Warm Buckwheat, Chickpea and Roasted Veggie Salad

16 Apr

It’s still cold outside, so roasting vegetables is my solution for warmth! Not only does roasting enhance the flavors of vegetables, it does a fine job of heating the kitchen!

Warm Buckwheat, Chickpea and Veggie Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chop up a big bowlful of veggies, toss in some chickpeas, and finish off your meal with hearty buckwheat. This recipe is quick to prepare, and lets you go about your business while it cooks! This is also a great way to use up any leftover vegetables: carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, squash and green beans would all work well in this. My kind of weeknight dinner.

Warm Buckwheat, Chickpea and Roasted Veggie Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 large onion (or 2 small), chopped in big chunks
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stems included
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika
  • 1 C uncooked buckwheat
  • 2.5 C water

Preheat oven to 375. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM; set aside.

Prepare vegetables. Toss in a bowl with chickpeas and olive oil. Spread onto the rimmed sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika – a lot is ok! Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a small covered pot. Stir in buckwheat and let boil 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let steam 30 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large serving bowl. Stir in the cooked buckwheat. Serve warm and enjoy! If you have leftovers, heat up and serve with a runny fried egg atop – a personal favorite.

Taco Tuesday!

15 Apr

Happy Tuesday everyone. Well, *cold* Tuesday for us in the Midwest…it SNOWED last night! Is it April, or November again?! Regardless, tacos are a great way to brighten up any day, and spicy vegan tacos are a healthy way to do so at the same time! You’ll probably even have most of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry, so set up a toppings station, cook up this bean-filled vegetable filling and enjoy yourself a Taco Tuesday.

Taco Tuesday! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So colorful!

Two-Bean Spicy Vegan Tacos

Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery (or one onion), diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds mostly removed, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tbsp hot yellow pepper paste, such as this one
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To assemble:

  • 8-12 corn tortilla shells
  • plain nonfat Greek yogurt (non-dairy if vegan)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 lime, quartered

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Cook diced celery and bell pepper for five minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno and beans and cook another 5-7 minutes. Stir in the hot pepper paste (adjust amount to accommodate your spice preferences – the recipe as it is results in a very spicy filling), salt and pepper and allow to cook for another 5 minutes, making sure no liquid remains.

While all this cooks, prepare the toppings: set out the tortilla shells and Greek yogurt, cut the tomatoes and lime.

To assemble: Spoon filling into tortilla shells (2-3 per person). Squirt lime juice onto the filling, place a few tomatoes on top and a dollop of yogurt. Enjoy with a nice cold beer – Chris got me admit that I now like Dos Equis, but he admitted that he loved these tacos, so I’d say we’re even.

Taco Tuesday! | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies

14 Apr

This past Saturday was a busy one for me! First, I went to my friend Jamie’s house to make these cookies with her and her kids…a fun, messy project with a delicious end result! We even played “Just Dance” (my first time) and I wowed the kids with my dancing ability and following skills. Practice makes perfect :)

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Eli, Noah and Brooklyn, happy with the cookies they made :)

Then, my boyfriend and I attended a fundraiser gala for the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, along with some other colleagues from my work.  Of course, Chris and I got all dressed up…good to know that we clean up well :)

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Don’t we look nice?

We also got to meet celebrity chef Susie Jimenez, who’s been on Food Network, runs a restaurant in Houston, and is sweet as can be. She prepared for us an amazing meal (with to-die-for desserts) that night – the vegetarian dish featured TURNIPS! A vegetable I never thought I’d enjoy eating, but it was so good!

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies | xtinalulvspink.wordpress.com

Me with Chef Susie Jimenez!

Anyway, back to the cookies! These chocolate nests are creamy, moist and wonderfully sweet, topped with candy-coated chocolate Easter eggs…perfect for the upcoming holiday. We had fun pressing the eggs into the fresh-from-the-oven cookies, and devouring them while the chocolate inside was still gooey from the cookies’ warmth. A fantastic, easy treat for the whole family! Thanks to Jamie for letting me put her kids to work to make these.

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies

Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cookies, adapted from Family Fresh Cooking

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 2/3 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C candy-coated chocolate Easter eggs (I used the Cadbury’s kind)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two cookie sheets with PAM, set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar – we used good ‘ole elbow grease, but a mixer would do the job quickly. Crack in one egg, mix in completely. Add the second egg and vanilla and cream together until all is incorporated.

Working in stages, mix in some of the flour mixture. Continue to add the flour to the sugar-butter mixture until all is incorporated. The resulting dough will be sticky and very chocolatey.

Using tablespoons, scoop dough into your hands and roll into a 1″ sized ball. Place on prepared cookie sheet, and use your thumb to create an indent, where the chocolate eggs will be pressed after baking.

Continue doing this with the dough until all is used up. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until you see “crinkles” forming on the cookies.

