Easy Breezy Noodle Bowls

I. Love. Noodles. I know that I have argued that tacos and burritos are the world’s best foods, but noodles put up a very good fight for that title. Noodles are versatile AF! There are a million different kinds, all of which are the most fun to eat. There is nothing glamorous to slurping down a big bowl of noodles—perhaps it is the great equalizer we have all sought. Maybe noodles will bring world peace at last.

noodles1
gimme these right now!
A note on terminology: I don’t know if this is actually correct, but to me, a noodle is derived from rice, and pasta is derived from wheat. When people call pasta products “noodles”, I get a mild aneurysm, but then again, I never said I wasn’t compulsive.

I grew up a ramen fanatic, and I never grew out of it. I did, however, grow out of that MSG life. Health nuttiness and packaged food ne sont pas les choses qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble. I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul a lot lately, can you tell?

Unnecessary and ill-advised Beatles reference aside, my life’s mission is to eat noodles daily, and this is my go-to recipe when I come home from a long day at work and just want to gorge on something that won’t give me heart disease or diabetes #pieloverforlife. This recipe is also one of many in my personal give tofu a chance crusade, the sword I have chosen to fall on. Enjoy, my loves!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowlsserves 2

prep time: 10 mins / cook time: 10 mins

  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 2-3  c. chopped broccoli florets (the broccoli shrinks when cooked!)
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil for frying
  • agave, optional
  • ginger paste, optional
  • garlic, chopped, optional
  • chopped nori, optional
  • matchstick carrots, optional
  • matchstick cucumber, optional

To start, set a pot of lightly-salted water on to boil. When it reaches boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions. I buy frozen, so it usually takes about 4-minutes of cooking. Drain noodles and set aside.

Next, whisk together your soy sauce mixture. I use a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and a dash of sesame oil. Optionally, you can add ginger, garlic, and/or agave to this mixture to add more flavor to the final product. But this is the basic 10-minute version of this recipe, so fancy ingredients be damned!

Drain your block of tofu. Press out as much of the water as humanly possible, and then chop into cubes. This is a great guide to pressing tofu! Once cubed, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and pan fry in the oil of your choice—I like to use coconut for this. Fry the tofu until it’s golden on all sides—do your best with this, it’s hard to flip that many little pieces evenly! Then pour your soy sauce mixture over the tofu, toss in the pan until evenly coated, and then remove from heat. Save a little bit of the soy mixture—you’ll want to toss the broccoli in it later!

While the tofu is frying, get out your wok (if applicable) and start cooking your broccoli! I like to cook the broc in sesame oil, because it has such a great flavor. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry! I like to let it cook in the oil for a few minutes, and then squirt in a little rice vinegar to help soften the broc (I’ve seen Hibachi chefs do this, so it must be the proper way, right?) After the broccoli has reached your desired texture, drizzle the soy sauce mixture over it, toss, remove from heat, and then proceed to assemble your bowls! Start with noodles, add broccoli, and top with tofu! Sprinkle the whole bowl with sesame seeds, and grab some chopsticks! You’re ready to eat a passably nutritious meal that kicks take-out’s ass any day of the week!


My favorite way to eat this is with an additional sprinkling of chopped nori and some cold matchstick veggies on top (carrots or cucumbers are the way to go). Also, everything tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks, so don’t skimp!

***

That’s it, honeys! I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so this is a common throw-together lunch in my household. This is also a great starter dish for anyone who is looking to cut a little bit of meat from his or her diet. It’s packed with protein (and probiotics if you add the nori). The above method of preparing tofu ensures a nice crisp on the outside that will have even the most adamant tofu naysayer begging for seconds.

Advertisements

Sex-y Corn Chowdah

Corn chowder is flipping delicious. Actually, you can put any creamy soup in a bowl, call it chowder, and I will love it, but that’s another issue entirely. #gordo


The only problem with this arguably perfect food is that it is often full of cream and butter, which in moderation are aces, but don’t exactly make for healthy nightly fare. Well, no more. I have created a chowder that is both vegan and made out of six vegetables!

All the veggies / who independent / throw your hands up at me!

I’m really sorry about that. Every time I’m passionate about something, I start helplessly paraphrasing Beyoncé. Six vegetables,  though! Now are we getting the title? Where my AP Latin nerds at?

Anyway, here’s my foolproof corn chowder recipe!

Sex-y Corn Chowdah

  • 4 cups corn kernels (fresh is best, frozen will do)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large organic carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped (the green parts)
  • salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • juice of half a lemon

Some like it hot…for extra zazz, add 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper, or a tablespoon of pimenta moida in with the garlic. Highly recommend.

If using corn cobs: lightly grill or roast the cobs. Let cool and cut the kernels off the cob.

