I am completing a challenge using the Oh She Glows cookbook (the first one). For this challenge, I am preparing 20 recipes from the book in one month’s time. To read Part I of this challenge and see the first ten recipes, click here.
Recipe 11: Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms
I had a ton of baby bellas leftover from the Easy Mushroom Gravy, and they were screaming to be used ASAP. Considering I already had many of the remaining ingredients for this sauce in my fridge, cupboard, and spice rack, this seemed like the perfect recipe.
I used to make my own marinara sauce on the regular, so this reminded me of my hardcore #FoodRevolution days, before I calmed the heck down. I was anxious about having actual chunks of tomato in this sauce (as opposed to pureeing them), but the sauce is well-flavored and the tomato soaked it all up nicely.
Recipe 12: Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie
So this was delicious. I was heavy-handed on both the ginger and cayenne. I will make again.
And again and again and again.
In fact, I later used this recipe to flavor a batch of kombucha. WIN.
Recipe 13: Enlightened Miso Power Bowl
This recipe is almost identical to the Empowered Noodle Bowl, but instead of soba noodles, it uses a quinoa base, and instead of icky cucumbers, it has lovely roasted sweet potato rounds. So basically, it’s like the noodle bowl, but 10 times better.
I was really hoping to have a photo for this one, but at the very end of my plating, I dumped way too much of the delicious Orange-Miso Dressing and essentially turned my beautifully styled bowl into a soup. 🙁 Thankfully, it still tasted fantastic, regardless of its soupy appearance.
I would definitely make this again.
Recipe 14: Chia Pudding Parfait
What is it with chia pudding? Am I cursed? I could not get mine to firm up. This was actually the second recipe I attempted in the challenge, but it kept not turning out. Each time I made it, there would still be several tablespoons of runny milk floating at the top.
Not wanting to waste any more chia seeds, I just went ahead and ate what I had. Because the pudding was so runny, I couldn’t really make the parfait like it’s pictured in the cookbook. I tried, but as you can see, it just turned into berries floating in soup. 😂
I have never eaten so many chia seeds in one sitting, so I was admittedly a little concerned about how many digestive system would react. This is a big hit of gelatinous fiber, which is obviously good for you but can be shocking if your intestines aren’t used to it. Sure enough, my body was like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!” but in a good way. It’s hard to explain.
More importantly, this was mega tasty. I will probably eat more chia pudding in my future. (I just have to figure out how to solve the soup problem.)
Recipe 15: Luxurious Tomato-Basil Pasta
I made this for my boyfriend and me (technically we made it together, but I basically only let him puree the cashews and then I did everything else). I was pretty nervous because he’s a bit of a picky eater. Italian food is something that generally pleases him, so this seemed like a safe bet.
I was right. While he appeared skeptical throughout most of the cooking process, by the time I stirred the basil and cashew cream into the tomato sauce, he became noticeably enthusiastic. “This is what heaven should smell like!” he exclaimed. He then proceeded to eat three servings of it. So I guess you could say he really liked it. Obviously, I did, too.
Recipe 16: Tropical Green Monster Smoothie
AKA Lauren tries another smoothie recipe even though she doesn’t like smoothies. After my positive experience with the Flu-Fighter smoothie, I was optimistic to try another. While this was certainly tasty, it was a bit too sweet for me, even with the added greens. I used spinach, so I wonder if kale would have balanced the sweetness out more?
On the other hand, this created the ultra-thick type of smoothie that I generally look for. I’m pretty sure anyone who likes smoothies would love this. Why don’t I like smoothies? What is wrong with me???
Recipe 17: Classic Hummus
Aaaaand best photo of the series goes to this beautiful bowl of hummus.
The best part of this was sprinkling different spice blends on top, scooping it all up with pretzels, and then sprinkling a new spice blend on the next layer. So many varieties! My “rustic herb” and Cajun spice blends were definitely my favorite.
And yes, you better believe I followed the instructions and peeled off the skin from every individual chickpea!!!
Recipe 18: Savory Loaded Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl
Oh hey, I made someone else’s oatmeal recipe! This was my first time working with red lentils (I had only used brown lentils before this), and I think it converted me. They cooked so fast!
The star of this recipe is all the toppings (hence being “loaded”). The oatmeal itself is pretty basic–standard savory goodness–but the variety of toppings are what create the party of flavors. My homemade hummus and the avocado slices added a cool silkiness, the green onion added a pow of freshness, and the chips (or pretzel chips, in my case) gave some crunch. I also topped mine with arugula because green things make me happy.
Recipe 19: Spa Day Bircher Muesli
I put this off until August 30th because I was dreading eating cold oatmeal–ha! I also had to overcome my hesitance of yogurt, which is not really my favorite ingredient. But all my hesitation was unnecessary because I gobbled this up. Would you believe I couldn’t even taste the yogurt? It tasted distinctly of apples and not like that artificial taste of nondairy yogurt. I was so pleased.
The recipe came with a variety of suggested toppings but I kind of just stuck in my comfort zone and topped it with PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter.
Recipe 20: Roasted Beet Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme, & Balsamic Reduction
I had one recipe left, and I simply couldn’t choose. This one ended up winning because it had the shortest ingredients list–ha! I got around using the oven for this one by buying pre-roasted beets from Trader Joe’s. I also toasted my hazelnuts on the stove instead of the oven. It’s too hot, y’all.
Normally, I don’t eat beets in large quantities like this. When I eat a beet, it’s usually 1–or even half of one–cubed into a salad. I can recall a few times a restaurant has given me a salad with beets, but there were so many that I couldn’t finish the salad. It wasn’t because I was full, but rather because I could no longer tolerate the beets. There are very few foods that will give me this reaction.
However, I demolished these beets. The hazelnuts and thyme were nice, but the real game-changer was the balsamic reduction. Also, mine was extra special because I was using Dark Chocolate Balsamic*. Yeah, be jealous.
*There are many specialty vinegar and olive oil shops scattered throughout the country (USA) that have this product (and many others that I obsessively hoard), and some of them even ship to you. Alternatively, you could get it on Etsy.
- Share food with others. When I’m making lots of recipes like this, the amount of leftovers can be overwhelming. Although I frequently with half the recipe (or even quarter it) to make just a single portion, I am still left with the leftover ingredients–half a head of cauliflower, for example–that will need to be used. This has encouraged me to share with my roommate and/or my boyfriend, and people love being fed (especially homemade guacamole!!!), so everyone wins.
- You get what you give. Sure, it might be easier and less intimidating to try all the easiest recipes with the shortest ingredients lists, but putting in a little extra effort is often worth it. This also relates to shortcuts: grating fresh ginger might seem like a pain, but the final product will taste way better than if I had used ground ginger.
- Avocado toast?! I can’t remember the last time I had avocado toast. So guess what I will be eating all next week???