Nutritious Camp Meals (& a Trip to Pacific City, OR!)

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Hello!  How is summer treating you so far?  I hope well!  It has been unusually hot here in Portland and it seems that everyone is melting.  I love the heat but it leaves me feeling super lethargic and lazy so by the time I get home from work, I don’t feel like turning on the stove and cooking.  I see many salads in my future 🙂

Last weekend, Nick and I went camping in Pacific City, OR.  We camped at a Tillamook County campground called Whalen Island.  It was a cute little, family friendly campground surrounded by an estuary that remains fairly shallow even at higher tide.  The campground is located near great places to go crabbing and fishing, bird watch, hike, and kayak.  We went out there to explore Cape Kiwanda and escape the heat of the city for a few days.

Camping at Whalen Island, OR | scottileona.com

On Saturday, we spent the day at Cape Kiwanda and all I can say is, wow.  That place is seriously beautiful.  I loved all the nooks and crannies where the ocean rushed through the rocks and made dramatic splashes that literally made us cheer.  The rock formations were intricate and gorgeously colored with various shades of tans, browns and reds.  We hiked all over the rocks and enjoyed some snacks while watching boats drive around Haystack Rock.  Reymie also really enjoyed her time running up and down the large sand dunes 🙂

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Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

I wanted to keep this trip as low budget and healthy as possible, so I prepped and packed our meals for the weekend.  Because we were in a regular campground (not one we hiked in to), we had our car nearby the entire time and were able to pack an ice chest.  We also have a great picnic basket with all the necessary dishes, a tablecloth, and a great side pocket for wine that makes it really easy to have fabulous outdoor meals.  Here is what we made and links to some of the recipes:

Saturday breakfast:

Flourless Almond Butter Banana Muffins | scottileona.com

Saturday lunch:

  • Tuna salad on rosemary bread (from Trader Joe’s) with avocado and spinach

Saturday dinner (my fave!):

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup | scottileona.com

Snacks:

  • Pita crackers, cheese, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, almonds and cashews, and of course, wine 🙂

To keep things simple at the campsite, I chopped the strawberries and cucumbers for the salad and prepped the dressing in a separate container at home.  The tuna salad, muffins, hard boiled eggs and the soup was also made beforehand.  With a little prep work at home, it is totally possible to get outside, explore, and still eat well and save some moo-la.

We drove home Sunday morning and opted for a drive-through coffee stand breakfast.  We were hoping to find a cute diner in one of the small coastal towns, but we quickly realized just how spoiled Portland has made us in our expectations for fantastic brunch options on a Sunday morning!

I hope you are gearing up for a safe and healthy 4th of July ❤

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Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup

Springtime in Portland

Spring is in full swing, which means the flowers are blooming and filling the city with bright colors!  It also means the weather is wildly unpredictable and the sun is a huge tease.  Yesterday the weather alternated between sunshine and clear skies to hail.  It’s also still cold enough in the evenings that hail remained on the ground in our yard when I left for work this morning!

I have continued to keep the majority of my workouts indoors because of the continued chill.  I am still loving the 21 Day Fix Extreme program and have been mixing in a little more Brazil Butt Lift since, hey it’s almost summer 🙂  Additionally, I have slowly started to integrate running into my weekly routine again.  After the Portland Marathon, I took a long vacation from running but I have started to miss it!  I am still debating whether I want to race this year and which races I will do, but getting back out there in the early mornings is such a nice way to wake up and prepare for a hectic work day.  However, without a race deadline looming over me, if I wake up and hear rain I am definitely not putting on my running shoes.  It’s fair weather running for now.

Despite the continued wetness of the Northwest, our seasonal produce is evolving and we are getting closer to my favorite season for eating: Summer!  Right now, asparagus is in season and we have been getting plenty in our Organics to You delivery boxes.  Asparagus is a great anti-inflammatory food and also contains a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

Asparagus is also great for digestive support because it contains inulin, fiber and protein.  Lastly, asparagus contains B vitamins which are beneficial for blood sugar management.  So, eat up those green spears even if they do make your pee smell weird 😉

The chilly Spring evenings are keeping soup in style, so I whipped up this asparagus soup using potatoes and coconut milk to make it nice and creamy.  Topped with a little hemp oil for an Omega-3 and 6 boost and served with a salad or a fancy grilled cheese, this soup will keep you cozy and healthy 🙂  This recipe makes a large batch of soup.  We had enough for dinner for 2, plus at least three additional lunches to bring to work that week.

