Not everyone knows how to cook but anyone can learn…

I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen and learning new recipes. Growing up I had lots of cooking role models: my parents, my grandparents, my great grandma, my aunts and uncles and later on, my friends and co-workers. I’ve also always loved cooking shows and any other “food-related” shows (Especially Master Chef, I love Chef Ramsay!). Now that I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom, one of my job duties is to cook for my family and I have to say, that takes up about 40% of my day.

Back before I became vegetarian two years ago, my cooking looked very different from how it looks now; I used to make dishes with all kinds of ingredients not really caring about health content, calories or source; I just wanted to make delicious food. Two years ago things changed, I believe for the better, and now I can say I still cook delicious food but what goes in it is very different and much more health-conscious than before.

I can’t say I was an expert on healthy cooking, much less vegetarian cooking. Also, I knew in my mind what “healthy food” was, but before then I wasn’t fully convinced that “healthy” was the way I wanted to eat. Once the lightbulb turned on in my head and I decided to make the change, I was ready to do the research, put in the work and embark on a new journey.

First thing I did (of course) was Google as much as I could about vegetarianism; then I read a bunch of blogs that talked about it. I also found some awesome people who personally took the time to help, educate and inspire me to follow this path (if you’re reading this, you all know who you are). Then I got some “vegetarian cook books” and my good ol’ friends Pinterest and Instagram also came to the rescue.

So there I went, cooking away three meals a day, seven days a week (except for the occasional dining out of course) and I have to say I was pretty successful at it. But then one day, through a good mommy friend of mine who is also vegetarian I found out about Miss Karina Paz Kennedy aka Chef Karina (@chefkaryma on Instagram).

Chef Karina offers cooking classes for adults and children from beginners to advanced levels. She also offers workshops in colaboration with a Nutritionist and covers not just the cooking part but also healthy tips to live a healthy life.

I’ve been to three sessions with her and I have loved every single one of them. She’s very personable, super friendly, she helps you throughout the class and she answers every question you might have (aka she’s very patient when we have no clue of what we’re doing). You can tell she does this for the love of cooking and because she wants people to learn the ways of healthy cooking and healthy living.

image image

The first class I took was “Granos, Semillas y Superalimentos” (Grains, Seeds and Superfoods) and we learned all about cooking with those food groups and incorporating them in to our diet. The next one was “Cocina Italiana Vegana” (Vegan Italian Food) and we made things like cauliflower crust pizza, marinara from scratch and vegan pana cota.

The third class was last night and it was SALADS. You think, “Salads? what’s so hard about salads that I have to take a class for it?”…well, let me tell you that once you learn how to make amazing salads that look like they came from a restaurant kitchen and that you paid $12 for each one but it was actually you that made it in your own kitchen, you’ll understand my excitement.

Spinach Salad with creamy dijon dressing

We had a great time making these salads and it’s actually kind of funny because in the past I used to quote Homer Simpson and say “You don’t make friends with salad!” anytime I had the option of choosing a salad vs a plate of meat…and now I look for salads, make salads and actually like eating them as a meal.

They came out so delicious and so full of flavor. Chef Karina always tells us, “a complete and balanced meal should have a protein, a grain and a healthy fat aside from your vegetables”, and that’s exactly what these salads are, Full Meals on their own because they have all the components. And yes, the protein IS there, it’s plant-based so we used tempeh, seitan, seeds and even avocado, all great sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Just to give you an idea, here’s some of the salads we made:

Green Salad

Avocado Caesar

image

Thai

image

Red Salad

image

Greek

Greek Salad

All of these can technically be made at home in about 20 minutes tops (give or take on ingredients that have to be roasted or toasted) and just look at them! They’re amazing!!

So I’d like to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to join a local cooking class wherever you live, to do it! and if you’re in our neck of the woods, check out Chef Karina’s Facebook page or Instagram for upcoming class and workshop dates. They are held in Tijuana (in Spanish), they’re fun and best of all…you get to eat what you make in class!!! (I bet you can’t say that about your calculus class).

Here’s her info, contact her for questions. She also offers catering and will make dishes upon request. (Prices and dates vary)

Email: kpazkennedy@gmail.com

Instagram: @chefkaryma

FB: Taller de Cocina con Chef Karina

Now I can honestly say “I make GREAT friends with salad!”

~Mrs. H

 

Mexican Lentil Soup (Lentejas)

Lentil soup

I’m Mexican so Mexican dishes play a big part in our diet. Sometimes people have the misconception that “ethnic” recipes have to be very rich or high in calories, or that meat has to be the star of the dish. Well, in many cases around the world that’s not true; for the dishes that do require meat as an ingredient, thanks to this little blog, I will prove to you that it is NOT necessary and I will open up your mind to the possibilities of delicious substitutions. Woohoo!!!