Immediately after removing from the oven, press 2-4 chocolate eggs into the indents on the cookies. You’ll need to work fast, before they start to cool and set. Allow cookies to cool on their pans for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack, using a flat spatula. Cool another 10 minutes before enjoying your creation!

What will you be making for Easter this year?

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes

11 Apr

Cooking doesn’t always have to be intricate, shouldn’t always require fancy or foreign ingredients, or require hours slaving over a hot stove. But it SHOULD always produce a delicious result. This recipe was inspired by a lack of time, but a big desire for flavor and health.

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Nutrient-packed sweet potatoes, baked in the oven, topped with a load of southwestern-flavored sauteed vegetables was a meal that truly delivered. I was full, satisfied, and my mouth was just slightly on fire…exactly how I like it. What’s more, this recipe can easily be adapted to your tastes, and stock of vegetables. Throw in tomatoes if that’s your fancy, chop up a zucchini if you have one laying around, or even toss in some diced jalapenos to up the spice ante if you like. Whatever you do, enjoy your next dinner with this healthy, vegan meal. Besides, you can’t go wrong with a recipe that uses salsa AND wine!

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 3 Medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 C peas (or corn) – thawed if using frozen
  • 1 C black  beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 C spicy salsa
  • 1/4 C red wine, white wine or vegetable broth
  • shredded cheese, cilantro, Greek yogurt, more salsa…whatever you want to top these with!

Preheat oven to 375. Grab a lined cookie sheet and set that aside.

Per some genius instructions I found on The Kitchn: Rip off four squares of foil – one for each potato. Stab each potato with a fork, several times. Pour a bit of vegetable oil into your hand, and rub the potato all over. Repeat for each potato. Wrap tightly in foil, and place on the cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes (the bigger they are, the longer they need – stick a fork in them to check for doneness). Once done, remove and allow to cool, while still wrapped in the foil.

When the potatoes have about 10 minutes left in the oven, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes, until fragrant.

Add the bell peppers and peas (or corn), and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip: if using peas, then choose yellow or red peppers. If corn, then choose red or green. This will give you a wonderfully colorful finished product!

Now stir in the black beans and salsa. Cook another 3-5 minutes, to allow everything to be flavored by the salsa. Tip: don’t add any salt, as the salsa will have enough in it.

Now, pour in a glug of wine or broth – I didn’t actually measure, just use enough to deglaze the pan. Cook another minute, and turn off the heat.

While the vegetables are finishing, open up the foiled potatoes. Transfer potatoes to dinner plates and slice open, lengthwise, down the middle. Spread the potato open to allow for filling with vegetables. Spoon vegetable mixture on top, and garnish with your choice of toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, raw onion, Greek yogurt or sour cream or even more salsa (I sprinkled on some Mexican shredded cheese to combat the spice element).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

And now…some GPOY shots of this meal:

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Loaded Southwest Baked Sweet Potatoes | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas, with Spicy Cheesy Sweet Potato Coins

2 Apr

If you visit my blog often enough, you’ll notice that most of my recipes are not original creations. They’re usually inspired by another recipe I see online, adapted from other bloggers’ posts, or taken straight out of cookbooks. Sometimes, they’re even inspired by something I’ve made previously, but with a twist. Today, you get TWO recipes! I had some produce to use up, so behold my tasty meal of sweet potato coins, loaded with spices and cheese, and sauteed asparagus and peas, sweetened with honey and coconut oil. Check out last week’s post for another asparagus recipe!

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas, with Spicy Cheesy Sweet Potato Coins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Enjoy these dishes – make them as-is, or to suit your own tastes! I bet cheddar would be marvelous on the sweet potatoes. And maple syrup might add a different element to the sauteed veggies. Whatever your preference, enjoy!

Note: I’d suggest making the sweet potatoes first, as they require more time than the asparagus & pea dish.

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas, with Spicy Cheesy Sweet Potato Coins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Spicy Cheesy Sweet Potato Coins

Serves 4

  • 2 large, long sweet potatoes
  • chili powder and paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz provolone cheese, cut into 1″ long slices
  • dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray liberally with olive oil PAM.

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4″ thick coins. Place on foil and spray the tops of the potatoes with more PAM. Sprinkle on chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. I didn’t measure this – just sprinkle enough so the orange potatoes are covered in red spices.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, flipping the coins after 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to its lowest setting. Place sliced provolone on top of each coin and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve warm as an appetizer, snack, or beside the dish below.

While those bake, get started on the asparagus and peas!

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas, adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, cut into 1.5″ slices
  • 1 C frozen peas, thawed
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tsp honey

In a skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent.

Add in the asparagus with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir, and saute for another 5 minutes on medium-high heat.

Add the peas and honey, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, to make sure everything is warmed through.

Serve warm with sweet potato coins.

Sauteed Asparagus and Peas, with Spicy Cheesy Sweet Potato Coins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com


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