Archive for the 'vegetarian' Category

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Rice and Beans


Recovery from Wildflower is going really well.  I ended up taking 3 complete rest days, and then somehow found myself committing to a marathon that’s 5 weeks away.


My sister’s last race marathon was in San Francisco two years ago, and she wants to get revenge on the course (it was a rough day).  “Hmmm maybe” turned into “registration confirmed” within 24 hours, and the best part is that my dad is doing it too!

I’m planning on running 16 or 17 miles this Saturday, I have a trail half marathon next weekend, and I’ll do a 20-miler the week after that.  It will definitely not be my best marathon, but I think it will be fun (which is kinda weird, since just a few weeks ago I was fairly certain it would be years before I signed up for another one).

We started getting a CSA box last week, and our first two deliveries have been awesome.  There was some zucchini this week, and although I usually hate it raw, it’s fine if it’s shaved into ribbons.  I usually keep some kind of cooked grain in the fridge, and this week it was brown rice, so I just tossed that with some black beans, green onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds for a quick, healthy dinner.




Kale, Pinto and Mushroom Tacos with Guajillo Salsa


This three day weekend was awesome.  Except for the test I took on Saturday morning, the whole weekend was fun: coffee, walks around town, a great swim, and the ZOO!  We finally took Ellie to the Oakland zoo and she loved it.  Especially the petting area.


The squirrel monkeys were also a big hit.  We liked it so much we became members, and I have a feeling we’ll be spending a LOT of time there over the next year.

Afterwards, since we were in Oakland anyway, we went to Subrosa.  Not quite as good as the coffee in SF, but close!  Ellie and Mike had a heart to heart over lattes (or water, in Ellie’s case) in the parklet.



Going back to work on Tuesday was surprisingly not painful. I’ve gotten way better about leaving work at work, and planning farther in advance (three years of teaching and I think I might FINALLY be starting to figure some of this stuff out) so after not thinking about school for three days it was fun to get back to the kids.

Not sure how to segue from that to tacos, so here we go: These are sort of similar to some other kale and guajillo tacos I made, but I think these are a lot better.   They’re more filling, and they’re really cheap to make, especially if you have dried beans lying around.  I used collards instead of tortillas just because they needed to be used up, and NO I will never go paleo or low carb or any of that, swearsies.  I ate PLENTY of carbs for dessert right afterwards anyway.

I think the best thing about these is the beans.  They’re braised in broth with sauteed onions, so they’re full of flavor. Canned beans just wouldn’t be the same.  It takes some planning ahead, but it’s definitely worth it.


(salsa adapted from Hungry Cravings)

Lentil “meat”balls


When I decided to stop eating meat 2+ years ago, I thought I was making the best environmental choice.  I still think that beef is pretty much environmentally disastrous, but I was completely disheartened to read this article about one of my favorite foods (quinoa).  Long story short: a lot of vegetarian staple foods are actually pretty horrible for increasing poverty and destroying rain forest in South America.   I definitely need to evaluate some of my dietary choices a little more carefully from now on.

In less depressing news, I’ve been mixing up my workouts a lot lately, and Ellie’s all about it.  Today she was helping me with situps. (I did this workout and it was great!) I still am not swimming as much as I should, but next week, I’m determined to go to the pool twice.  I’ll let you know if that actually happens.


I’ve also been broadening my podcast horizons.  I’m still obsessed with the Joy the Baker Podcast and I download This American Life religiously, but I now love the Rich Roll Podcast too.  I read his book Finding Ultra and it was incredibly inspiring.  Basically he went from an out of shape alcoholic to a vegan super-endurance (multiple Ironman) athlete.

Cooking has been a little lackluster around here lately, or at least not blog-worthy.  So much kale, in so many forms.


This was celery root and potatoes, cooked in milk until just tender, then tossed with kale which I’d sauteed in butter.  I mixed them together and topped with a little bit of grated Irish cheddar cheese.  Not completely healthy, but it’s been super cold (OK, Bay Area cold, which means barely below freezing every night) so I wanted comfort food.

Also, kale salads as usual.


Horrible photo, delicious salad: curly kale, lemon juice, tahini, Braggs aminos, and hemp seeds.  Hippie food at its best.

