Recipe: Vegetarian Hummus & Kale Tostadas (aka: Chalupa)

20131231-144444.jpg

Let’s just get down to the nitty gritty.

Is a flat, fried corn tortilla a tostada or a chalupa?

I’ve done some very, very scientific research on this matter (i.e. wikipedia and cafemom and food.com) and here’s my take:

A tostada is a toasted/fried flat or bowl shaped tortilla (usually made from corn) with toppings on it.

A chalupa is the shallow bowl tostada (unless you are going through the Taco Bell line in which case a chalupa is a soft-dough thick fried flour tortilla folded into “boat” form.

I wanted to clear that up before any fights ensued. Granted, apparently these terms vary by location, so it might be different where you live and eat!

Either way, my husband made me the most amazing tostada/chalupa today for lunch! I baked and fried some corn tortillas for tostadas the other day for the fam (which were also super yummy) and we had two left, so my hubs made up his own invention and I. loved. it.

(By the way, there is no question which of us is the better cook: HE is. Hands down.)

20131231-144502.jpg

Vegetarian Hummus Tostada/Chalupa

  • 2 tostadas/chalupas*
  • 1/2 cup of hummus
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup of chopped kale or greens
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • (For vegan: substitute pine nuts in lieu of the feta)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together hummus, feta (saving a few pieces for topping), and kale.
  2. Spread it over the tostadas.
  3. Top with a few more pieces of feta and the tomatoes.
  4. Eat!

I know it’s simple, and didn’t really need a “recipe” but it was just so yummy and so something I’d never thought about that I had to share! Props to my love, Mr. Chord Dice, for making me lunch! I wasn’t even going to post today but it was so yummy I had to share!

* Here is the recipe that I used for making tostadas

  1. Lay them flat on the oven rack at 250° for 7 minutes (keep an eye on them and take them out earlier if they are too brown).
  2. Heat up a skillet with 1/4 inch of canola oil on medium-high (I actually used half canola oil and half coconut oil because I ran out of canola)
  3. With a pair of tongs, lay the tortilla into the oil for about 20-30 seconds using the tongs to push it down into the oil, then flip it over and fry it for an additional 20 seconds.
  4. Lift the tortilla out of the pan allowing the oil to drip off and place the tortilla on a towel-lined plate (or, if you are green like me, put it on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath it so that the oil just drips onto the cookie sheet).
  5. Finish with the rest of the tortillas!

And because I am the queen of selfies, I had to take one with my tostada/chalupa! Haha!

20131231-140820.jpg

Day 685: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us.

And so are the blog posts.

My email inbox has been inundated with all kinds of recipes that could meet any, and I mean, ANY dietary need. Gluten-free, low-carb, fat-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers. You name it, someone’s made a Thanksgiving recipe to go with it.

{And really, I do understand why a lot of people need and want those recipes.}

Right now, though, I am not thinking about recipes, or ingredients, or calories, or weight.

But I am thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what I’m thinking about doesn’t really fit into a recipe. And it isn’t really diet advice. And it isn’t even really about food at all.

I’m thinking about what Thanksgiving really is.

And I’m thinking that I need to celebrate. You see, I looked up the word Thanksgiving at dictionary.com just cause I was curious. I mean, I remember in elementary school there was all the talk about the Pilgrims and the Indians and there was a big deal to do with like, I dunno, corn or something (which I always find funny because I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving during which my family ate corn). Anyway, the definition said, Thanksgiving: a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

It doesn’t say anything about food. It’s just a celebration. And as I’ve learned over the past 685 days of this covenant…

20131125-082621.jpg

A celebration does not have to be about food.

I can celebrate God’s favor by running around with my little kids in the leaves making a point to play so hard I come back into the house looking like I raked the yard with my hair.

I can celebrate God’s kindness by asking my mother to tell me a few stories that she recalls about my Mamaw being kind as we mourn her absence and yet celebrate that she has gotten to spent the past year in heaven.

I can celebrate all that God has done for me by cleaning the dishes for my Aunt Martha who is going to get to host our family Thanksgiving for the first time in ages!

I can celebrate all the kind words God has written on my heart by sharing a kind word of encouragement with each of my family members. My mother for defending my happiness all my life. My father for teaching me how to laugh at myself and the world around me. My brother for teaching me that there is only one place where the bible is wrong: there truly isn’t a friend that is closer than a brother. My husband for always, always, always allowing me to dream and plan and think and imagine even when my dreams and plans and thoughts and imaginations are not feasible.

