Healthy Happy Life

Favorite Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


I updated one of my favorite recipes with a video + some more pics! Make my Favorite Stuffed Sweet Potatoes tonight!

I was feeling like a super easy comfort food recipe today, so I whipped these cuties up. About an hour of baking time for the potatoes then the rest takes about five minutes. So easy!

These sweet potatoes are my favorite, with their golden flesh all stuffed with salty, garlicky hummus and topped with buttery avocado and perky red onion and smoky, spicy spices. Make a platter of these for your dinner or serve them to your family as a side dish. Load them up even more with hemp seeds, chopped nuts, shiitake bacon, tempeh bacon or skillet chickpeas.

Hope you love this easy go-to recipe for Favorite Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes.

Plus, I have updated this post with a few new photos and a recipe video!..

READ MORE

My Go-to Matcha Latte Recipe + 7 Tips


updated post - 10/17

I am a big matcha green tea fan, as you may already know. So today, I am sharing my favorite Matcha Latte recipe, plus seven tips to help you prepare the best matcha latte. Skip the trip to Starbucks and show off your DIY latte skills.

Go-to Latte Recipe. I make this latte just about every day. I just lovvvvvvve it. I usually make it a few hours after I have woken up. I like to let me body wake up on its own as much as possible. Then let the matcha do some extra Zenergizing magic.

On Coffee.
About eight years ago, living in NYC, I was a straight up coffee addict. But not even in an 'I enjoy this addiction!" sort of way. Over time, it was actually making me feel worse..

My coffee habit was fine for a while. I drank coffee a few days a week in college - back and forth from black tea. But then we moved to New York and coffee became a bit part of my day. My coffee break was fun! I would take a stroll, grab my latte and come home to work. At first I would order a latte a few days a week, when I needed a perk up. I would skip a day if I started to feel too dependent, or just yucky. But suddenly, when I was going through a busy time period, I was ordering 1-2 triple grande soy lattes from Starbucks every day. (There are so many Starbucks in NYC, it was easy to pop in a few times a day!) And I started to resent my beloved coffee breaks.

I personally think that caffeine is wonderful, but only when it is working for you and not against you. So, eventually I gave in and tried to ditch my coffee habit. I tried subbing in chai lattes for a bit, but those were too sweet most of the time and just didn't do it for me. Then I discovered matcha and I was happily hooked! This habit felt like a good fit for my body.

Coffee Can Be Great. Even though I choose matcha, I have nothing against coffee. It is wonderful, delicious and a worthy daily habit if you can drink it without 'over-doing it' like I was. But sometimes, it is nice to take a break and try something new too! Switch things up. I still love coffee and drink it occasionally, maybe a few times a year. And coffee-flavored vegan ice cream is one of my faves. But I am also really happy with my matcha habit these days. I just do not crave coffee anymore. It is surprising to me, believe me!

Is Matcha for Everyone? Yes for sure! But as a daily habit? Probably not. I have observed society in regards to this question a lot over my past few matcha-drinking years, and I just think everyone interacts with caffeine so differently. And in America and many other countries, coffee is so mainstream, it is the first beverage we reach for (out of habit and culture) - these days anyways. So with coffee, some people literally have no reason to ditch it! They simply thrive on coffee/espresso, and can find it just about anywhere, and that's fine.

Like my husband for example, he will probably not abandon his one small cappuccino a day habit anytime soon because it just makes him feel good, and his coffee habit is easy to maintain with the plethora of high quality coffee shops around - and that's totally cool. But the exciting thing for matcha drinkers like me is that more and more coffee shops are starting to offer matcha lattes.

How does caffeine effect you? Everyone interacts with foods, beverages and even things like herbs, alcohol and supplements so differently. And caffeine is a stimulant. It has a mood and energy changing effect on your body for sure. Some people like quad-shot Venti lattes and others can barely do a small one shot espresso drink without feeling overly stimulated. (My sister for instance cannot tolerate ANY caffeine at all, so maybe it runs in our family to be a bit more sensitive.)

So if you feel like you are curious about coffee alternatives, give today's recipe and 7 tips a try!...

READ MORE

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf (Vegan)


This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf is fluffy, festive golden orange in color and studded with melty chocolate chips. This pumpkin bread is vegan and sweetened with maple (or agave) syrup and apple sauce. The chocolate chips also add their own sweetness.

