Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Black Bean and Beer Chili.

So this was suppose to be "the" chili for us since we love just about everything in this recipe: ancho chilies... portobello shrooms... black beans... smoked paprika... and on and on - everything but the beer (we're not beer drinking people). SO, I couldn't wait to cook it up after I'd seen it on the Rachael Ray Show. I did it up just right - everything but the beer... and it was less then stellar. I think I built it up in my mind way too much. Don't get me wrong - it was good - just not amazing and for sure not going into my rotation. Maybe it was all in the missing beer.

And I'm sad to say all that... since it's been a looooong time since a RR recipe disappointed me, remember the Ratatouille? I'm putting it up here just so ya'll do know I have bombs when I cook.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

3 Layer Quesadilla

The kids loooooved this, totally going into the rotation!

vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup prepared chunky salsa
garnish: avocado & tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Coat a 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

Add the beans, 1/4 cup broth, garlic, oregano, and cayenne to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth but thick. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Put in the zucchini and corn and saute for 3 mintues. Add the cumin and cilantro and saute for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Place one tortilla in the prepared pie plate. Spread about one-third of the bean mixture over the torgilla. Using a slotted spoon, add one-third of the vegetable mixture on top of the beans. Add one-third of the salsa over the vegetables and top with another tortilla. Make two more layers in the same fashion, to make a total of three layers.

Baked uncovered for about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges, garnish with avocado & tomatoes then serve. 

page 137

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Almond-Quinoa Muffins

I originally wasn't going to post them because they were the biggest bomb when I followed the original recipe. I have never used the spice, cardamom, and should have known to omit it when I smelled it for the first time. To me, it smells like road trips as a family growing up because my Dad was always eating black licorice. And while I love black licorice... I do not like it in my muffins! I made them at night so Ava could put them in her lunch the next day. After I made them... I was repulsed...and I gave it to Shayne - my other taste tester. While he was not grossed out, he didn't think they should be a repeat offender. So, maybe Ava would like them. Not so. When I asked her if she liked her muffins, she gave me the same face I had when I first ate them.

Not wanting to give up on them all together, because they had great and healthy bones - I omitted the cardamom and doubled the cinnamon... pure yumminess!

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup applesauce {or oil}
1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour {or all-purpose flour}
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour {i ground the almonds in my blender}
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
{1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom - or if you like licorice muffins, be my guest}1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots or currants {I haven't tried it with these yet}

Preheat the oven to 350*F and lightly grease a non-stick 12-cup muffin tin. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the soy milk and ground flaxseed. Allow to sit for 1 minute, then whisk in oil, agave nectar and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just incorporated. Gently fold in the cooked quinoa and the apricots and mix until only the large lumps are gone.

Pour into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin tin comes out clean.

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
& Terry Hope Romero
page 227-8

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Italian Fusilli with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts.

This stuff is goooood. Light and fresh - but fills you up as a pasta dish should. And don't even get me started on sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke combo... yum.

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/2 cup white grape juice
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 (10-ounce) package fusilli pasta, whole wheat {I used a veggie pasta combo that I got at Costco}

Cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a small bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain and slice tomatoes into thin strips. Set aside.

Heat the broth over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, grape juice, salt, and black pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and basil.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain. Toss the pasta with the artichoke mixture. Serve.

page 106

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quinoa with Navy Beans and Almonds.

I'm a big fan of Dr. Neal Barnard. His book Reversing Diabetes totally gave me the last little push I need to get my family converted over to a plant-based diet. I've gone through a lot of his recipes from that book... and was totally stoked to see he had a new cookbook, the get healthy, go vegan cookbook, coming out. I got on the waiting list at the library (all of 1 person was ahead of me) and waited.

This is my first try from it, and it was yummy, simple and fresh. I made it that night because I had all the ingredients on hand. I can't wait to try more...
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (15-ounce) can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rinsed quinoa, bring to a boil again, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Add the lemon juice, beans, and cooked quinoa. Season with salt and black pepper and mix well. Garnish with the almonds and parsley, serve.