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup | scottileona.com

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ~2 pounds of asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces with stem ends trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Method:

  1. In a large pot, cook onion, celery and garlic in coconut oil until onion is translucent
  2. Add the potatoes, asparagus, vegetable stock, thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are just tender.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender (you may need to do this in two batches).  Blend until smooth.
  4. Return to the pot and stir in the coconut milk.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of hemp oil and coconut milk.

Enjoy!

Vegan Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” and Baked Rutabaga Fries

Howdy!  We have been so spoiled with sunshine-y early Spring days here in Portland and it has been hard to sit at a computer and write a blog post!  I don’t know what I would do if I was still in school 🙂  Nick and I have also dived head first in to hunting for our first home and that has been incredibly time consuming!  Despite its ups and downs so far, I think it has been interesting for both of us to take stock of what is important to us (location, bedroom sizes, yard size, amount of work the house needs, etc) and where we are willing to be flexible.  More to come on that in the near future!

The other night, we tried out a vegan “pulled pork” recipe I have seen floating around the internet and paired it with baked rutabaga fries.  I was prompted to try it after stopping by our local Asian Supermarket, where I found young Jackfruit in a can.  Jackfruit is a native fruit to parts of South and Southeast Asia and is related to the Mulberry family.  It is low in calories and rich in:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • And the seeds are high in protein

You can purchase Jackfruit whole or in cans – I have seen canned versions that are ripe in syrup or young in brine.  For this recipe, make sure you grab the canned version of young Jackfruit in brine.

Now on to rutabaga!  It’s not the prettiest vegetable, but this root is nutritious just the same.  It is also low in calories per serving and provides:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin B6

When roasted, a rutabaga has a texture similar to a roasted potato, making it a great alternative/option for healthier French fries!  Throw a chopped rutabaga in the oven while you prepare your pulled Jackfruit or other burger, and you won’t have to put too much thought into your side dish.

Since becoming pescaterian several years ago I have not craved meat, although I have heard of many people who do crave it.  I have never really been a fan of the texture of meat so I think that is why I don’t miss it.  However, if you are one of those people that miss the texture, OR you are cooking in a combo vegetarian/meat eating household like we are, OR you just want to find more fun ways to incorporate plant based meals into your dinner rotation, this is the next recipe for you to try out!

As I mentioned above, there are several versions of this recipe featured on fabulous blogs, but I used this one from the seriously beautiful blog Blissful Basil.

We served the pulled jackfruit on cabbage with grated carrot and avocado and a side of rutabaga fries.  A super veggie-filled, gluten free plate that tasted like good ‘ol diner food!

Vegan “Pulled Pork” Recipe

Serves 3-4

Adapted from the Blissful Basil

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 can of green, young Jackfruit in water or brine
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (we used Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce – a recent favorite find!!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Buns, cabbage, romaine – whatever carrier you would like to transport the goods to your mouth!

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic on a skillet over medium heat with olive oil until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
  3. Drain and rinse the Jackfruit in a strainer.  Cut the harder, triangular tip from the Jackfruit pieces and discard the core.
  4. Mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and brown sugar in a bowl.  Toss in the Jackfruit flesh and coat the pieces well.
  5. Add the seasoned Jackfruit to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk the water and BBQ sauce together and add to the skillet.  Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  7. Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the Jackfruit a bit.  Let it continue to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce is reduced.
  8. Spread the Jackfruit on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and stick in the oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy on cabbage (or buns) with toppings of choice.  We used grated carrots and avocado.  The Blissful Basil recommends pickled red onion, which sounds amazing!

Rutabaga Fries Recipe

Serves 3 (depending on side of rutabaga)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F (if roasting at the same time as the pulled Jackfruit, it’s fine to cook at 350*F, they will just take longer so put the fries in first)
  2. Peel and chop the rutabaga into long rectangles (or whatever shape you like your heart desires)
  3. Toss on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper.  These are also great seasoned with rosemary, thyme, or add some spice with cayenne or smoked paprika!
  4. Bake until lightly browned and crispy – about 30-45 minutes depending on oven temperature.

Ground Mushroom Tacos

Nick and I have an interesting and evolving balance of eating preferences in our house.  Nick is allergic to peanuts and other related legumes, such as lentils, garbanzo beans and soy.  (Thankfully, this allergy doesn’t include all nuts or beans!)  He also appears to have an intolerance to gluten so we are cutting that out.  He eats meat and I occasionally eat fish, but prefer to eat vegetarian the majority of the time.  So we have a range of things to balance around meal times, from allergies that could cause death, intolerance that causes discomfort/illness, to preferred eating styles.  Although it sounds really complicated, it doesn’t have to be and we have found ways to make it work.