If using frozen corn: measure out 4 cups. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the kernels out, drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for a few minutes, until the kernels start to brown.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and celery. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and stir. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Next add the carrot, bell pepper, and potato. Cook for another few minutes, adding black pepper and more salt if desired. Next, add the garlic, 3/4 of the corn, and dried basil. Stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add the broth and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potato is fork tender. Remove the pot from heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy. Once blended, return the pot to low heat and add the lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 of the roasted corn. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Turn off the heat and add the chopped scallions. Stir around and then taste to see if more lemon juice, salt, black pepper, or basil is needed. Serve immediately and top with more chopped scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, or sour cream if desired. Happy snacking!

 

**Recipe is loosely adapted from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. Credit where credit is due!

 

Sweet Heat Chickpeas & Vegan Mashed

So, I accidentally created the best dinner ever tonight. It started with a mashed potato craving, was facilitated by a bunch of produce I needed to use up, and resulted in heaven.

Sweet Heat Chickpeas

  • 2 small beets, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 c. pimenta moida*, or red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste

Vegan Mashed 

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened organic almond milk (make sure it’s not vanilla!)
  • 3 tbsp. Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. If you have a Convection Roast setting, use it to get that roasty-toasty crunch.

To get the Mashed going, throw your chopped taters in a saucepan, cover them with cold water by about an inch, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer potatoes until fork tender.

For the Chickpeas, add all of the ingredients to a glass baking dish, toss to combine, and stick that mother in the oven. Remove and stir every 5-10 minutes, or as you notice the top of the dish browning. The liquid released from the zucchini will keep everything moist as its cooking, so you don’t really have to worry about anything drying out or burning. The chickpeas are done when the zucchini is soft and the beets are fork-tender (about 20 mins), but you can cook for up to an hour if you prefer more crunch.

While the chickpeas are cooking, drain your potatoes, add in your add-ins, and then mash until smooth. Don’t over-mash or they’ll turn to glue!

so much yum
When the chickpeas are done, give them a good stir, then plate and serve! If you’re like me, you’ll mix the mashed and the chickpeas and veggies into a food mountain on your plate. So delicious!

*A note on pimenta moida: I’ve never actually made this. You can (I assume) buy this at specialty Portuguese grocers. My mother-in-law is from the Azores, and she made an enormous batch of it in the spring and gave some to all the kids. Literally, this is how much pimenta I have:

full size pitcher of cold brew for reference
That thing was FULL just a few months ago. I could drink the stuff.

I hope this recipe helps you all take baby steps towards putting weird shit like beets and cabbage in your dinners! So into cabbage right now!

Bon appetit!

—DellaBites

I Got My Hash Pipe

There is no food I love more than potatoes. Potatoes are the single greatest thing to ever grow out of the earth. Basically, you can do anything to a potato and it still tastes delicious.

One of my fave things to do to a potato is to make them breakfast-appropriate. We don’t eat your typical meat-and-potatoes diet (obviously), so incorporating my beloved potato into meals can be a tad difficult.

Thus, Lazy Sunday Hash was born! And yes, I’m making it on a Wednesday because I don’t abide by the rules of society. This recipe has the added bonus of minimal prep-time and effort!

hash with organic ketchup (for when you run out of eggs)
Lazy Sunday Hash

serves 2 very hungry people, or up to 6 reasonable people

  • 2 Russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 handful of fresh organic green beans, chopped
  • 1 handful of chopped scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 (use that lovely roast setting if you’ve got it!)


Prep your veggies and put them all into a glass baking dish. Sprinkle on your spices. Toss in the avocado oil until well coated, and stick in the oven.


Slow-roast for an hour, removing and stirring every 15 minutes for even cooking.

**If you don’t have an hour to kill, set the cook temp higher and stir more frequently. The hash is done when the potatoes are fork-tender.


This hash is best-served underneath two over-easy eggs & a generous sprinkling of hot sauce!

Enjoy, mes amis!

—DellaBites

 

Coconut Almond Butter Cookies (vegan optional!)

Have you ever gotten an intense craving for peanut butter cookies in the middle of the night for no reason? Me too, I feel you.

But sometimes, all you have is the fancy-pants freshly-ground peanut butter, so it seems a shame to use it in cookies.

But sometimes, you have a jar of homemade almond butter that you processed with coconut oil and cocoa powder just sitting in the fridge waiting to be used! So, obviously, cookies must be made!

I was lucky enough to receive a pink KitchenAid stand mixer at my bridal shower last month, and these cookies were just the thing to christen it.

I love that homemade cookies always look a little bit wonky.
Coconut Almond Butter Cookies 

Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on how large you like your cookies

1 1/4 c cocoa almond butter (recipe below)

1/2 c coconut oil

1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 egg (or flax egg: 1 tsp flax meal mixed with 2 1/2 tsp of water)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. I use these!