{{This is for you Lady... Makes 4 servings, 1/4 of the recipe has 50.9 grams of carbs. {It was in the book, I didn't calculate that one out.)}}

the get healthy, go vegan cookbook - page 109

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beanballs with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy & Mashed Potatoes.

I've morphed another one of our meat loving recipes into one we can now eat. And lemme tell ya, yum. I think I say yum for every recipe on here, I guess that's the point though. I need to pull out the thesaurus, change it up a little. Anyhow... try these... and if you want the meat try these... Mini Meatloaves with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy. It looks lengthy and forever long to make, but it's well worth it. And it comes together fast. When I make the beanballs, I usually double or triple the recipe, bake and freeze them. They're great to have on hand for spaghetti and subs.

Mashed Potatoes
1-2 red potatoes per person, cut in chunks
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoon vegan butter

Put potatoes into a pot and cover with water - and then some, add the garlic cloves and bring to boil. Once potatoes are tender, drain water, and mash potatoes - adding vegan butter. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


1 (20-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons steak sauce or tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for frying or baking
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced finely
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Mash the kidney beans in a mixing bowl until no whole beans are left. You don't want them to be completely smooth, you should still be able to recognize that they are kidney beans. Add the soy sauce, steak sauce/tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, wheat gluten, and herbs, and use a fork to mix everything together. Use your hands to kneed the mixture for about a minute, until everything is really well combined and firm.

Roll the bean mixture into walnut-size balls (I use a cookie scoop so they're all uniform). But don't make them too big; smaller makes for the best texture.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil {i spray}. Place the balls on the sheet and then drizzle them with a little more oil, to coat {i spray a liberal coat}. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven.

Tomato-Balsamic Gravy
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil spray 
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Toss the grape tomatoes and onion slices onto a baking sheet along with a spray of EVOO spray, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the tray of veggies in and roast until the onions are caramelized and the tomatoes have burst open, about 15 minutes.

While the tomatoes and onion are roasting away, get the roux started: Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the balsamic and broth to the pan, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened, then remove it from the heat and reserve.

Add the roasted tomatoes and onion to the sauce and break up the veggies with a potato masher (I usually just pulse it in the blender, Shayne and the kids don't like chunks). Serve a  side of mashed potatoes and a handful of beanballs per person with a hearty ladle of the tomato balsamic gravy.

A merge of Rachael Ray, Veganomicon; Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Avocado Enchiladas.

I found this recipe here, and am debating if I'll ever make it again. Don't get me wrong - it was good. Most things with avocados are... but - I dunno. So I'm not gonna copy and paste it all out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pasta Della California.

The kids loved this... they love broccoli. Too bad for Shayne who just thought it was just "eh." Because if the kids like it, like devour it like it... it's gonna be made again!

1/2 pound thin spaghetti
3 cups sliced broccoli (tops cup into small florets, stalks sliced thinly)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white grape juice
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup loosely packed arugula leaves
2 avocados; peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1-inch chunks

Bring a large pot of water to boil and prep all your ingredients while the water boils, because this dish comes together in no time. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, usually about 10 minutes. In the last minute of cooking you will be adding the broccoli, so keep that in mind.

Meanwhile, preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of of water, garlic, lime zest, and red pepper flakes, and gently heat, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Pour in the white grape juice and raise the heat to bring to a boil, to reduce the white grape juice, about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and bring again to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the arugula.

By this point the pasta should be almost done, so add the broccoli to the boiling pasta and cook for 1 more minute. Drain all into a colander.

When the arugula is wilted, add the broccoli and pasta to the pan and use a pasta spoon to toss it around, making sure to get everything coated in garlic. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the avocado and turn off the heat. Gently toss the pasta for another minute to incorporate the avocado without smushing it, just until it is warmed through.

