Burrito madness

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe on the blog, but I can assure you that I’m slowly but surely eating my way through my Pinterest recipe board… Given that dairy (and my beloved feta cheese) is out of the picture for now, I’m more motivated than ever to test recipes and prove that you do not have to eat bland and boring food as a vegan!

I’ve been mildly obsessed with Mexican-style food lately, and there’s a slight chance I may have eaten some sort of burritos for dinner for a week straight. Ahem.

But c’mon you guys, the variations are endless and they taste so good!
Try these ones out for size… 😉

Spicy and smoky sweet potato burritos

Spicy + Smoky Sweet Potato Burritos

Makes 8 medium burritos, 4-6 large 

1 can of borlotti beans (or black beans, pinto beans)
2 whole sweet potatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 large red onion
1 jalapeño
1 fresh corn cob (or canned if that’s what you have in your pantry)
2 limes
1 good handful of fresh cilantro
Your choice of lettuce
Hummus (preferably homemade!)
*Salse and/or guacamole are always a good idea if you have them handy!*
whole-wheat tortillas

2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt & pepper

Spicy and smoky sweet potato burritos

Step 1 – Roasted veggies

  1. Peel your sweet potatoes and chop ’em up in small cubes along with your onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Put it in all an oven-proof baking dish.
  2. Coat with olive oil and throw in the spices. Mix well.
  3. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes; until the sweet potatoes are cooked all the way through. You’re gonna want to get in there and stir from time to time.

Step 2 – Make some burritos

  1. Heat tortillas according to instructions on package, and coat a smaller baking dish with olive oil. Drain and rinse your beans.
  2. When the vegetables are cooked, add chopped cilantro, lime juice, corn, and the beans.
  3. Fill your tortillas and roll ’em up, placing them tightly side by side in the baking dish. This way they’ll stay wrapped up, and they’ll come out nice and crispy.
  4. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown.
  5. Serve on a bed of lettuce and hummus on the side!

Spicy and smoky sweet potato burritos

The sweetness from the yams, the smoky cumin flavor, the spicy chilli…. YUM. 

These are excellent as a pre-made lunch option too! Wrap ’em up in foil (or for all you Norwegians: matpakkepapir 🙂 ) and keep them in the fridge for 3 days.

Too easy, mate 😉 

*I changed it up a little bit and made them vegan, but the inspiration came from this awesome recipe

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My demise as a wannabe-food blogger

I was lucky enough to provide a home for a brand-spanking-new DSLR camera this past June after I’d been rigorously saving up for months and months in advance.

(No, of course, not really. I’ve never been able to save up for anything. I’m more of a ‘wing it and spend it before they catch ya’-kinda girl. Tax return money, baby. They disappeared that same day and are now living a long and happy life with Canon Inc).

Anyway, I have a healthy (?) obsession with food blogs, and you wouldn’t believe the way the planets aligned for me perfectly that month…

  1. New fancy camera.
  2. Lots of free-time (and what felt like free money at the time) to try out recipes.
  3. Staying at home = Mom’s gorgeous kitchen.

It was like I was kid again playing dress-up and pretending to be a Disney princess!

Except, I’m an adult now, guys, so  instead I was having the time of my life playing with my alternate personality as a wannabe-protogé-fancy-food-blogger. No Disney princesses here. I took it seriously too; my family would be lucky if they got to dig in while the food was still warm. I would even cook stuff even if I wasn’t anywhere near hungry just so I could take pictures with my camera like a professional. Ah, those were fun times….

…which resulted in lots of picture like these:

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dill dressing

leeks anc chickpeas

IMG_0348Recipe found here

Well, guess where I am now? In student accommodation. Sharing an old and over-used kitchen with three other people who may or may not be less inclined to cook things from scratch than me. They may or may not de dependent on a spotless kitchen for their general well-being and/or sanity like I do. (I’m not suggesting anything here. Just sayin’.)

  1. New camera ➤ my trusted iPhone (it’s a little bit over-the-top to bring out my fancy camera to snap photos of my food… Even I can acknowledge that there would be some eye-rolls and whispers around the apartment).
  2. Lots of free-time and free money ➤ I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious: I’d like to meet the full-time student living abroad who’s rolling in free-time and money. So I can steal their identity and go on with my/their life.
  3. Mom’s gorgeous kitchen ➤ this one…. “It’s charming, it’s part of student life, it’s well-stocked, I have every single thing I need, all is well” = things I repeat in my head daily.

This is what my food pictures look like now:
(Cute, right?)

Minty Moroccan casserole, Happy Camper Project

minty moroccan casserole, Happy Camper Project————————————–

Oh well, we can’t all be food bloggers.

I hope I haven’t scared you off, though, because this dish is actually one of my staples and I promise you it’s delicious.

