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Ok ok ok… I’m sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately.  I’ve been a little preoccupied with the usual stuff… Basically with life in general.  I can’t really remember what has happened in the last 10 days, but I’m sure there have been things… I hope there have been things anyway.  How lame would that be if I didn’t accomplish anything in the last 10 days??

Meh… it’s January so therefore it’s ok to not really accomplish much.  I’ve been working a lot, we’ve been trying to maintain a consistent workout schedule, we’ve been busy with friends and family, I have found a new obsession with Pinterest (I am so behind on what’s cool these days) and I’ve been very consumed by this whole “try to continue to eat ‘cleanly’ and not go out to eat hardly ever” thing.  There have been days that it’s been a challenge, but we have majorly cut back our eating out and it definitely shows in our bank account.  It’s amazing how much money you can save just from something so simple!

Oh… I know what I’ve been doing for the last few days… (I just remembered this) I’ve been addictively (did I make that word up?) watching Sons of Anarchy and this just in… Breaking Bad.  Good god… the things I have been missing in my life!  Well, I’ve always been a Sons of Anarchy fan but I started watching it at like the end of the second season so I decided to start from the beginning.  Brad and I only just started watching Breaking Bad on like Friday night (it’s now Tuesday) and we’ve watched the whole first season.  Which, hold on!  The first season is only 7 episodes so don’t get your undies in a bunch!  However, I am literally so obsessed and uncontrollably addicted that it’s all I think about.  A television show.  It’s pathetic.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me.  And I can’t wait to watch more tonight.

Ok… now that you are all fully aware of my television addictions and strange desires to watch shows about cooking meth and cancer and motorcycles and guns and high school science teachers and violence and …

Oh god.  I’m doing it again.  AH!

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Ok.  Moving on.

Let’s see.  We made these little burrito bowls like the day after we decided to stop doing CLEAN.  It definitely fits in the CLEAN program and it’s also SUPER easy so I have a feeling we will be making this many more times.  Oh!  It’s also pretty cheap too!  All you need is rice, 2 cans of beans and two avocados, a lime and cilantro!  I mean, I didn’t keep track of how much it cost, but I’m sure it’s under $15 and fed us for two lunches!  You do also need some seasoning, but I would hope everyone has garlic powder and cumin on hand.  We always have a bag of brown rice in the pantry too, so for us, it was even cheaper!

This would also be a perfect meal to use leftover rice for.  I know that whenever we make rice, for maybe stir fry or something like that, we always have a buttload leftover (wait, did I just write “buttload”?  Why yes, yes I did) and we usually end up throwing at least some of it away.  This is the perfect answer to that never ending problem!  Even if you have a little bit leftover, say like a cup’s worth, you can still pop open a can of beans and pour it on top and dollop some guac on there too and you’ll have a great lunch!  If you wanted to get really crazy, you could even wrap all of it up in a tortilla, but then it wouldn’t be considered a CLEAN recipe.  Whatever you choose, I think you’ll really enjoy this dish!

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Burrito Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked brown rice (this should make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinse
Garlic powder
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder (optional)
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of cilantro, roughly copped

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.  While the rice is cooking, make your guacamole.  Mash the two avocados in a bowl.  Poor in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Mix together.  When the rice is done cooking, poor some in a bowl and top with beans.  Sprinkle the garlic powder, cumin and chili powder over top, along with salt if desired.  Then plop a couple spoons of guacamole on top and go to town!

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This is the last of the “official vegan week” recipes.  Yea… like I said, we didn’t make it very far.  Actually, there’s a fourth recipe, but I have no photos so like I said in the previous post, I’ll just tell you it.

This tortilla soup is actually based on Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup, however, I cut out the chicken and the chicken broth to make it… Vegan!!  And if you ask me, it’s still pretty good!  I subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth, that’s pretty much the only difference between the recipes.

The original recipe is fantastic.  It’s pretty much the best chicken tortilla soup ever (I have to say McAlister’s is a pretty close second though!)  It has lots of beans and veggies and adding a little cornmeal at the end to thicken it is key.  Knowing how delicious this soup is, I was nervous about how it would turn out without 2 of the key ingredients… chicken and chicken broth.  To my surprise though, it was fantastic!  There wasn’t a whole lot of difference really.  As Brad put it “it tastes like the same soup only I got a bowl without any chicken in it”!  I’ll take that!!