Serve with generous grinds of black pepper. There is usually a lot of garlic left in the pan, so be sure to spoon that over your bowls of pasta.

adapted from Veganomicon
by: Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
page 192-193
My changes: omited 2 tablespoons olive oil, subbed grape juice for white wine, and I only used a cup of spicy arugula instead of the 4 cups they had (way too spicy for us)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Shayne and I love salsa. The kids love it too, especially Coco. It's probably been the hardest thing about our diet to keep. Not because of the actual salsa, because that's straight up healthy. It's those chips. The multigrain ones are our favorite... but with the oils and salt - they're still not entirely good for us. But, we've all got our Everest's, right!? {any Friends fans out there? Joey's "Thanksgiving Pants" where eating a whole turkey is his "Everest"....} Let ours be chips and salsa.

I've been on the hunt to find the best salsa recipe for quite sometime. We actually like the salsa from Chili's of all places. So I use to make a copycat version of that all the time. Until Carrie told me she had the best salsa from her sister-in-law Joleen. Well, after begging her for it... because it wasn't ever really written down. That is until now. John (Carrie's husband, and Joleen's brother) almost didn't want to give it to me because he knew I'd ruin it with cumin. I love cumin. It's seriously in the genes. That and cilantro, my mom and I both adore. Anyhow... if you're not a fan - obviously omit it and make John happy. And I changed it up even more from them by using fire roasted tomatoes. Shayne and I love the roastedness. I think I've found our new favorite salsa... the next step is eventually finding one without using cans, all fresh. Until then, I'll thouroughly enjoy this one...

2 - 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bundle green onions
1 jalapeno pepper
1/3 bunch fresh cilantro
1 - 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin

Pulse all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Robyn's Granola.

This is a GreenSmoothieGirl one, you can see her video of it here. And, we're all in love here. This is Ava's favorite thing to take for lunch {almond milk in the soup container, peaches and granola in ziplocks... and she makes it at the table herself.} Shayne and the rest of us eat it as a snack. So yummy. Plus, when you make it your house will smell amazing. Bottle that up and put it in a candle.

8 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw wheat germ
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Combine all in a big 'ole bowl (yes, that's a technical term). I always like to pulse the nuts in a food processor. Not into nut dust, but broken up since the kids aren't fans of big 'ole chunks of nuts (there's that technical term again). The nuts are SO yummy after they're roasted a bit... so keep 'em a little chunky.

1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup (or molasses)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut oil (cold pressed, unrefined)
1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine all in a pot and heat on stove until barely melted. Add to oat mixture and stir til well combined. Lay out on baking sheets, with a lip, or in a big baking roasting pan. Bake at 250* for 45-90 minutes until dry, stirring well every 20 minutes.

Yum! I love it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and peaches.

{{p.s. - I totally took that picture up top, and I think I actually may have gotten the hang of photographing my food. Na, probably just really good lighting.}}

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons.

These babies are from my new favorite raw website, KristensRaw. When I first posted about Shrek Shakes back in 2008 on  Lugubrious Delights, she commented on the post...
"I love love love this post :)
And, I love the name "Shrek Shakes." Brilliant!!!
Cheers, Kristen"
I don't know how she found it... but I felt totally cool that #1, someone commented on one of my recipes and called me brilliant (or at least the Shrek Shake name) #2, it was from a legit chef and #3, someone was complementing me on something new, and very unmainstream that I was trying to do for the benefit of my family. Obviously something that has become very dear to my heart.

Well, it took me a couple years to get back to her... and with the recommendation of these macaroon-beauts from a friend... I've found her again... and can't wait to try more of her recipes. So, thank you Crysta and Kristen, these are AMAZING!! 

They're my new favorite go-to freezer treat... and probably even edge out chocolate balls... though my raw banana cheesecake cups are such a close second.

I altered the amounts a little bit to stretch the more expensive ingredients and give me a cheaper bang for my buck! Her recipe is here.