Before I joined the other side and became a vegetarian, it was a chicken casserole. If you do eat meat, I highly suggest you make this with cutlets of bone-less, skin-less chicken; you can easily skip the broccoli and carrots then. I call it “Moroccan”, and that’s really just because me and one of my dearest friends – who is half Moroccan – used to make some version of this all the time when we were living together in Egypt. She claimed her family used to make this kind of food all the time and her grandmother taught her how to make it, but really, I have no idea if she’s a credible source. She’s a bit cooky, that one – like me – so it might just be some idea she had in her head. Either way, here’s the recipe for…

Minty Moroccan Vegetable Casserole with Couscous
serves 4

1 head of broccoli
2 medium/large carrots
1 yellow onion
1 red sweet pepper
1/2 cup sweet corn
1/2 chilli
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh mint // personally, I prefer the minty fresh flavor, but you could skip the mint and use fresh coriander (cilantro) instead. My cooky Moroccan wonderful bestie would usually choose this route
1/2 jar of tomato sauce
450 ml cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 – 1.5 cup couscous // brown rice or quinoa would also be good
1 teaspoon of butter (optional)

  1. Get ready: Roughly chop up the broccoli, carrots, onion into bite-sized pieces. De-seed your chilli, peel your garlic cloves, and cut them up finely. Wash the mint (or other herb) and chop it up.
  2. Make the couscous: Take double the amount of water as the amount of couscous you plan to use, and bring it to a boil. When boiling, add the couscous and stir it with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper (the butter is optional, but I find it just makes the fluffiest, best couscous). When stirred, cover it with a lid and let it rest for 10-15 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the water.
  3. Make the casserole: Start with frying your garlic and chilli in a some cooking oil (whichever you prefer); then add the onion. When the onion is soft, add all other veggies and give them a good fry-up. At this point, add the mint and be generous with salt+pepper. Add the tomato sauce first and stir it in with all the veggies. You want to then add the cream, little by little, stirring as you go. When it starts boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Taste it now and then to see if it needs more flavor.
  4. Serve: …immediately and with a green salad, of course 😉 Gotta eat your greens!

…I’m not going to pretend I don’t miss playing around in Mom’s awesome kitchen… 

But at least, there’s always chocolate in the world.

Premium Organic Dark Chocolate, Happy Camper Project

 

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Recipes are for the cool kids

For someone who loves food as much as I do, it’s natural to have a certain obsession with cook books…

My approach to cooking has changed a lot over the years; not to mention what I like to cook. Some things never change, though. I love to bake, even now that I’m learning to bake without sugar, cream, white flour, and all that fun stuff I used to rely on. I make a mean lasagna (kudos to dad for teaching me). I’ve never been able to cook a steak, despite of my mother’s best efforts to teach me.

No matter where I’ve been in the world and no matter what kind of kitchen (or lack thereof) I’ve had to work with, trying out a new recipe that looks absolutely ah-mazing has never failed to get me jumping up and down like a little kid. And my main point here is that I love trying a new recipe.

How often when you eat something delicious and ask for the recipe do people answer, ”Oh this? It’s just something I threw together…” They wear it almost like a badge. Look how creative I can be in the kitchen! What recipe? I don’t need a recipe cause I’m *just that good*.

Umm… okay well, that was like 0% helpful…

The things I ”just throw together” in the kitchen are usually some week-night dinner version of a recipe I followed once upon a time. Yeah, it often comes out delicious and I love the fun in free-style cooking. But what gets me really excited is a brand new recipe to conquer. You never know how it’s gonna turn out! If it’s going to look and taste as good as in the recipe! Who doesn’t like competing with Jamie Oliver?? Oooh, I just love a good challenge 🙂 (even if he doesn’t know I totally won that one time with the asparagus+chicken risotto).

cookbook collage

1//2//3//4//

Here’s why it’s awesome to shamelessly declare where you found the recipe:

  • Admitting you followed a recipe does not make you any less of a cook!
    It only shows you actually made an effort and that you’re remotely interested in cooking. The meal will speak for itself – if people like it, they don’t care if you came up with it or found it in a cookbook. They care about how the food tastes, and that YOU cared enough to cook a meal for them in the first place 😉
  • You still get credit for it.
    If you hand over a recipe and a friend tries it out a week later, they’re not likely to call up foodnetwork.com or Nigella Lawson and say, ”Hey dude, great recipe! Owe you one.” They will however text YOU and say, ”Thanks for the recipe! It turned out great! You are awesome, my friend.”
  • Spread the love, yo.
    Fact: the world will be a better, healthier place if more people started cooking for themselves. The alternative is eating processed, pre-packaged food which, let’s face it, is slowly killing us. If I try out a recipe, share it with two friends, and those two friends each share it with two of their friends… you see where I’m going with this? So make good food – make real food – and spread the love.

My cookbooks

Want to see which recipes I’m currently dying to try out?
Hop on over and follow my recipe board on Pinterest!

Xx Christine

Mike Tyson Week + Guilt-free Pizzas

This week was my final “Mike Tyson Week”. 