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a fork if you’re a normal person), cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, brown sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract until just combined. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scoop out the batter onto the parchment paper a tablespoon at a time. It will be very gooey, but the coconut oil will keep it from sticking. Once the cookie sheets are full, use a fork to make a crosshatched impression on the top of the cookies, because s’cute.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through cooking. I like to swap oven shelves at this time to make sure both trays cook evenly.

At (approximately) the 10-minute mark, remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let your cookies cool on a rack. They’ll still be a bit gooey, but don’t overcook them or they’ll turn to rocks. Gooey is good. Gooey means they’ll firm up to the perfect texture.


*Making the co-co-coconut almond butter:

Have you heard? Almond butter is the single easiest freaking thing on planet earth to make. It is the pet cat of foods—it requires minimal effort and doesn’t need any attention paid to it.

makes one lovely mason jar-full

3 c roasted, unsalted almonds

1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (more if you love chocolate)

1 tbsp coconut oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high for 20 minutes, scraping the sides intermittently if you need to. That’s it. The end result is a luscious, creamy heaven-sauce that tastes amazing on waffles, in yogurt, and in smoothies.

Enjoy these amazing (and healthy!) cookies this week!

—DellaBites

Endless Summer Southwest Salad

I was lucky enough to go to my town’s farmer’s market this morning, and took home a huge haul of organic veggies! In the blind panic of holy-hell-I-have-way-too-many-zucchini, I decided to create a summer salad inspired by my love of all foods southwestern. It took under 20 minutes to put together and it might be the yummiest thing I’ve ever made!

What you’ll need:


for the salad

2 ears corn, husked with kernels cut off the cob

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 zucchini, diced

1/2 small red onion (or 1/4 large), finely chopped

1/2 lb of grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

salt & black pepper to taste

for the dressing

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 a large lemon)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp vegenaise (or mayonnaise if that’s your jam)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cilantro (I use Gourmet Garden cilantro paste)

salt to taste

To begin, set your oven to 400 degrees (if you have a roast setting, use this!) Remove the kernels from the corn cobs, toss in a bowl with 1 tbsp coconut oil, and lightly season with salt & pepper. Roast in the oven in a baking dish for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.


While your corn is roasting, prepare your vegetables, rinse your beans, and combine it all in a large mixing bowl. When your corn is cool, add it to the vegetable mixture.

In a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Add salt to taste. Pour dressing into salad and toss to combine.

Serve on top of a bed of greens, on its own, or as a side with burritos or enchiladas! Top with avocado if you’re feeling frisky!


This is summer in a bowl! So delicious and vegan!

Friday I’m in Love…with My Life

Today marks a somewhat historic day for me: I attended all of my classes, submitted a homework assignment on time, and am in really good shape to catch up with this semester’s work! I’m actually excited to write a law paper on Plato’s Apology of Socrates. I might actually. freaking. graduate. It’s getting so real.

So, logically, rather than, y’know, study for Art History, I decided to clean the crap out of my apartment. It is amazing what accumulates in your fridge and freezer when you’re not paying attention…Let’s just say that, despite our super-green recycle-mania, we’ll have a full bag of trash this week.

Some useful stuff, like organizing my office, happened. But some fun stuff happened too.

 

IMG_0683
the rainbow connection ❤

When I moved into Fig’s place, his cabinets were *sorta* decorated with random glassware, and I managed to go almost 3 years without realizing that they are perfectly rainbow-colored! Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess has an incredible rainbow-colored glass collection that has been a total inspiration. It was so nice to be able to start my own with “found objects” (which is what I call all of Fig’s pre-Chelsea possessions, basically).

Also, cleaning out your fridge and cabinets can be really inspiring…for cooking, that is. I invented a sauce that I kind of want to call “béchamelized”, but I don’t know that anyone would get it. Caramelized onions and cauliflower, white wine, butter, and parmesan cheese instead of flour. 2 legit 2 quit.

IMG_0685

I served it over pierogies and wilted spinach because LIFE IS AMAZING.

When you have 3 full-time jobs (retail worker, 15-credit college student, & homemaker/housekeeper/adult-I-guess?), there’s very little pure “me-time”, so getting to do some redecorating and creative cooking was so refreshing.

What fills your “me-time”?

–DellaBites

P.S. I’m calling 3.18.16 the day I finally committed to Snapchat. I’m @highwaytochel over there. Story is fiiiiire right now.

P.P.S. Just in case the title reference isn’t clear…

Phases-I’m in Love with My Life

Also, here’s the Amazon link to buy the damn album. It’s kind of embarrassing that you don’t have it already. Phases for life!