1 1/2 cup hazelnuts*
1/2 cup raw chocolate powder
1 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
2/3 cup coconut butter/oil
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs {i used part of a cacao bar that I got in the baking section at walmart}
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

Using a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, grind the hazelnuts to a fairly medium/fine grind. Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together well by hand, or use a mixer with a paddle attachment to make it easier. {{After I ground the nuts, I just added everything to the food processor and pulsed everything all together. Which, I prefer because it breaks up the coconut so you don't have crazy coconut threads sprouting off each macaroon.}}

Use a tablespoon measurement to spoon out the batter and place on a cookie sheet {I like using a tablespoon size cookie scoop}. Freeze for up to an hour and enjoy.

*My favorite way to make these is with hazelnuts, but if you don't have those on hand, you could try other nuts or seeds.

Serving suggestion:
My favorite way to enjoy these is straight from the freezer or refrigerator. When I take them to a party, I put them in the host’s refrigerator, or freezer, until I’m ready to serve them. If they sit at room temperature they can get a little soft (but still yummy). An option to help prevent the softening at room temperature is to dehydrate them at 105 degrees for 16 - 24 hours right after you make them. ~~ from Kristen

Monday, September 6, 2010

Portobello Stuffed with Smoked Tomato Basil Spread & Spinach

I'm still in the conversion process of converting some of my old faves into something more fit for our new lifestyle... it's a Bobby Flay and the original is YUMMY! Like, seriously awesome. I love sausage - still do - and it makes this dish so, sooo good. But, my modification is pretty darn good too.

I thought of the original dish after I made the Sun-dried Tomato Basil Dip for the first time with the smoked sun-dried tomatoes. It totally has that yummy smoky flavor that the smoked mozzarella gives from the original. And with a lot of the same ingredients, I just merged them. I love the sweetness the grape juice gives the spinach with the smoked tomato and onto of a grilled shroom, it's heavenly.
1 medium Spanish onion, sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine (red grape juice)
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Put the onion into a sauté pan, add the grape juice and cook until the wine is completely reduced. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of the basil, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and let cool slightly.

Heat the grill to high.

Brush the mushroom caps on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the grill, top side down and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place on a flat surface, cap side down. Fill the mushrooms with the spread and top with spinach mixture. Place on the grill, cap side down, close the cover and cook until the mushroom and filling have heated through. Remove to a platter and sprinkle tops with the remaining parsley and basil.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Raw Banana Split Cheesecake Cups.

I got this recipe off a new blog I've been diggin, Chocolate Covered Katie... then just adapted it to these little cheesecake cups. I'm into finding treats that I can have on hand in the freezer and just pull out what little bit I need to get my fix or help someone else get theirs. These do the trick... I think they're awesome. And the crust is awesome by itself... even awesomer if you add a little mint to the dough and roll them into balls. They're the same concept as my chocolate balls... but sweeter and simpler. Try them, you'll thank me or Chocolate Covered Katie later!

Fudge Babies Crust
1 cup walnuts
1 1/3 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1. Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor or blender.
2. Line mini muffin tin with muffin holders.
3. Use a 1/2 tablespoon and scoop into each cup, and then press down to form a crust.

Banana Split Cheesecake Filling
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 medium frozen banana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water {and possibly extra to get it to blend}
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup, for sweetener

1. Soak the cashews overnight, then drain.
2. Blend everything very, very well... about a minute. 
3. Scoop into cups, I like to use my small cookie scoop. Or, you can use the ziplock trick... would probably make for prettier 'cheesecups'.

You can eat it now, or you can put it in the fridge to help set, or in the freezer for later. Frozen, it’ll keep for weeks, and it thaws perfectly. A-mazing!

belly bites by week: 3rd addition

sunday: vegan fajitas at parents house for stas' birthday
tuesday: mean green tortilla soup... omitted the chicken, used white beans and veggie stock
thursday: i forget
friday: chuck e. cheese {the worst 10% ever!!}
saturday: double dave's {redeeming our savorous 10% from the crap we ate at The Cheese!}