Instagram Shenanigans

Let’s all just consider for one moment how great the word “shenanigans” is.

Ok. Thanks for indulging me on that one 😉

I’ve been busy with school and musical rehearsals recently, so I haven’t been cooking from recipes too much. However, I’m still doing my best to be creative and fun with what I eat, and, when I can get a good picture, I love to post photos of that on Instagram. I thought I’d post a few of these photos on here as well though, because this blog is not only about recipes that I make; it’s also about just having fun with interesting, creative, pretty, or plain awesome food!

  1. Berry and Chocolate Oatmeal

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I just made some plain oatmeal with water and a little salt, then topped it with blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate arils, and extra-dark chocolate. This was supremely delicious, and so fresh and wholesome.

2. Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Banana Oatmeal

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Again, this was plain oatmeal, topped with sliced banana, peanut butter, and raspberry jam. I love this combo, especially with really good jam (we got some Spoon Fruit jam from a small company in Michigan. I love Michigan berries!).

3.  Curried Rice, adapted from The Full Helping

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Here, I adapted a recipe from The Full Helping titled Creamy Curried Quinoa. I made a ton of changes, like switching out quinoa for rice, but drew heavily from the recipe for guidance. This was actually amazingly delicious, and so, so healthy. It’s seasoned in a very savvy, delicate way that enhances all the natural flavor of vegetables and rice. Also, it made a huge amount of food (like, 5x more than pictured!).

4. Mixed Berry Oatmeal

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Um, more oatmeal. I guess you can see what I’m into making right now! But this was really fun to make, and kind of adventurous by my standards. I cooked rolled oats with mixed frozen berries and water, and topped them with ground flax and chocolate PB2. It was yummy, but let’s be honest I was mostly in it for the pretty color 😉

5. Oh She Glows Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yay, cookies! These are Angela Liddon’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, made this very day as a special weekend treat. I’ve featured these cookies on the blog before, and they are a recipe I come back to again and again.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to on Instagram! And if you have an Instagram, please leave your username in the comments section. Let’s be friends! ☺️

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Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes

Hey guys! I am writing this post as I ride home to Ada after being in Dallas for the past few days. That was a very interesting trip… Dallas is quite the big city and is very stimulating. We walked all over downtown, went to the top of Reunion Tower, went to Galleria Mall, ate at the awesome Spiral Diner, and (possibly my favorite part!) walked in the botanical gardens. It was a fun trip, but I’m glad to be going home again. I’ve always been a homebody when all is said and done.

Before we left, I made this delicious dish by Gena Hamshaw: vegan lentil sloppy joes! My whole family and I loved this dish. In fact, I made it in the morning, and by 8:30 that evening, it was all gone! I think it’s definitely better than the non-vegan sloppy joes I’ve had. This version is bursting with flavor from the unique blend of seasonings, which include smoked paprika, chili powder, mustard, and plenty of onions and garlic. It’s also pretty simple to make: just cook the lentils, prepare and sauté the veggies, combine everything, and let simmer for a few minutes.

I ate the finished product in two ways: as the filling in a sandwich (pictured below), and mixed into sautéed zucchini with tomato sauce and hummus for a quick, filling dinner. I also think it stands alone very well. So go ahead! Make a versatile, delicious lentil dish that will not only taste good, but do your body, the Earth, and the animals a favor as well. 

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Wait, one more thing: I just need to go on about one of my favorite sweeteners for a moment! I used maple sugar for the 1 tablespoon of sweetener called for in this recipe, and it reminded me how addictive the scent of maple is. In the U.P. of Michigan, there are many sugar maples (makes sense, given the proximity to Canada), and maple syrup, maple candy, and maple sugar are all popular gifts given in the community. You could buy locally made maple syrup at gas stations, health food stores, and other privately owned businesses. So, as much as I already love the smell and taste of maple sugar, I love it even more because it reminds me of home.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Hey guys! How were your weekends? I don’t even know what’s going on with me right now to be honest. I’m trying to step up my Instagram game (I’m getting up 1 post per day if you want to check it out!) and also plan for 2 blog posts per week (Mondays and Fridays 🙂 yay for consistency!). Also, you know, Christmas is coming, and I’m planning a few presents for my family. All in all, it’s Christmas break, and I feel so busy. It’s mostly a fun kind of busy, though. Oh, and I’m getting together a Christmas cookie decorating party this week, so you might see a few photos! Exciting stuff, man.

Anyway- I made us some more soup! This is based on Minimalist Baker’s Curried Butternut Squash Soup. It’s essentially butternut squash, spices/seasonings, onions and garlic, and liquid, all blended up into creamy oblivion. I used Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste, which I love because of its many layers of flavor and hint of spiciness. I also topped it off with some plain curry powder, maple syrup, and nutritional yeast for a little more savoriness.

This recipe makes a pretty small batch of soup – I’d say it only would serve four people – so go ahead and double it if you wish. It’s also highly adjustable, so if your butternut squash is absolutely gigantic, add extra liquid to thin it out, and if your squash is very small, decrease the water a little. And, if you decide the soup is too thin, just let it simmer uncovered for 15-30 minutes, checking occasionally, until the texture is where you want it.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

adapted from Minimalist Baker‘s Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 onion

1/2 or 1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste)

a couple of dashes of curry powder

a couple of dashes of cinnamon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 small butternut squash

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 cups of water

a generous pour of coconut milk *

Process:

Dice the onion, and peel and dice the butternut squash. Heat up a large soup pot over medium heat (not hot enough to make the oil smoke, but fairly hot) and add the coconut oil. When the coconut oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the butternut squash, the curry paste, the cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Cover, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer covered for 15 minutes. Then, use a blender (I used an immersion blender) to blend until completely smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, and then add salt and curry powder to taste. Finally, if the soup is too thin for your preference, allow to simmer uncovered for 15-30 minutes.

Notes:

* you may of course leave out the coconut milk if you want it to be lower in fat. Just replace with water or vegetable stock.

* I like to serve this with a drizzle of coconut milk on top. My dad would tell you to use some Louisiana hot sauce, too!

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