And I can celebrate the freedom and forgiveness that Christ has given me, both eternally and here on earth, by focusing on blessing those around me this Thursday instead of focusing on the food around me.

I can look for as many ways as possible to BE the celebration instead of thinking about GOING to a celebration.

See?

Even just thinking of these things and I’m already SO looking forward to Thanksgiving, but my thoughts have nothing to do with sweet potato pie, or green bean casserole, or even that huge bird.

In fact, all of that seems so very insignificant compared to the kind of Thanksgiving I’m now planning.

Because I am planning on spending this Thanksgiving focusing on acknowledging the divine favor and kindness of my God and my Savior.

For He is truly my Thanksgiving.

 

20131125-102136.jpg

Recipe: Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Okay, so admittedly, this recipe was born solely from the fact that my husband was bugging me to use the big ol load of kale I got at the store on Monday and had yet to cook. So, I did a little once over of what we had in the fridge and then mentally recalled my Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl and just went for it (although I was totally not in a cumin mood, so I changed this one up to be more Italian).

Before we get started: Oh. my. goodness. I learned that you can make quinoa in the RICE COOKER! Hellllllllo. I totally would have made wayyyyy more quinoa before now (which, for the record, I call the stuff Queen-waa and even though I know that’s wrong, I think I’m gonna keep my way – hehe)! Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has trouble with it…

how to pronounce quinoa

Okay, sorry for that tangent.

On to the recipe! (By the way, I post most of the recipe pics at the end of the post… most of us just want to get to the recipe, but if you are into gawking at food, then I have included the pics just for you!)

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - stovetop bottom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

A little tip: As you chop and slice, combine ingredients that will go in the pan at the same time into the same prep-bowl. Bowl 1: carrots and tomatoes. Bowl 2: squash, zucchini, green onions. Bowl 3: mushrooms. Bowl 4: kale.

  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 2 handfuls of salad tomatoes, halved
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 “stalks” of kale, cut off stems, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix whose ingredients compare)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa if you have yet to do so.
  2. Bring four cups of water to a boil and then turn down to low. (You’ll need this in a minute to blanch the kale.)
  3. Heat a pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two then add in the Ana’s Herbs and allow to saute for several more minutes (this sorta “reactivates” the dried herbs). Add more oil to keep the herbs from burning if necessary.
  4. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, mix together with herbs and let cook for three minutes.
  5. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and let them cook for three minutes.
  6. Add in the squash, zucchini, and green onions and let them cook for three minutes. {Ya seeing a pattern here yet? Hehe!}
  7. Add in the mushrooms and let them cook for… yep, three minutes!
  8. When you add in the mushrooms, pour the kale into the hot water and allow it to blanch while the mushrooms cook. No longer than three minutes!
  9. When the mushrooms are finished move the pan off of the heat, strain the kale, and combine it with the veggie mixture in the pan.
  10. Serve it over the quinoa as soon as you can because kale is at it’s best (and prettiest) when it is still bright green!

For the record: my husband said “Wow this is gooooood.” at least 7 times, which is the biblical number of perfection, so I’m going to deem this recipe a success!

And here are a few preparation pictures…

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - tomatoes

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - squash

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - mushroom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - kale

Day 640: Veggie Tacos Recipe

I love tacos.

They are so flipping easy and customizable to each person’s tastes and they are just downright yummy.

But tacos, in the original sense, are categorically UNvegetarian and UNvegan. So, like I love to do… I made my own version of them vegetarian style. Of course, to make them vegan, you’d just leave out the sour cream and maybe glop on some guacamole instead.

Plus, if you have carnivores in your life then you can make regular taco meat in a separate skillet and appease everyone! They just might even try the vegetarian option and realize that maybe being a vegetarian isn’t all that bad after all! (Cause honestly, I now prefer veggie tacos to meat tacos.)  Serve these with a small bowl of my favorite Black Bean Soup recipe and you’ll DEFINITELY win them over!

veggie tacos

Veggie Tacos

Ingredients

  • Avocados (I’d suggest 1/2 an avocado per person)
  • Chopped or shredded lettuce
  • Button mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will work)
  • Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or regular chopped tomatoes)
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cilantro (optional… but gosh, why WOULDN’T you use it!?!?! Hehe!)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, saute the mushrooms and onions on medium-high in olive or coconut oil for a few minutes and then sprinkle with taco seasoning (to taste) and saute for a few more minutes.
  2. Toss in bell peppers and saute until firm-tender.
  3. Arrange in tortillas (A little trick, if you put sour cream or guacamole in the bottom of the tortilla it will help to keep the other juices from “dissolving” your tortilla) and spoon in sour cream/guacamole, mushroom mixture, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and top with avocado slices!