This pumpkin loaf is perfect for a fall snack or served at breakfast, or any time of day, with tea or a latte or cocoa. It also makes a satisfying sweet treat due to all the chocolate goodness tumbling through each thick and perfectly-spongy slice. Current mood = fall baking. This loaf. Yes, please. With chocolate chips on top.

Get the recipe and a how-to video!..

READ MORE

Vegan Senate Bean Soup


I first posted my recipes for a vegan version of Senate Bean Soup back in 2012. Well today I am giving the recipe a bit of an update by simplifying a few ingredients and a few new photos as well.

This is one of my all time favorite bean soups! It is ultra creamy and cozy with mashed potato, smoky flavor, simple rustic ingredients and black pepper and parsley on top. I first learned about this soup back in DC when I bought some from Whole Foods. It was rich and creamy and vegan! I knew I had to learn how to make it and also learn the history behind this American-made recipe.

Recipe + video ahead!..

READ MORE

Make Fluffy Quinoa Every Time! How-to.


Making Fluffy Quinoa is a kitchen technique that every at-home Chef can easily master. Quinoa is versatile, lightly textured, slightly nutty in flavor and did I mention ... healthy!

Quinoa is a fun new ingredient that your whole family will love. I keep quinoa as a staple pantry item - right next to my other dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, seeds and nuts.

Achieving fluffy quinoa (as opposed to mushy, overcooked quinoa) is easier than you think. Make fluffy quinoa every time with my easy tips. And get my recipe for Spiced Fluffy Quinoa. Fluffy Quinoa how-to.

Plus get my how-to for fluffy quinoa video!..

post updated 10/2017








Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) has become quite the trendy grain over the past few years (and actually it's really a seed). Well you can embrace the quinoa hype...

Quinoa is rich in protein (for a grain/seed), is gluten free, rich in fiber, magnesium, iron and more. See complete nutrition facts in this quinoa super food post. And see the quinoa plant here.

But the best part about quinoa is it's ability to get super fluffy in texture. More so than rice or even couscous. The quinoa "blooms" and unravels as it cooks and if you've set yourself up for success - the end result is a bowl full of fluffy snowflake-like quinoa that is delicious, healthy and very versatile! Serve it warm or cold. Sprinkle quinoa onto salads, serve as a side dish, use in place or rice in recipes, fold in chopped veggies, seeds, beans or nuts or even make 'breakfast quinoa' in place of oatmeal. Use in tacos, veggie burgers and so much more.









Your quinoa should be slightly unraveled to a bit more unraveled like this. Rinsing your quinoa well will usually produce a slightly more tender quinoa.

Also, brands and varieties of quinoa will vary.



The basic recipe. Look for further tips + explanation below.


Fluffy Quinoa

Kathy Patalsky

Published 10/08/2010

Fluffy Quinoa

This is how you make fluffy quinoa every time. Nothing soggy and overcooked. This quinoa process yields fluffy, lovely nutty quinoa in just over twenty minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water (use 2 cups if you like a moister fluffiness)
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Rinsing your quinoa first is optional. Rinsing the quinoa removes the natural coating called saponin. Sometimes unrinsed quinoa can have a bolder, nuttier and sometimes bitter flavor. If you do rinse your quinoa, reduce water amount to 1 1/2 cups since the quinoa will be slightly moistened from the rinsing process.
  2. Add the water to a soup pot. Add the quinoa and pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to a low boil. When the first signs of boiling begin, cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low-medium. Allow to simmer at this heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. When 15 minutes has passed, pop back over to the stove and turn the heat all the way off -- but DO NOT open the lid of the pot yet! This will upset the fluffing ability of all that trapped steam in the pot.
  5. With the heat OFF, walk away from the pot for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Return back to the pot and remove lid. Using a fork, fluff the quinoa a bit as the remaining steam escapes.
  7. You can sprinkle spices over top and fold those in or simply serve as is, warm and fluffy.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.

Total time: 25 mins.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 313kcal
  • Fat: 5g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Totalcarbs: 54g
  • Dietaryfiber: 6g

Tags: quinoa,how to, fluffy quinoa,side,vegan,dinner,grain,protein, gluten free,

Try my quinoa risotto: Almond Coconut Quinoa Risotto with Saffron Mushroom Gravy recipe here.

Pin it for later..