As I was getting started cutting up the veggies, I noticed that I still had a couple of ears of corn leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market that past weekend.  So instead of using frozen corn like I usually do, I cut all the kernels off the ears and used them!  It gave the soup a whole new, fresh flavor that I really enjoyed!  I just cooked the corn in the soup pot, but I’m thinking that I could have Brad grill the corn next time to get a char on it… that would really add some good flavor!  Frozen corn does work really well, but if you have any leftover corn from the night before or just want to try fresh corn, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, I think this tortilla soup is a great vegan alternative to chicken tortilla soup.  It’s just as tasty and just as filling (even more so because I added some extra beans!)  While it’s not exactly the best meal for a 100 degree day, it’s still just as delicious as it would be if we were eating it on a winter day!  There’s a good chance I’ll start making this instead of chicken tortilla soup from now on!

Oh- real quick!  The other vegan recipe is a burrito that we made to take to the track with us!  This was when we were still on our vegan diet on Friday.  It was one of the best burritos I have had it was ridiculously easy!  They were just black beans, Spanish rice and guacamole wrapped in a tortilla!  That’s it!  I’ll include a recipe at the bottom of this post, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos.  But they are so worth sharing!  They are perfect for a picnic, day at the track, or just a really quick, easy dinner!  And if you use Wholly Guacamole like I did… they are even quicker and easier!

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup
Serves… a LOT.  Not sure how much… at least 8 servings though

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen corn)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 10 oz can of Rotel (original diced tomatoes with green chiles… there are 2 in the photo above but I only used 1 can)
32 oz vegetable broth
2-3 cups of water, depending on how thin you want the soup
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.  Add the corn and cook for about one minute.  Then add the onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook for another couple minutes.  Then add the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, stir to combine.  Add the tomato paste and mix in.  Then pour in the Rotel, vegetable broth, water and beans.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons maybe?) in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour into the soup and stir everything together.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add salt according to taste.  A couple minutes before serving, add the tortilla strips and stir gently.

Serve in bowls with guacamole or salsa on top.  Crispy tortilla chips go really well on top too!  Adds a nice crunch!

Bean, Rice and Guacamole Burritos
Makes 3 burritos

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of cooked Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that cooks in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Super easy!)
1 package of Wholly Guacamole of your choice (I used the guac with pico de gallo) or use homemade guacamole if you would like!
3 burrito size tortillas
Foil

Heat the first tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get nice and soft.  Spoon 1/3 of the beans in the middle.  Top with about 1/3 of the rice and 1/3 of the guacamole.  Fold one side over the filling and then tuck the sides in and roll over to close.  Wrap in foil (if taking it to go, but the foil also helps hold it together).  Side note: you can heat up the beans in the microwave before putting in the burritos.  I didn’t though because the burritos were going into a cooler for about 6 hours so we just ate them cold.  See!?  Couldn’t be easier!!


Two things.  1) I’ve never had a stuffed pepper before.  2) I’ve been on a big Mexican kick lately.  For awhile I was on a Thai food thing, but I think I missed Mexican food so much that now it’s all I want to eat again.

Did I mention that it’s awesome eating Mexican food all the time.  I just love it.

Remember my Mexican Lasagna?  Oh lordy… I’m still dreaming about that dish…  Anyway, I got the whole idea from A Couple Cooks which is a food blog written by a couple that lives here in Indy.  I had been doing some casual surfing on their website and found a few really good recipes.  One being the Mexican Lasagna, the other being these lovely stuffed peppers!

Now, like I said, I have never actually eaten a stuffed pepper.  My dad doesn’t eat spicy food so peppers were never really popular in our household growing up.  However, they’ve become pretty much a staple in Brad’s and my household and so I figured it was finally time to give them a try.  I know that typically they are made with meat, but when people describe them to me, it never sounds totally appetizing.  I’m not sure what it is, but a pepper stuffed full with meat just sounds… yuck.  So I was super excited when I realized the recipe that I found didn’t have meat!  I love a good meal that doesn’t have meat in it.  Sometimes it’s harder than you think to come up with a couple meatless meals a week that aren’t the same thing.

Alright.  These peppers are IN-CRED-I-BLE.  Ohhhh man.  We used 2 different kinds of peppers so there would be a variety, green peppers and poblano peppers.  We found that we liked the poblano peppers stuffed  better than the green peppers.  We alllllso grilled these suckers rather than bake them in the oven.  There was no way that I was going to turn the oven on, on the hottest day of the year.  Uhhhh no.  So we gave grilling a try.  The poblano peppers did much better on the grill than the green.  The green peppers just didn’t get cooked enough.  I’m sure in an oven they would have been better, but not so much on the grill.  We did put them on a grilling cookie sheet type thing as well.  Much less messy.  I would highly recommend doing that.