Day 635: The Diet That’s Not A Diet

more jesus

I thought about doing Paleo.
For like a day.
Being vegetarian/sometimes vegan is just so… easy for me now.

No defrosting.
No cross-contamination.
No hormone or non-hormone worries.
No lean or not lean.

It just matches me.

BUT.

Props to you people doing Paleo. or Vegan. or Weight Watchers. or WHATEVER!

And that’s one of the things that I love so much about The Covenant Diet… it’s not A diet! It really should be called The Covenant Life (but that website was already taken – ha)!

The thing is – so much of a successful lifestyle change comes from the heart and not the mind. I can count calories for six-months straight but if I haven’t had a change of heart about food, I’ll probably just revert right back.

And this is our goal. We are trying to shift from a food-focus to a faith-focus. Because we need Jesus just as much, if not more, AFTER our diet is over than we did during it.

When the compliments stop.
When another salad is just NOT what you really want.
When your mom makes her infamous chocolate chip cookies again and you haven’t had them in soooooo long.

THAT is when we need Jesus to remind us of our freedom from food.

And so it doesn’t matter at that point if you are vegetarian, vegan, rawist, whatever… what matters is that we work on refocusing our minds. What matters is that we allow Christ to redirect our attention to Him over and over and over again. What matters is that we don’t “go” on a diet but that we live in health and freedom.

And THAT is what The Covenant Diet is really about.

Day 616: Seven-Day Daniel Fast

seven day daniel fast

Tomorrow I start another seven-day Daniel Fast! Several of you joined in for the Four-Day Daniel Fast and I know that it was as eye opening to a lot of you as it was to me. It was the first time that I had felt that freedom from food in months.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t make mine a Rest-Of-My-Life Daniel Fast. Honestly, I think that God is working on me with that one with the whole “shoulda done a LIFEstyle change instead of a YEARlong change”. But hey… that’s why this is a journey, right?

Here is, admittedly, a copy-paste of the information from the Four-Day Daniel Fast

If you are still more curious about a Daniel Fast, here is a website that I used the first couple of times I did one. And danielplan.com is also a great resource if you click on Food and go to recipes! Now, I will say this: I think that there are different “levels” of Daniel Fasting.

- Daniel Fast: veggies, fruits, nuts, and water (I’m doing this one this week…. Oh, and I consider beans as veggies)
- Organic Daniel Fast: all of the above using organic produce
- Flexible Daniel Fast: all of the above and then add any or all of these items: breads, pastas, beans, rice, coffee, tea, cheese, eggs, fish (this is the one that I do usually)
- Specific Fast: if you are aware of your area of weakness (aka: addiction) then you can fast from only that, e.g. fast from sugar or fast from snackies like chips

Now one note: I don’t worry about salad dressings or sauces… I just include them and don’t worry about their ingredients. It’s already a big sacrifice for me to cut out rice, pasta, bread, cheese, and fish that I’m getting the spiritual message here without leaving out the sauces. Plus, like I said, I can still feed my family this way!

As far as menus go, I’m going to follow a lot of the same things from the four-day Daniel Fast and just mix it up a little bit. After all, it’s been almost two months since we did it and so I think that a lot of the recipes could easily be repeated again.

Day One

  • Breakfast: fruit smoothie: take any fruit you want and blend it using water as the liquifier. I usually combine a handful of frozen blueberries, six or seven strawberries, a frozen banana that’s already been sliced, four or five inch frozen mango slices, and four or five inch frozen pineapple slices. I use a Ninja… and it makes a yummy smoothie. If you don’t have frozen, then just incorporate some ice!
  • Lunch: salad with carrots, celery, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and dressing
  • Dinner: Caribbean Black Beans , fruit bowl, side salad
    • you can have these with rice if you are choosing to do a fast that includes grains
    • If you have someone in your family that is not fasting with you, then you can throw in some ham at the end after you’ve pulled out the ham-less version for yourself

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

  • Breakfast: Just found these! Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Veggie Lettuce Wrap: Large “sheets” of romaine with avocado, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, diced red bell pepper, sunflower seeds,
  • Dinner: Black Bean Soup (this is, by far, one of my favorite recipes of all time!) We don’t eat anything else with it, but I’m sure any side that would be good with enchiladas would be great with this too!