By default, Nick eats mostly vegetarian and will occasionally buy chicken, ground turkey, and occasionally sausage to have with dinner or lunch throughout the week.  I will also make foods he can’t eat, like lentils or very occasionally tofu, to have for lunch or dinner when he isn’t home.  To save time and money, however, the majority of our meals are comprised of ingredients we can eat.  The meat/no meat thing is easy and I think we have gotten really good at that.  What is proving to be a little more tricky is our new conversion to little-to-no gluten.  It’s only tricky at this point because we have quite a bit to learn, particularly around gluten free baking.  For example, I excitedly purchased a large bag of gluten free all purpose flour and thought, “well that was an easy switch.”  That weekend I made some waffles with it and after one bite Nick asked what type of flours were used (his body reacts quick!).  I looked at the ingredient list and the first one listed was garbanzo bean flour!  Doh!  So begins the process of learning the many different flours and how they work…more to come on that!  Do you have multiple eating styles to balance in your house?  I’d love to hear how you do it 🙂

Mushroom Tacos, scottileona.com

One favorite recipe of ours that is both gluten free and vegan is Ground Mushroom Tacos.  The texture and flavor of the ground mushrooms is similar to ground beef, so these are great for those meat eaters that like their textures!  🙂  Furthermore, mushrooms can act has a faux meat in so many instances (think portobello burgers, mushroom gravy with biscuits, and mushroom marinara sauce) without soy.  They are also quick to prepare and this recipe will have dinner on your plate in 30 minutes or less, making it an ideal mid-week-stressed-to-the-max dinner.  Mushrooms also boost a great number of health benefits, including:

  • Naturally low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol
  • Rich in B Vitamins
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Only vegan, non-fortified source of Vitamin D (important for those of us dwelling in the Pacific Northwest!)

We also topped our tacos with healthful veggies, including kale, grated beets and carrots, and avocado.  Serve them with beans you cooked over the weekend to save time and add protein.  YUM!

Ground Mushroom Tacos, scottileona.com

Recipe

By Scotti Leona

Makes 5 tacos (Serves ~2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 red onion
  • 4 oz mushrooms (any kind will work, I used shiitake because that is what came in my CSA)
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 corn tortillas
  • Kale
  • Carrots and beets, shredded
  • Avocado

Method:

  1. In a pan, saute the onion in coconut oil until softened
  2. Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped
  3. Add the mushrooms to the onion and continue to cook a little
  4. Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and if you want a little spice, throw in some paprika or chilli powder
  5. Divide the mushrooms among warmed tortillas and top with carrots, beets, kale and avocado (or whatever you want!) 🙂

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Amaranth

A few months ago, I discovered amaranth at my local food co-op and decided to give it a try.  I had read about this lovely little grain in the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier and I first tried it out as a rice substitute in this stuffed poblano peppers recipe.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a tiny grain that looks a little like quinoa and packs a serious nutritional punch.  This gluten free grain contains:

  • Three times the average amount of calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C – Amaranth is the only grain documented to contain this!
  • Complete protein

I love amaranth because it cooks up quick and is super versatile.  In addition to using it as a substitute for rice, you can make it into porridge and eat it for breakfast!

To cook amaranth, rinse 1 cup under cold water.  Boil 2 cups of water on your stovetop and add the amaranth.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed.  To make a thicker porridge-like consistency, use a 1:3 grain to water ratio and mix in desired spices.

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Amaranth

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 cup cooked amaranth
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, grated (omit or use a dairy-free alternative to make this vegan)
  • Avocado, tomato, cilantro and lime for garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F.  Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem and seeds.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so to soften the peppers.
  2. While the peppers bake, mix the amaranth, beans, corn, cilantro and green onions in a bowl.  Add some cumin, cheyenne, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Remove the peppers from the oven.  Fill each pepper with the amaranth stuffing.  Top each with a little shredded cheddar cheese and place back in the oven until everything is warmed through and the cheese is melted.
  4. Serve with avocado, tomato, cilantro and lime.  Enjoy 🙂

Baked Vegetable Tempura and Soy Glazed Salmon

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Recently, Nick and I booked a two-week trip to Japan.  This trip is to celebrate my completion of graduate school and to just get the heck out and see the world!  We have been asked by almost everyone we have told, “Why Japan?” and our answer is, “Why not?!”  There are so many places all over the world we want to visit, so we had to just start by picking one and this year, Japan won!  We are so incredibly excited!

