack break.

 

It was super crunchy and sweet, the caramelized pieces tasting just slightly shy of burned, like caramel popcorn stuck to the pan. I loved the dried blueberries and cranberries mixed among the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, coconut, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. The only other ingredients were canola oil, vanilla, salt and brown sugar. This was AJ’s favorite of all three products. I’m sure this would be a delicious addition to coconut yogurt, fronana or on some fresh or grilled fruit, but we ate the majority of it, over a few days, by the handful.

 

 

 



My favorite was the Chocolate Granola bar, in all it’s giant gooey chocolate chip cookie glory. The package stated there were 2 bars in each Granola bar bag even though it was formed into one awesome envelope sized block of goodness. The blueberry cranberry bar was also yummy, but I’m primarily a chocolate girl. The ingredients in the bars were the same except the Sconeage Bakery swapped brown sugar for brown rice syrup to give them their chewy, soft consistency.Thank you so much to the Sconeage Bakeryfor sending me your tasty handcrafted treats to review!If you’re looking for a “somebody else did the dishes” super tasty treat with some redeeming qualities to boot, I highly recommend ordering some of their granola to try. www.sconeagebakery.com. They have many other enticing flavors like pumpkin, apple cinnamon and even make no sugar/unsweetened varieties, nut free varieties and 100% organic granola.

Quick Fix: Miso Lime Marinated Tofu Sandwich with Broiled Tomatoes & Avocado

Sometimes you just want a big ‘ole sandwich to sink your teeth into. I also wanted something flavorful enough to stand up to my delicious heirloom tomatoes. We loved the bite of the crisp tofu with the juicy warm tomato and creamy avocado on a toasted kalamata olive roll. This would be great on toasted multigrain bread too!

I was inspired when I saw this picture on Happy Healthy Life.

Miso Lime Marinated Tofu Sandwich with Broiled Tomatoes & Avocado
2
 
Ingredients
  • package of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 lime
  • 1½ tbl. miso paste
  • cracked black pepper
  • garlic salt
  • Heirloom tomato
  • Daiya brand mozzarella "cheese" (optional)
  • 2 whole grain rolls
  • ½ an avocado
  • spinach
Instructions
  1. Cut tofu block in half. Press tofu or use a kitchen towel to squeeze them dry.
  2. Whisk juice from lime, miso paste and few turns of cracked black pepper. Smear tofu with paste, heat a pan over high heat and spray with oil.
  3. Sear tofu on each side; (about 1-2 minutes per side) don't move it until it's browned, then flip.
  4. Sprinkle sliced tomato with garlic salt and then broil in oven with cheese (optional).
  5. Toast your rolls.
  6. Assemble with avocado slices and spinach.

 

Thank you so much Kathy at Happy Healthy Life for the inspiration! Yum! Check our her original recipe here.

 

Quick Fix: Fried Egg Polenta Cakes with Spicy Okra & Tomatoes

This came out of a desire to eat some items in the fridge that needed to be used. Honestly, I had never had okra before and was inspired to grab some at the Farmer’s Market to try. According to online foodies, it needed to be thinly sliced right before you cook it and pan-fried super hot to sear in the moisture. The polenta I sometimes buy in the prepared rolls at Trader Joe’s or Wegmans, just slice and brown on each side. We had dinner in under 30 min. and no food went to waste, perfect.

 

 

Quick Fix: Fried Egg Polenta Cakes with Spicy Okra & Tomatoes
entrée
2-4
 
Polenta is made from cornmeal and can be bought in tubes in the produce at Wegman's or in the Italian section of most grocery stores.
Ingredients
  • half a large onion, diced
  • 1-2 hot peppers of choice (or sub mild)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Okra, about ½ lb. rinsed and dried in kitchen towel
  • Tomatoes, diced about 1½-2 cups
  • Tomato paste/Ketchup
  • 1 cup veggie broth (or water mixed with veggie bouillon)
  • Polenta
  • Eggs
Instructions
  1. Saute onion, peppers and garlic in a large saute pan with a little olive oil.
  2. Heat a separate saute pan over high heat, add vegetable oil. Slice okra on bias to get longer slices. When oil begins smoking, add sliced Okra in single layer. Let sear, then stir to flip. Total of only 3-4 minutes cooking time.
  3. Add to sautéed veggies, add tomatoes, few tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup and broth as well. Salt & lots of cracked black Pepper.
  4. Meanwhile slice polenta, spray okra pan with oil and begin browning one side over medium high heat. About 3 min. check for browness/crispness and flip.
  5. Taste Okra mixture, adjust seasonings/more tomato paste, add hot pepper flakes if desired.
  6. Cook eggs over easy when all is done and seasoned to liking. (Crack in medium high heat pan sprayed with oil, let cook until whites almost set and bottom browned, season heavily S&P, flip, turn off heat.
  7. Plate browned Polenta, Okra & Tomatoes and egg on top.