How-to Make Fluffy Quinoa Every Time: More Tips

Tip 1: Rinse it.
Rinse your dry quinoa in water before cooking. This removes some of the 'mush-promoting' grit on the grain. And may make the flavor cleaner and less bitter. You do not need to rinse, but it may be a good idea if you are sensitive to nutty or earthy flavors.

Tip 2: Less is More. (Water)
Most boxes of quinoa say to add 2 cups of water for every one cup of dry quinoa. I like to use a tad less. And remember if you are rinsing your quinoa you will be adding a bit more water anyways. For fluffy quinoa, less water is more. I do 1 part dry quinoa : about 1 1/2 parts water ratio - then I rinse the quinoa and drain as much water as I can. If I do not rinse,
I do about 1 3/4 cups water for 2 cups dry quinoa. Note: If adding in dry spices or other ingredients like onions or chopped greens before cooking the quinoa, you may want to increase the water a bit too.

Tip 3: No Peeking!
Once you close that pot lid over your cooking quinoa - no peeking! No stirring! You don't want to disturb the quinoa fluff factory bubbling inside by releasing the precious steam.

Tip 4: Let it Sit.
After cooking and before you lift the lid, turn OFF the stove and in the words of Kelly Clarkson, "Just Walk Away." Let the quinoa sit for a good 5-10 minutes. Again - no peeking!

Tip 5: Stick a Fork in it.
Fluff your cooked quinoa with a fork. No mush-enhancing spoons allowed. A wide slotted spatula also fluffs things quite nicely.





Spiced Quinoa Version:

Spices:




Spiced Fluffy Quinoa
vegan, makes 4 fluffy bowls of quinoa

1 cup + 2 Tbsp dry, unrinsed quinoa
1 2/3 cup water
dry spice mix:
sea salt (salt to taste! - I used 1 tsp citrus sea salt)
spices:
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder

optional: 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any veg oil)

Directions:

1. Measure out your quinoa. Add to a larger bowl and begin the rinsing process. I do 2-3 rinses. To rinse: fill the bowl with water, swirl the quinoa around a bit and carefully drain off the top water. The quinoa acts like sand a bit - a few grains float to the top, but they mostly sink to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat and repeat. You'll notice the water gets less murky after the final rinse.

Dry Quinoa:


Rinsing Quinoa:


2. Place your spices in a prep bowl and set aside. Measure out about 1 and 2/3 cups of water - set aside.

3. Toss your dry spices with the rinsed/drained quinoa until each quinoa grain is well coated with light spice. The wetness of the quinoa allows the spices to easily stick.

Fold in spices:


4. Place your large pot on stove and turn on heat. You can either add the water and bring to a boil. Or you can toast the spiced/rinsed quinoa in the dry pan, heat on, for a few minutes to bring out the nuttiness of the quinoa and spices. Your call. Today I simply boiled my water, then add my quinoa - it was yummy.

5. Bring quinoa/water to a boil. Cover pot with lid. Reduce heat to a simmer. Walk away for 12-15 minutes.

Lid on:


6. After around 12-15 minutes, walk over to the stove and turn the heat off. Walk away again.

7. After about 5-10 minutes remove the lid allowing a lot of steam to escape in a gush. Instant quinoa steam facial.

Lift lid:


8. Grab your fork and fluff the quinoa.

Fluff with fork:


Serve warm as is - or fold in a dash of nutritional yeast, seasoned rice vinegar, EVOO, apple cider vinegar, chopped veggies, nuts, beans - whatever you'd like. You can also chill your quinoa in the fridge and serve cold.

Fluffy quinoa! Bravo!

Serve!


Mushy Results? Troubleshooting:

* Leave the lid on longer after cooking. 15-20 mins or so.
* Cook for a few more minutes.
* Add even less water.
* Rinse your quinoa if you din't already.
* Try and try again.






This post was updated 10/2017

READ MORE

Stuffed Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


These vegan Stuffed Peanut Butter Cup Cookies are super fudgy and rich with peanut butter cup flavor in every bite. Rich chocolate cookies have peanut butter blended into the batter, and for a bonus surprise you can stuff a peanut butter cup in the center of the cookie, or you can chop cups into pieces and fold into the batter, your choice! I like the sweet surprise of the stuffed cookies, but the melty cup pieces also look very inviting and delicious.

Get baking this month with this irresistible dessert recipe!..

READ MORE