I’ve made meatless meatballs before but these are a little different.  They are from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook and I put them on a bed of sauteed chard and cauliflower.  They’re a little bit dry, so next time I’ll put them in sauce, but I highly recommend them!  The fennel seeds are the best part – they totally remind me of the sausages my mom used to get at our local grocery store, but these don’t have all that grease.


Masala Red Lentils with Chard

Our house is filled with Christmas cookies right now.  I could banish them and insist on eating only healthy stuff, but honestly, it’s a couple weeks of my life and I LOVE this time of year and all the sugary goodness that comes with it.

Ellie has gotten it in her head that if she points at something sweet and nods vigorously, we’ll give it to her.  I’m not sure where she got this idea.

Oh wait, this might have something to do with it.


This is not a normal occurrence, really.  She usually eats bananas and sweet potatoes and plain yogurt and pears.

I ended my week of laziness with a slooow 22 mile bike ride yesterday.  I was loving life and wondering why I stopped cycling…and then around mile 7 my rear end reminded me that it was ridiculous to think I could just go out and breeze through a ride like this. OW. My plan for 70.3 training is to just do what I want as long as I’m running, swimming, and cycling at least twice a week.  Today I ran a fairly uncomfortable 4.4 miles after work.  Weird that beer and cookies and being lazy for a week doesn’t make you feel light on your feet.

But I listened to a podcast and someone decorated a tree along the path so it wasn’t a completely miserable experience.

This is totally NOT one of those back on track healthy recipes. It’s pretty rich, but the flavor is complex and warm and I made a giant batch of it just so I can eat it for lunch all week.  This is a scaled up recipe from the original and I used chard instead of spinach.  I made saffron rice to serve alongside it and it was a satisfying, delicious meal.


(slightly adapted from Naturally Ella)

Seitan Pot Pie

On Sunday we ventured into the city with to stock up on tons of pantry stuff at the one and only Rainbow Grocery. If that store could open a branch in Walnut Creek, I would appreciate it immensely. (I realize that’s never going to happen).

Since we were going all the way across the bay anyway, we decided to add a couple side trips.  First, we went to Trouble Coffee for lattes and toast.  It was a beautiful day, so we strolled down to the beach.  Ellie’s gotten pretty awesome at walking, but the sand provided some new challenges.  Still, she LOVED every minute: watching the dogs, saying hi to people, and trying to explain to us everything she saw.

I’ve lived here for 2+ years now but I always seem to forget that November is pretty much the best month of the year on the ocean side of the city.  It was perfect.

It’s still a tiny bit warm for comfort food, but that’s not stopping me.  This was a little bit involved for a weeknight, but it was delicious.  Filling and hearty, with a whole-wheat cornmeal crust and plenty of seitan and vegetables inside, all three of us loved it.  It’s definitely going into the rotation all fall and winter long!

I made my seitan using this recipe, but if you’re short on time, you can use store-bought. I know it’s kind of wrong, but I un-veganized this recipe.  I used butter in the crust instead of shortening.  If you’re vegan, you can use shortening (or I’d imagine Earth Balance would be pretty good too), but since I’m not, I just couldn’t make pastry without real butter.


(adapted from Veganomicon)


Barbecue Beans with Mushrooms

Although I miss my old students like crazy, I’m getting to know my new kids (it takes a little longer when you only see them every other day) and they are pretty awesome.  One of my sixth graders is an origami pro and made me a mouse.

The temperature finally started to drop and it’s amazing how much more enjoyable afternoon runs are when it’s under 90 degrees.

12 glorious miles on Tuesday evening! I was feeling kind of burnt out on running, but as soon as my training plan started, I got super motivated and the last two weeks have been amazing.  4 miles after work felt endless a couple weeks ago (possibly partly because of the heat), but now I can do 2 or 3 times that without issue.  I’m sure my motivation will start to wane around week 7 or 8, but for now, I’m stoked.

This dinner is not particularly attractive, but it’s simple and filling, and I need to mention the kale chips.  Kale with lots of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, sprinkled with nutritional yeast, and baked at 375 til crispy.  Eternal thanks to Daily Garnish for the idea… I’ll never eat plain kale chips again.