The night we booked the flights, we wanted to celebrate with a healthy Japanese-inspired food.  We made baked vegetable tempura and it was absolutely delicious!

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To make, you will need:

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  •  A bunch of asparagus
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • Panko bread crumps

 

 

The amount of each vegetable depends on how many you are preparing for.

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  1. Preheat oven to 450* F.
  2. Toss the chopped vegetables in whole wheat flour to lightly coat
  3. Dip each piece in a bowl containing the eggs, scrambled
  4. Next time the vegetable pieces into a bowl of Panko bread crumbs
  5. Line the veggies up in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until browned

 

 

 

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We served ours with a ginger soy glazed salmon.

To glaze the salmon, you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 salmon steaks
  1. Simmer the soy sauce and grated ginger in a small saucepan.  Once it starts to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey and mustard.
  2. Cook the salmon skin side up on a lightly oiled pan for about 5 minutes
  3. Flip over and spoon some of the glaze over the top
  4. Transfer the salmon to a baking sheet that is lightly oiled or lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
  5. Stick the salmon in the oven at 350* F until done, about 5-10 minutes.

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Nick made a dipping sauce for the tempura with Dijon Mustard, honey, Chinese hot mustard and a little champagne vinegar, but of course he didn’t measure anything out!  Play around with dipping sauces, those are fun to create with whatever you have in your pantry or fridge.  🙂

If anyone has traveled to Japan and has suggestions of things we must do, please share!

 

Carrot Greens Pesto

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I cannot tell you how many times I have purchased a bunch of carrots and simply chopped off their top leafy part and tossed it in the compost.  Recently, after I received my home delivery of produce, I was about to chop and compost my carrot greens and then…a lightbulb!  Maybe the greens are edible!  Maybe they are healthy!  Maybe they are even tasty!  So I hopped onto good ol’ Google and found some mixed messages.  On the one hand, carrot greens are touted to be:

  •  Full of Vitamin K, which is lacking in the carrot itself
  • Rich in protein
  • Rick in minerals and vitamins
  • Loaded with potassium
  • High amount of chlorophyll, which has been shown in studies to combat the growth of tumors, as well as having cleansing properties that purify the blood, lymph nodes, and adrenal glands

On the other hand, some claim they are toxic.  From what I could tell, the concern over carrot greens comes from their close relatives: poison hemlock, water hemlock, and the wild carrot (a.k.a. Queen Anne’s lace).

According to The World Carrot Museum website, the main reason there is a conflict between whether carrot greens are edible or not is because there are poisonous look-a-likes that are often mistaken for wild carrot.  Therefore, you should be certain of what you are eating.  Furthermore, the bitter taste that makes some weary is reportedly from the high amount of potassium the greens contain.  They also contain flurocoumarins, which may cause an allergic reaction on the skin when touched.  According to the World Carrot Museum, this only affects people with allergies to the plant specifically, which are often the same people who have skin allergies to yarrow, ragwort, and chamomile (hopefully you already know if you fit in that category!).  The World Carrot Museum website also states:

“The toxicity linked to carrot tops is the same toxicity issue with any greens.  That is that all greens contain alkaloids.  When you eat the same type of greens all the time (like if you had spinach all the time or carrot tops all the time) then the levels of that plant’s alkaloids starts increasing in your system.  Alkaloids are toxic in high amounts.  Therefore the rule of thumb is that you need to keep rotating your greens.”

I am not a doctor and cannot speak to which side of the debate is correct.  I can say, however, that I ate them, felt great, and thought they were delicious.  If you are in any way hesitant or concerned, please ask a health professional.

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In any event, I used my carrot greens to make a pesto.  They tasted a bit like parsley and went really well with quinoa, black beans and roasted vegetables (beets, broccoli and rainbow carrots).

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For the pesto, combine the following in a food processor:Image-2

  • Roughly chopped carrot greens
  • A couple cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I am estimating here, I did not write down exact measurements but you can start with less and add as needed)

Pulse until well mixed and add to vegetables, fish, meat, pasta, whatever you’d add a pesto to!

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Other ways to use carrot greens include:

  • Homemade mouthwash (carrot greens contain antiseptic qualities) 
  • Mixed in with a mixed green salad
  • Add to coleslaw
  • Use for garnish