Category Archives: Sides

Indian Food Part II: Dal

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My little trip to the Indian market last week introduced me to all kinds of new things. Well, dal isn’t new to me, but I usually just make it with red lentils. Looking at all the bean choices on the shelves made me want to branch out. So I made yellow split pea dal and it was so delicious.

What is dal? Dal is sanskrit for split. It is made with split peas, beans or lentils. And it’s not exactly a soup, but it can be kind of soupy when you first make it. It thickens up as it sits and definitely once it’s refrigerated. So, I guess it’s more of a side dish. Dal is an important staple in Indian cuisine, adding protein to most meals. Try serving it with some basmati rice and naan or other Indian bread.

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Mung Bean Sprouts

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The first time I sprouted beans was more than a year ago. I was invited to a raw food potluck by my friend Eileen. I didn’t know a thing about raw food, but being the curious foodie yoga girl that I am, I started doing some reading and playing in the kitchen. Since that time, I’ve had a lot of fun discovering raw food techniques and recipes.

So I dabble in raw food…eating it mostly for breakfast and lunch and having cooked food for dinner. This works for me. Raw food consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds that have not been cooked at a temperature higher than 115-118 degrees. It is nutrient dense food that tends to be more bioavailable, that is, more easily absorbed, into our system.

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Casa De Luz Sun Cheese

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Just got back from a week-long Ashtanga training in Austin, Texas. Got to study with David Swenson and his wife Shelley Washington. David wrote the book on Ashtanga yoga that we used in my 200-hour training. It was an honor and privilege to spend time with him. David brings an amazing depth of knowledge and a delightful sense of humor to his teaching.

There were nearly 50 students in our class. I walked in not knowing a single person and left with several special friends. Yoga has a funny way of doing that. One night a group of us went to Casa De Luz for dinner. It’s a macrobiotic, vegan, gluten-free, seasonal, locally-sourced, organic restaurant. I’ve never been anywhere like it. Not far from downtown Austin, but it feels like it’s a world away.

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Lots of Veggies Sushi Rolls

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When I was in yoga teacher training, veggie sushi saved my life. I would come home late, tired and hungry after a long day of practicing yoga. Although I was super hungry, really the only thing I wanted was vegetable sushi rolls…a little seaweed salad was okay too. I’m not sure I can explain this, looking back. Maybe it was the salty taste from the nori and soy sauce. Maybe it was the fact that sushi rolls can be light and filling at the same time. For me, it was a craving that could not be denied.

On these evenings, I usually had rolls from my favorite asian restaurant or really I was not that picky, grocery store sushi was fine too. But now that I have a little more time, I really like making my own rolls. And what’s fun is that I get to come up with weird combinations that I wish I could find on a menu but I never can, like mango/cucumber.

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Black-Eyed Pea Stew + GF Vegan Biscuits

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I almost never eat black-eyed peas (except for good luck on New Year’s day) and now I am wondering why. Because they are SO flipping awesome. Like other beans, there are a great source of protein for a vegan or vegetarian diet. And they have a mild almost sweet flavor.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Chloe’s Kitchen, one of my all time favorite vegan cookbooks. Her recipe is called Southern Skillet Black-Eyed Peas with Quick Buttery Biscuits. It’s a winner of a recipe. I played with it a bit. Changed some of the veggies and spices. Added butternut squash, carrots and turnips. The result is the perfect fall stew with a little twist.

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Fresh Fig + Rosemary Focaccia (gluten-free)

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When we moved to Houston three years ago, we planted a fig tree in the backyard. Planting a tree is such a hopeful act. Will it take root? Is it in the right spot? Will it flourish and grow?

Well our little tree has tripled in size since we planted it. However, for the first two years the figs it produced tasted terrible. Really awful. Like nobody wants to eat these things. I tried roasting them and tossing them with honey, which helped a little but not much.

Something special happened this season. Bam! The figs are awesome. They are so sweet and taste wonderful. I love going out into the backyard and finding the ripe ones and twisting them off the branches.

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FYG Savory Snack Time

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My inner kindergartener loves a good nap and depends on snack time to get me through the day. While I’ve pretty much mastered the art of trail mix and love a crunchy rice cake with nut butter, I thought it might be time to try a few new things. And, I’m trying to steer away from sweet things this week just because I do that sometimes. So I’m cutting back on dried and fresh fruit and other sweet things.

So today I made Blue Corn Paper Bag Popcorn; Ginger Sesame Roasted Chickpeas and Dill Carrot Chips. It took about an hour to make all three snacks, which I am happily munching on as I type this post.

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Blue Corn Piñon Muffins + Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

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Driving around Santa Fe and Taos last week we saw several roadside tents selling piñons. Being the curious foodie that I am, we had to stop and check it out. Piñons are pine nuts that come from a slow growing pine that is the state tree of New Mexico. And the bag we bought just outside of Taos contained the best pine nuts I’d ever had. They were so fresh and buttery. Oh my.

I’m happy as a clam just snacking on these babies, but I thought I’d use them in a recipe. I had made blue corn pancakes over the weekend and thought I’d try making vegan muffins. The first batch I made were, well, terrible. Really heavy and not very tasty. The recipe that I’m sharing with you is adapted from Vegetarian Times and it’s so good.  I made a little jam to go with it, but you could use any jam from the farmers market or your local store.

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Two Potato Salad

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I’m a potato salad freak. I love it. But, it’s hardly ever vegan. It’s usually loaded with heavy mayo and eggs. Not my thing. So I came up with this version and I get to be freaky in love with it.

I think my passion for potato salad goes back to when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure my grandmother thought it was an important food group for growing children. She was so happy whenever she saw how much I loved potato salad. Looking back, it was kind of weird, but in a sweet way.

Well, this recipe couldn’t be easier. Steam potatoes, chop a few veggies, toss it with vegan mayo and some seasonings. The secret ingredients are a little white wine and fresh thyme. I think it works and is way healthier than the mayo/eggy stuff you usually get.

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Moroccan Quinoa Confetti Salad

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So, I graduated from 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training last weekend. Yay for me and my amazing classmates!!! And how do all good yogis celebrate, with a vegan potluck, of course. Everyone brought in the yummiest food and we all sat around in our circle of gratitude and chowed down. I brought this Moroccan quinoa salad.

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