Day Five

Day Six

  • Breakfast: Granola with Almond, Coconut, or Rice milk
  • Lunch: We really haven’t had too much salad so far, so let’s have one for lunch today! Here’s a bit of a guide for a super yummo salad! Build a Perfect Salad
  • Dinner: Mexican Baked Potatoes… these are really, really, really yummy! Even my hard-work-farming father-in-law is a fan!

Day Seven

  • Breakfast: Let’s have the rest of our Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Easy Rice and Beans
  • Dinner: Veggie Tacos (I’m actually going to post this one tomorrow… but super easy, all you’ll need are tortillas, lettuce, avocados, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomatoes… sour cream and cheese if you are eating dairy)

And, of course, it’s not about the food but about what your heart and mind are doing while you are not eating, while your are cooking, while you are eating, and when you have finished. We are focusing on the One.

Day 580: Losing Weight Is Great, Buuuuut…

Okay, so tomorrow marks 2 weeks since I started my Daniel Fast/Plan.

(Which reminds me that I need to talk about the difference between the two in a post sometime! I haven’t forgotten! Well, I mean, I have forgotten, but I haven’t like… forgotten, forgotten. Ya know? Great!)

Anyway, so tomorrow is 2 weeks. Only 14 days of being essentially a vegan but even more hard-core than that. I’ve been eating only fruits, veggies, and nuts except for two times when I’ve had rice with my meal. No cheese. No pasta. No bread.

And it’s weird… I’m not, like, dying or anything.

On the contrary, I’m probably having the exact OPPOSITE effect on my body! I’m probably earning myself some extra days for every meal that I eat like this.

And I won’t lie and say that I haven’t been THRILLED at the fact that I have obviously lost some weight in just those two weeks. I mean, y’all know that I don’t weigh any more after Day 118: Trippin, but I can tell in my clothes BIG time. I mean, I’m not like rockin a size 4 after two weeks or anything but I am fitting much more nicely into my shorts again. And my face… it looks completely different already. Maybe none of that is noticable to anyone else, but I know it… I see it… I feel it.

BUT.

That is not why I am feeling blessed tonight.

I’m feeling blessed because it has been two weeks of freedom again. And especially because I know that this time it’s for the long-haul. As each day passes and I feel more and more free and less and less wrapped up in FOOD THINKING, the more I know that I want this to be me… forever. No more 1-year contracts or 5-year contracts with God. Forever.

And friends… it is good to think about being free… forever.

free is better

Day 574: All Figured Out

I think I’m going to stop saying “I got it all figured out.”

I’m gonna even stop thinking it.

Because that always seems to backfire. And then I have to LEARN something that God wants to show me.

Okay, a bit of sarcasm about the “learning” thing there… I always LOVE that I had to learn something, AFTER I have “finished” the learning.

And, well, for the past seven months I have been doing a lot of learning.

A lot of learning, the hard way.

I’ve been learning that God is not a quick fix.
God is not a Weight Watchers plan.
He is not Jenny Craig.
He is not Atkins. South Beach. The Zone.
The Lord of the Universe is not Slim Fast.
Or Advocare. Or Plexus. Or Body by Vi.*
God is not even a Daniel Fast, biblical though it may be.

God is His own plan.
And God has His own plan.
And His plan is not made or designed or produced by us.
His plan was intricately woven in Heaven.
Thousands of years ago.

And as much as it hurts sometimes, His plan involves us going down painful roads. Roads of confusion. Roads of disappointment. Roads of trial.

So, that’s why I made that insta-whatever-you-call-it today. (And puh-lease ignore my typo in it… I swear I proofread that thing a zillion times and still missed it!) Because it is so very, very important to remember in those moments of pain, confusion, disappointment, and trial… it is so very important to remember that GOD IS WORKING OUT HIS PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

But he is.

So when you can’t button those “fat jeans”… pray that He would help you.
When the scale is ten pounds more than you hoped for… pray that He would heal you.
When your doctor tells you that you are now a type II diabetic… pray that He would guide you into health.

Because God WILL work out His plans for your life. It is not over. Stay by Him. His faithful love endures FOREVER.

Psalm 138 prayer…

Oh God, help me to see You as you work your plan for my life. Help me to know that your faithful love, God, that it endures forever. Please don’t abandon me, God, because you made me. I am yours. I pray that as soon as these words leave my lips that you will answer me and encourage me by giving me strength. I praise you now for your unfailing love and faithfulness. I give you thanks God with all that I am. Help me and guide me and love me. Oh God, love me. Amen.

