Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce

Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.com

January is when winter truly starts for me. The excitement of the holidays and warm weather vacations mask the cold of November and December pretty well. January in Boston – especially after spending some time in the Bahamas – is when real winter sets in.

 

I felt like I dove headfirst into January this week – right off the airplane into 20-degree weather and into the work week. Since it’s January I, like most people, would like to eat a little lighter and healthier than I have over the past couple of months but sometimes being slammed back into real life makes that seem difficult to do.

 

Instead of order from our neighborhood Tasty Burger, I decided to use of some healthy ingredients I had stored away and make enchiladas with pumpkin enchilada sauce. Using pumpkin purée and salsa from my pantry and vegetables and corn tortillas from my freezer, I was able to make a comforting, healthy and delicious meal to last a few nights – and avoid a tired, hungry, after-work trip to the grocery store.

 

Pumpkin enchilada sauce is vegan, gluten free and full of Mexican flavor with the seasonal creaminess of pumpkin. To fill the enchiladas, I roasted some vegetables I cubed and froze from my CSA – butternut squash, beets and parsnips– but any veggies will work here. Frozen corn, chopped kale, broccoli– get as elaborate or keep it as simple as you want. I always keep small 100% corn tortillas in the freezer for quick gluten free meals, but brown rice tortillas would also be good.

 

Winter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.comWinter Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce | ourfourforks.com

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Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

While I was living in London, I discovered British flapjacks, often individually wrapped by the checkout counter in grocery stores.  They’re easy to grab and seemingly healthy – like a soft granola bar. I assumed they were a relatively smart snacking choice until, while eating my second (or third or fourth), I realized that they’re no different from American granola bars; sugar with some oats.

 

Isabel visited Boston this past weekend, so we got to do some healthy holiday baking. Inspired by flapjacks and the date and oat slices in one of my favorite cookbooks, Breakfast, Lunch and Tea: The Many Little Meals of the Rose Bakery, we decided to bake our own, healthier oat gingerbread bars.

 

These gingerbread bars have a soft base and topping made from gluten free oats, coconut oil and fresh ginger. Between the oat layers is a ginger spiced chewy date layer, which provides most of the sweetness. Cut these bars into any size (the smaller you cut them, the more crumbly they get) and enjoy for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea. Or drizzle with a little melted white chocolate and serve for dessert.

 

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

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Vegan Eggnog French Toast

Vegan Eggnog French Toast | ourfourforks.com

French toast isn’t something I make often for a couple of reasons. It seems complicated – more so than pancakes or waffles, though I can’t figure out my logic here – and too heavy for just an ordinary breakfast.

 

This vegan eggnog french toast debunks those beliefs, especially if you have some extra vegan eggnog smoothie on hand. Simply dredge some gluten free bread in healthy eggnog, lightly brown on both sides in a skillet and – done: vegan eggnog french toast.

 

I made my vegan eggnog french toast using the master bread recipe from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (if you’re gluten free, get this book!), substituting the four egg whites with two flax eggs. To make the loaf, I used the gluten free flour blend demonstrated on the Gluten Free Girl blog. Any gluten free bread should work, but I’d suggest a heartier bread rather than something pre-sliced.

 

For this recipe, I used some extra vegan eggnog smoothie (which I made with Vega’s new protein powder), but other eggnog recipes should also work.

 

Vegan Eggnog French Toast | ourfourforks.com

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Vegan Eggnog Smoothie

Vegan Eggnog Smoothie | ourfourforks.com

Breakfast decisions are difficult for me because I want it all. My go-to is oatmeal or granola, but when I’m trying to pack in some more nutrition (or eat light before workout), I make smoothies. Usually, they’re pretty boring: frozen bananas, frozen berries, flax, protein powder, cinnamon and kale (of course).

 

But when Vega sent me their new Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake, I decided it was time to change it up. I’ve made vegan eggnog before, but I had never thought to add protein powder to it and make it a full meal. I’ve been a longtime fan of Vega, but their new Vega One vanilla shake is amazing; not only does it taste better (think more of a smooth flavor, less of the typical protein powder grittiness), but it has more protein, greens, vitamins and minerals. It is still 100% made from real, whole foods without anything artificial. Eggnog for breakfast? Yes.
 

Vegan Eggnog Smoothie | ourfourforks.com

Garlic Ginger Kale Bowl With Cauliflower Rice

Garlic Ginger Kale Bowl with Cauliflower Rice| ourfourforks.com

It’s full on holiday season, which means food is everywhere; Thanksgiving leftovers all weekend, treats in the office, buffets at holiday parties (mine had a candy bar, ice cream bar and cupcake station), wine at countless happy hours. It’s all so overwhelmingly bad for you (sugary, fattening, delicious), so when I’m weeknight cooking this time of year, I crave simple, healthy meals. I love the idea of one bowl dinners – I’ve been making things like pork and butternut squash stew and quick pho – and this simple garlic ginger kale bowl couldn’t be easier to throw together after work.

 

Simply chop up some garlic and ginger, stir-fry with some ground meat or a can of beans, add kale and voila; flavorful, healthy comforting garlic ginger kale bowl. The most complicated aspect of this dish is the cauliflower rice (which is not complicated at all – just throw in a food processor and pop in the oven for 20 minutes), but any grain like brown rice or quinoa would work well. I just like the idea of putting vegetables on vegetables.

 

Garlic Ginger Kale Bowl with Cauliflower Rice| ourfourforks.comGarlic Ginger Kale Bowl with Cauliflower Rice| ourfourforks.com

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