So basically you mix up some beans and mushrooms in homemade barbecue sauce.  You can eat it on toast, or over grains, but I highly recommend kale chips on the side!


Marinated Kale and Mushroom Salad

One year ago today, I woke up, made a batch of muffins, and headed in to Labor and Delivery to be induced.

Today was slightly less exciting.  I woke up at 4:30, ran 8 miles, and headed in to work.

I’ve posted a few raw kale salads before, but this one is a little bit different, thanks to the mushrooms.  I had no idea lemon juice and soy sauce could make mushrooms taste so good, but oh how amazing these are. The kale itself isn’t too bad either, but it’s the mushrooms that make this salad.  I served it over quinoa to make it a meal, but that’s optional.




(adapted from I Am Grateful)

Chickpea and Pasta Salad

Life is about to get real.  I worked every day last week making copies, planning lessons, and prepping my room but now the school year and marathon training are starting and I’m going to have 240 students (and all their work) to keep track of.

It’s a good thing I like to be busy.

The key to the next couple months is going to be PREPARATION.  No more dawdling around all morning and then deciding to go on a leisurely stroller run at 11 AM.  No more abandoning meal planning because I can drop by the grocery store (it’s around the corner) any time I feel like it.  Time will be precious and there is a LOT to squeeze in now!  I need to get everything done and make sure I have time to hang out with my favorite people.

Right now my bike is set up on its trainer, my outfit for the work day is ready to go, and my lunch is packed. I’ve talked about my Sunday prep before, but I’m back at it again now (today I baked tofu and cooked up a ton of quinoa).  It took me awhile to realize it, but I’m able to get so much more done when my schedule is heavily booked, so I’m actually looking forward to having so much on my plate.

The beauty of this salad is that it’s quick to prepare, and it’s great to make ahead for lunches throughout the week.  It’s a little lacking in fresh vegetables, so I serve it over a big bed of greens (unpictured) for a healthy one-bowl meal.


Cornmeal Crepes with Black Beans and Zucchini

I’m not good at handling stress.  I fidget, I feel sick to my stomach, I make a million lists (which kind of stresses me out even more), I snap at Mike even when he’s being incredibly understanding and helpful.  Sometimes he just looks me in the eye, and tells me “I think you might need to go for a run right now.”

He’s usually right, and it usually helps.  Cooking sometimes helps too (unless I’m at that point where all I can do is shove a peanut butter sandwich in my face and keep bouncing around the house attempting to cross multiple things off the to-do list simultaneously).

The beginning of the school year always gets me a little stressed, but now that it’s my third year of teaching I’m starting to handle it a little better…so slightly less fidgeting, slightly fewer peanut butter sandwiches, and more cathartic cooking projects like this one.  And now, thanks to that half Ironman looming in the distance, 5 AM trainer rides! (Thanks so much for documenting this for posterity, Mike).

These are about as labor-intensive as enchiladas, but the crepes make them feel a little fancier.  If you already have salsa made (or a jar of it), you can just make the batter, prepare the filling while the batter rests, and then cook the crepes and assemble your meal.


crepes adapted from Epicurious

Quinoa Beet Burgers

Where I wish I were:

Aaah, beautiful Oregon.

Where I actually am: back at work. Kind of.

Real life hits in ONE WEEK when the kids come back to school, and I’m spending lots of time trying to sort through all the stuff that was left in the classroom I inherited, figure out how to get 6th graders excited about Earth Science, and determine how exactly I’m going to balance school, time with Ellie and Mike, training, blogging, cooking, making sure the house doesn’t get ridiculously filthy, and having some semblance of a social life.

By the way, where are all the triathlon or running blogs by moms who work full time?  Or is it truly not possible to do all that?  If you know of any, please let me know, because I really want to see how other women balance it all. Please tell me it can be done.

I’ve made so many mediocre veggie burgers lately, but these are significantly better than the crusty, dry outside, mushy inside mess that I’ve been dealing with.  Shredded beets, quinoa, sunflower and sesame seeds… I was not expecting them to be this delicious.

They are a little crumbly, but were amazing on a bed of lettuce with avocado on top (or goat cheese, if you’re into that).  The hardest part is just peeling the beets.  I think I’m going to make a gigantic batch and freeze them.



(slightly adapted from Color Me Vegan)


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