Either way, grill or oven, poblano or green… these are amazing.  They stuffing is so perfect and delicious and you can add as much spice as you want.  You could easily use leftover rice for these, but I had Brad cook some up earlier in the day.  I would recommend that as well, cooking the rice in advance, otherwise you’ll have to wait awhile for that to cook.  I might try using quinoa sometime too.  I feel like it would go well with this.  Other than cooking the rice, these are pretty quick to make.  And easy.  All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and stuff the peppers.  Uh yea.  Easy.

These make a fantastic Meatless Monday meal, or a meal for any night of the week.  With them being so easy and quick, they are a great weeknight meal.  And I am really proud of myself for coming up with the idea to grill them.  Anything we can do to not make the house hotter.  Good grief.

Meatless Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from the combination of this recipe and this recipe (both from A Couple Cooks)
Makes 8 halves of peppers, stuffed

2 green peppers, halved and insides removed
2 poblano peppers, halved and insides removed
1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 4 cups cooked)
1 1/2 – 2 cups salsa
1 15oz can of black beans
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1-2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
sprinkling of cayenne pepper, optional
About 1 cup of shredded cheese, divided

Cook the rice according to directions on package.

You can precook your peppers by broiling them for a few minutes after they’ve been halved.  Simply place them on a cookie sheet and broil.  Or stick them on the grill!  (I failed to do this step, which is why our green peppers were still very crispy.)

Combine the rice, salsa, beans, corn, green onions, chili powder and cumin in a bowl.  Mix together.  Add in about half of the shredded cheese and stir.

Once the peppers have been cooking for about 5-7 minutes, remove them from the heat and spoon the rice and bean mixture into them.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Place either in the oven or on the grill until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft.  This doesn’t take too long, especially if you precook your peppers.  To grill them, line a grill safe cookie sheet (we have a grill pan) with foil (this allows for less cleanup!).  Spray the foil with cooking spray so the peppers don’t stick.  Then just throw the whole baking sheet on the grill!


Welp.  Race Weekend is over.  OVER.  I feel confused sitting here on the couch NOT at the track.  I woke up this morning thinking about what we needed to take to the track, only to realize… oh wait, the race is over.  It’s a tragedy.  It is every year.

Rather than writing posts about food, I’ve been drinking too much of these and oh gosh…. these.  And thrown in between them both, was beer.  Needless to say, Brad and I will be taking part in some sort of detox this week.  No alcohol and we’re sticking to healthier food instead of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Cheetos and Doritos (hey, we only eat that stuff at the track).  Anyway… I’ve been busy with other things and therefore have been slacking.  But let’s be honest, do you really want to read something I wrote after a couple mojitos and a beer or two?  I think not.

Onward. . .

We made these burritos sometime last week, possibly for Meatless Monday but the whole beginning of the week is a blur due to my anxiousness for the weekend.  They are terribly easy to make and even more delicious than I expected.  I was totally guessing on making these too.  I didn’t have a recipe or any idea what quantities I should use for any of it.  I just went for it.  So just be aware that in the recipe I write down below, I’m guessing what I used.  Because, of course, I didn’t bother measuring anything.  Way to go me!

These burritos are awesome for Meatless Monday or just any day of the week.  They are definitely filling and if you add the right amount of seasoning, they have a little kick to them and it’s great for a night that you don’t feel like messing with cooking meat but still want something that fills you up..  I cheated and used prepackaged Spanish Rice (because it’s soooo much easier) but if you felt like getting crazy, you could try this recipe instead (but beware, it makes a ton).  I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that comes in the packet that you stick in the microwave.  It’s tasty and super quick, so if you’re in a hurry, I recommend using that.  This is absolutely a recipe we will be making again.  And again.  And probably again.

Black Bean and Spanish Rice Burritos
Makes 2-4 burritos depending on size of tortillas you use

1- 14.5oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of Spanish Rice
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder (obviously, use less if you don’t want it so spicy)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (skip if you don’t want it spicy)
Salt
2-4 flour tortillas, any size you want to use, small, medium or big!
1 tomato, diced
Lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, and/or whatever else for garnish

In a saucepan, heat black beans with cumin, chili powder, garlic and cayenne pepper.  Mix and add any salt if desired.  Cook rice according to directions on package.

Warm up your tortilla in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Spoon on some black beans, followed by the rice.  Drizzle on hot sauce if using (we like Cholula).  Sprinkle with lettuce, tomato and other toppings.  Roll up and eat!



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