.

*By the way, not dissing those diets if they work for you… they were “quick fixes” for me, that’s why I listed them here.

20130806-203428.jpg

Day 572: The Change

I recently had a major “purging” session with my blog friend finneyfer on facebook.

And I can just tell you how great it is to have a blog friend? I’ve never met her in person, I just stumbled on her blog one day “on accident”, I don’t even necessarily follow the same diet plan as her (yet)… but she has been one of the biggest encouragements to me over these past months as I have struggled and struggled with my eating.

I was recently asking her to write a guest post for me about getting motivated/staying motivated and here are a few of our convos. I’m including this conversation because I feel like there are probably several people out there that are also STRUGGLING with this!

After asking her to write the post, I told her:

This post is SO MUCH for me as well… I’m genuinely struggling. My previous motivation of God, between you and me, has just petered out and I just. don’t. care. And I want to care. I know that I NEED to care. But I can’t seem to MAKE myself care. I have crossed over from “sometimes” wanting to indulge, back into an hour-by-hour struggle. Like, I can make it until about noon and then whatever resolve is GONE.

She replied…

20130804-144817.jpg

This was a BIG message to me. It started me back down the right path of thinking… away from the food issue and more towards getting my mind right! But at the time I told her:

Honestly, my “mental” is just… broken right now. But in ALL areas of my life. I don’t really want to parent. I don’t really want to read my Bible. I don’t really want to be a good wife. It’s all just… meh. TERRIBLE!?!?!?!

She then asked, If you think it won’t completely derail you, why can’t you take a break? Not necessarily from eating properly, but maybe from beating yourself up when you do make poor choices. And this was when answering her question brought me to my own answer.

Not sure… I mean, honestly, I’m hardly following anything of the sort right now. I’m not beating myself up per se, it’s just that I want so bad to be FREE again and I just feel entrapped again. It’s not even necessarily about weight or health. It’s about that freedom from food. I think a big part of it is just what you said… you made a life change. I made a year change and then it all sorta fell apart.

BAM.

Right there at the end. “You made a life change. I made a year change and then it all sorta fell apart.”

That was the problem. I realized it right then. I was still trying to fix this problem with a bandaid. A one-year bandaid. A five-year bandaid. But what it needs is a LIFETIME healing!

And that’s when I prayed:

Okay God. Let’s start over. Let’s go back to the beginning. A Daniel Fast. A little one. Four days. I’ll get some people to do it with me and I will open my heart to You to show me what to do.

And God is good.
He showed up.
In a little four-day Daniel Fast.
He showed up!

 

Four-Day Daniel Fast: Thank You

20130803-065851.jpg

I really want to say “Thank you” for the past four days.

Of course, to God. Okay, really, only to God… because through Him it’s all possible. Through Him I knew what a Daniel Fast was. Through Him, I was able to keep my focus and resist things that have been haunting me for months, for years, heck… for my entire life. Through Him I have been brought to a point of knowing that I needed to eat better, that I needed to take care of my body, that I needed to honor Him through EVERY part of my life.

But really, I also want to say thank you… to you guys. For doing the four-day fast with me.

You see, I needed to remember that it was possible… possible to resist. And I knew that two things needed to happen:

1) I needed to start small. Very small. A typical Daniel Fast is 21 days and I just knew that was not where I needed to start. Four days just seemed so feasible this time.

2) I needed some major accountability. That’s mainly why I asked you guys on my facebook and twitter to do one with me.

And when I said that I’d offer up menus and recipes… yeah, I really originally meant it for you guys, but it helped me A TON! Having a plan for every meal took all of the guessing game out of it. When I was knocking against those pangs of hunger, I didn’t have to think what I was going to eat – I already knew! And I was like, well, my friends said they were going to do it so I want to stick by it with them, so I went to the store to make sure I had supplies.

For the first time in months I have been able to eat “right” for four days in a row. Sugar and chocolate were again not temptations for me. I felt so… free. And I see why Daniel chose to not eat rich or eat meat for those three weeks while he prayed… he wanted to be free of the distractions. He knew too from when He was captured: he knew the power of food over the body. And he saw what it could do for a person when coupled with the guidance and power of God.

So, I am doing another four days… still praying to God, still eating wonderful food, still be blessed, and best of all…

still feeling free!

.

Photo cred: Andrea Howey on instagram (she is the best instagram account to follow, by the way!)