This recipe is one of my favorites and we actually eat this quite often. A naturally vegan dish that’s packed with healthy plant-based protein and vitamins. And no, don’t let anyone fool you and tell you it has to have bacon in it. It’s Lentil Soup or Sopa de Lentejas. 

Here’s what you need: (makes about 8 portions)

•1 pckg of dry green lentils

•Water for boiling

•1/2 can of tomato sauce**

•Finely chopped veggies (zucchini, carrot, potato)

•1 tomato, 1/2 onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeño (optional for spice) all finely chopped

•Olive oil (about 2 tbsp)

•Salt and pepper or non-MSG veggie seasoning or “boullion”

•2 tbsp of liquid aminos (Braggs brand) optional *

•Avocado for topping

Boil the lentils in the water according to package instructions (should be around 25 minutes). In the same pot add the veggies (zucchini, carrot, potato…). In a separate pan add oil and sauté tomato, onion, garlic and jalapeño for a few minutes until they’re soft and releasing liquid.

Once the lentils and vegetables in the pot are cooked and tender, add the veggie sauté from the pan and stir. Add seasoning to taste and let simmer for a few more minutes. Add more water if it gets a bit thick. Done!!

Serve and top with avocado slices and some hot salsa on the side.

Lentejas

*Liquid aminos are soy-derived protein that contains 16 amino acids the body needs. They come in liquid form kind of like soy sauce and they have a very similar taste. They’re gluten-free, non-GMO, no chemicals, no preservatives, no artificial anything and you can use them as a seasoning, as a dressing or as a condiment. You’ll see I use them in many dishes to enhance flavor instead of using other artificial sauces or seasonings.

**I might not mention the word ORGANIC on every ingredient in the recipe but I strongly suggest you buy as much organic as possible. Most of the ingredients I use are organic and/or non-GMO.

Buen Provecho!!



 

Soy Mexicana así que los platillos mexicanos forman una gran parte de nuestra dieta. Hay gente que piensa que platillos tradicionales de ciertas culturas tienen que ser altos en calorías, o que el ingrediente estrella tiene que ser carne. Bueno, en muchos casos alrededor del mundo esto no es cierto; para los platillos que si requieren carne como ingrediente, gracias a este blog, comprobaré que no es necesario y te abriré la mente a las posibilidades de deliciosas sustituciones. Yayy!!

Esta es una de mis recetas favoritas y la comemos a menudo. Un platillo naturalmente vegano repleto de proteínas de origen vegetal sanas y vitaminas. Y no dejes que te digan que ocupan tocino!

Sopa de lentejas.

Necesitas: (8 porciones aprox)

•1 paquete de lentejas crudas

•Agua para hervir

•1/2 lata de salsa de tomate **

•Verduras picadas finamente (calabacitas, zanahoria y papa)

•1 tomate, 1/2 cebolla, 2-3 dientes de ajo, 1 jalapeño (opcional picante) todos finamente picados

•2 cucharadas de aceite de olivo

•Sal y pimienta o sazonador vegetal sin GMS o consomé de verdura

•2 cucharadas de aminos líquidos (Braggs) opcional *

•Aguacate para poner encima

Hervir lentejas de acuerdo a las instrucciones del paquete (25 minutos aprox). En la misma olla agregue los vegetales (calabacitas, zanahoria, papa). En otro sartén agregue aceite y sofría tomate, cebolla, ajo y chile unos minutos hasta que se ablanden y suelten jugos.

Ya que estén cocinadas lentejas y verduras, agregue la mezcla del sartén. Sazone al gusto y deje cocer unos minutos. Agregué más agua si está muy espeso.

Sirve con aguacate y salsa al lado.

*Aminos líquidos son proteínas derivadas de la soya que contienen 16 aminoácidos que nuestro cuerpo necesita. Son líquidos como la salsa de soya y tienen un sabor similar. Son libres de gluten, libres de OGM (Organismos Geneticamente Modificados), no químicos ni conservadores, nada artificial y los puedes usar como sazonador o como aderezo. Verás que los uso en muchos platillos para dar mejor sabor a la comida en lugar de usar salsas o sazonadores artificiales.

**No voy a mencionar la palabra ORGÁNICO en cada ingrediente de las rectas pero sugiero que compres productos orgánicos lo más que puedas. La mayoría de los ingredientes que yo uso son orgánicos y/o OGM.