What that means is that I had a crapload of stuff going on and things I needed to get done in the after-work hours, but as fate would have it I was scheduled for a lot of extra hours at work. Last time I had one of those weeks I said to myself “Let’s never do this again, ‘k? The extra cash just ain’t worth it when you have absolutely nothing to give to your clients by the time Thursday rolls around.” 

But alas – I like money. Especially when I’m three weeks shy of becoming a poor student.

The reason I like to think of it as Mike Tyson Week is because, 

  1. You gotta be a pro to pull it off (without whining).
  2. You gotta be a little badass.
  3. You can’t go crying to momma. Mike Tyson would never do that.
  4. You gotta put a little umph in your morning coffee.

I have to say, it actually went really well and I didn’t  feel overworked or overwhelmed like I had before. All that yoga and tree-hugging must be paying off given how hard it is to get me really stressed these days.

Still, when I got home from work on Saturday afternoon (because yes, I had a Mike Tyson shift on Saturday too), my hands filled with grocery bags… all I wanted to do was have the house to myself and go to my happy place:
The kitchen.

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It’s one of the few places where I get to disconnect from everything internet-related not look at a screen in any shape or form. It’s where my mind stops going a million thoughts per minute and just focuses on “come on, little garlic clove… peel for me” or “chop, chop, chop-WATCH THAT FINGER!-chop, chop”. Nothing gets in the way. It’s here and now – the perfect way to be completely present, which is something I find hard to do in every day life since I’m such an avid daydreamer.

Watching movies used to be my ultimate way to relax and get away from the world for a little bit (if you don’t know me; I’m a total film buff). But given the fact that I’ve been sitting in front of a computer every day at work this whole year, I haven’t been able to relax and enjoy movie-watching in the same way. My eyes are tired, my head aches, my body is screaming at me to go do something that doesn’t require focusing my eyes on a screen. Which is why lately I’ve been spending most of my Saturdays and Sundays in the kitchen with ridiculously time-consuming recipes; anything to keep me away from my Macbook…

I won’t go on about this any further – I’m just rambling at this point – but I just want to confirm that our parents were right: you will go blind if you don’t stop staring at that screen. Okay not really.. 😉 But it really is a good idea to tally up the hours you spend looking at a screen each day, look at that number and be shocked for 5 minutes, then… make that number lower. Genious, right? Someone get me my Mensa application.

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Oh, that’s right! The reason I started writing this post was to share a mind-blowingly awesome pizza recipe with you guys. No, you don’t have to give up on pizza just because you’re trying to make better choices with the food you’re eating. I’ll prove it to you! Proud to present….

End of Mike Tyson Week –> Reward Yourself Pizzas
Makes 4 small pizzas
Recipe adapted from here

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Easiest ever spelt pizza dough: 

– 3.5 cups/8 dl spelt flour + extra for dusting
– 1.5 tbsp dry active yeast
– 0.75 cups/1.75 dl lukewarm water
– 3 tbsp olive oil

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl
  3. Make a little hole in the middle of the flour and pour in the water/yeast and the olive oil. Start mixing it together from the middle with a spoon until you have to start kneading. And then…? That’s right, start kneading 😉
  4. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for an hour or two. (My dough didn’t really rise that much, to tell you the truth, but the pizzas still turned out great. So I wouldn’t worry even if the dough doesn’t double in size).

Tomato sauce:

– 1 can of crushed tomatoes
– 5 cloves of garlic
– 0.25 cups/0.5 dl olive oil
– Zest of 1 lemon
– A good handful of fresh basil
– 1 chilli
– Salt+pepper to taste

  1. Chop up the basil, chilli (finely), and garlic
  2. Heat the olive oil, garlic, and chilli over medium heat
  3. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil
  4. Add the basil and lemon zest and let it simmer for 15 minutes-ish
  5. Taste it and add some salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you’d like, you can also add some cayenne pepper.

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Where the magic happens: 

  1. Divide the dough into four parts (to make four small pizzas). Trust me – one small pizza is enough for one person! The spelt crust makes it really filling.
  2. Roll it out as thinly as you can. This was a bit tricky; if you’re expecting a really thin pizza crust then you’re sh*t outta luck (excuse my French). This is spelt dough we’re dealing with here, so it’s gonna be a little thicker than what you’re maybe used to.
  3. Put some of your awesome freshly made tomato sauce on there and add your favorite toppings! I obviously went for feta cheese because I would put feta cheese on EVERYTHING if they’d let me, put feel free to use “normal” cheese if you’re that way inclined. Red onions, peppers, corn fresh off the cob, some greens… whatever floats your boat! Pepperoni or ham or bacon etc would of course be really good on there for those who don’t want to go the vegetarian route 🙂
  4. Heat the oven to 350 F/200 C and cook for… oh, let’s say 10 minutes? Truth is I was too busy sitting on the floor in front of the oven drooling to actually time the pizzas. But I think it was like 10 minutes.

….I pretty much died and went to pizza heaven…. I’m making these every weekend, that’s fo’ sho’….. 

Xx Christine 

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