Dinosaur Kale Salad

Dino-what? As perplexed as the checkout people at the grocery store were, the two names I knew to look it up under were Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale and they couldn’t find it. Oye…few minutes later a checker sprinted back “Tuscan Kale”. Alrighty then, this yummy dark leafy green has 3 names. It’s also one of my favorite new things to eat in the following salad. Thanks to MommaPea over at Peas & Thank You for turning me onto this fabulous idea!

Dinosaur Kale Salad
appetizer
2-4
 
Discovered and loved this kale from Peas & Thank You. A simple citrus Dijon dressing on this slightly bitter chewy green is delish. I eat the entire bowl in two sittings. Yum.
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of Dinosaur/Lacinato/Tuscan Kale
  • 3-4 Tbl Dijon mustard
  • 1 lime (or lemon)
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • White wine vinegar (optional)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Nuts/Seeds (Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, or Pine nuts)
Instructions
  1. Wash the kale and tear off the leaves leaving any very thick stems behind (save for smoothies or juicing). Briefly dry with kitchen towel or spin in salad spinner.
  2. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, add juice from citrus, Dijon, drizzle of Olive Oil, Squeeze of Honey, S&P. Splash of vinegar & Nutritional Yeast if using.
  3. Add Kale leaves, use hands to mix well. Taste, adjust dressing ingredients as needed (if too bitter add more honey etc.)
  4. Sprinkle with seeds or nuts. Yum!

Check out Peas & Thank You’s version here.

Everyday Chocolate Cookie Pie

A cross between a raw cookie and a decadent graham cracker crust pie, this chocolaty dessert is easy enough for any night of the week.

Everyday Chocolate Cookie Pie
8-12
 
I make this using almost exclusivity raw ingredients, especially raw nuts which give it it's creamy and rich consistency. As it is a rich desert, I have found a small square is decadent and filling enough for adult and child alike.
Ingredients
Crust Layer
  • 1½ cup nuts (almonds/walnuts)
  • ½ unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup dates (high quality medjool) or soaked store brand
  • dash of salt
Chocolate Layer
  • 1⅔ cup dates
  • ½-2/3 cup cashews
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2 tbl. coco powder
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
Crust
  1. Line a mini cake pan or round bowl with parchment or plastic wrap, enough to come up and over the completed pie.
  2. In the food processor or high speed blender, blend the nuts, coconut, salt and ¼ cup dates. You want a crumbly, sand like consistency; the date will act as the binder. You should be able to squish it into a ball and it holds it's shape. Add dates one at a time until the right consistency.
  3. When ready, press into the bottom of your pan or bowl.
Chocolate Layer
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth and you're able to make into a test ball. Taste tester : ) Adjust more cocoa powder etc. if needed. (Add chocolate chips at the very end-if using).
  2. Press evenly onto the top your crust layer. Lay the extra plastic wrap over the top and smooth it.
  3. Refrigerate to help firm.
  4. Thirty minutes to one hour before ready to serve, use plastic wrap to lift out of pan and peel off.

 

CowgirlBeans Power Shake

I’ve had clients and friends use this ‘recipe’ for their whole families; as a quick breakfast or yummy lunch on the run, for kids before games, active teens, sick elderly relatives etc.  This is just a variation of our favorite, beneficial ingredients. You can read more about why I like this protein powder here.

CowgirlBeans Power Shake
Entree, Snack
1
 
This is an awesome milk shake for those looking to gain weight, supplement nutrition or as a meal replacement. Also great for kids and teens.
Ingredients
  • Handful Spinach
  • 2 tbl. flax seeds
  • ¼ cup Oats
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbl. Almond Butter
  • 1-2 frozen Bananas
  • 2-4 cups Almond Milk
Instructions
  1. Blend until thick and creamy. You may need to adjust by adding more Almond milk or frozen bananas.

Sunwarrior Protein

Quick Fix: Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Cashew Sour Cream & (Shetland) Tortillas

This is a great quick supper. I was craving Chipotle after a late Friday work day but decided to whip this up quickly instead. I had recently made the Salsa Verde Enchiladas with cashew sour cream so had black beans and sour cream on hand. I just made some mini Cowgirlbeans tortillas to serve on the side and my craving was quickly quelled.

Quick Fix: Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Cashew Sour Cream & Tortilla
entrée
 
This is a great leftovers meal if you already have the tortillas & cashew sour cream made. Otherwise make the tortillas and whip up some cashew sour cream in under 45 minutes.
Ingredients
  • Romain lettuce
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado, Diced
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Salsa (Trader Joe's Spicy Garlic Chipotle)
  • Tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make dough for tortillas
  2. Let rest while prep salad greens & make Cashew cream (20 min.)
  3. Cut dough into sections
  4. Get out skillet and preheat, slightly roll out dough into fat mini tortillas
  5. Cook dough (or spray already prepared ones with olive oil and reheat on skillet)
  6. Heat up beans
  7. Plate salad, beans, avocado, sour cream and salsa. Serve with Shetland-tortillas.