Ask Angela: A protein-packed lunch idea, tomato-free Cozy Stew, family meal times, and more

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 22, 2018

It’s spring, it’s spring!! I was outside the other day when it hit me that I can now officially say that winter is behind us (according to the calendar, anyway…I think it’ll be a while before it actually feels like it here). The winter of ‘18–’19 was a challenging one for me, and I feel so ready for a fresh start (I think I’ve said this about ten times so far in 2018!)  

I’m popping in a day early with Ask Angela because I just couldn’t wait to share this week’s fun questions. I hope you enjoy this batch as much as I did, and please keep those questions rollin’ in…they give me something to ponder when I’m up in the middle of the night, lol.

Q1. Hi there, your Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Red Lentil Stew sounds absolutely delicious. I am trying to adapt a week’s worth of meals for a lady who is allergic to vegetables in the nightshade family. (So no tomatoes.) Have you ever tried making this without the tomatoes? 

Hey Georgie, Your question came at just the right time…I was planning on making a batch of this stew for dinner that very night! (We’ve been on a huge Cozy Stew kick this week!) So, after receiving your question, I decided to give it a spin, and held off adding the canned tomatoes and tomato paste until the very end. I tasted the stew without the tomatoes and it’s still quite good! I do think you can get away without using tomato products, however since there’s no acidity from the tomatoes it’s especially important to add the apple cider vinegar called for at the end to balance the flavours. You may even want to use a bit more vinegar to up the acidity (I’d recommend adding slowly to taste). You’ll find the stew will be thicker without the liquid from the canned tomatoes, so you may also want to add a bit more broth as you cook it…although a super thick and hearty stew never hurt anybody, I suppose. :) I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out, Georgie!

Q2. Hi Angela, My husband and I as well as our family of five boys really enjoy your recipes—Oh She Glows is my go-to site for plant-based yummy food =) We just tried the Salted Chocolate Avocado Pudding Bowls and they were a hit. I’m wondering if you ever made pudding pops with that recipe, and if so how the avocado held out…I have never frozen avocado myself. 

Hey Sarah, Wow, five boys!! How do you even have time to make this pudding? Heh. I’m so happy to hear how much you all enjoy the recipes! My kids love popsicles, so I tried out your avocado pudding pops idea and the frozen version worked pretty well—the pops came out chewy, dense, and fudgy! I did find it a bit tricky spooning the pudding into molds as it is quite thick, and you may need to push the pudding down a few times to get the air bubbles out as you go. Not a big deal, though! The popsicles were also a bit challenging to remove from the molds (I had to put the mold under hot water for a while to loosen them up), but in the end they tasted great and I didn’t find the avocado flavour (which is subtle) changed due to freezing. Also, if you happen to have the Bonus Recipe Bundle from my Oh She Glows Every Day pre-order promotion, you might want to give my Dreamiest Dark Chocolate Fudgsicles recipe a try too. Those pops are made with a decadent base of melted dark chocolate, coconut milk, and banana…obsession-worthy!

Q3. Do you feed the kids first and then eat after they are in bed? I struggle with this and am wondering if you have any suggestions. (Note from Angela: A little context—Jess’ question came in after I did a couple Insta Stories showing me making my Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew early evening, and then finishing off the cooking process after my kids were tucked in for the night.)

Hey Jess, I can so relate to your struggles with this! We tend to play it by ear schedule-wise and change it up depending on the day (weeknights and weekends are vastly different around here), how the kids are feeling (are they hangry, happy/content, etc.), and what dinner foods we have on hand. Adriana and Arlo tend to eat quite early (we call it the 5 o’clock Seniors’ Special, hah), so during weeknights Eric and I will often eat a bit later after they go to bed. Occasionally, I’ll be hungry enough when the kids are ready to eat and I’ll eat with them at the same time…it just depends! On weekends we always try to eat together since I tend to have more time to plan and cook special meals. In sum, we pretty much fly by the seat of our pants most days, but I’ve come to realize that’s what parenthood is all about (at least for us).

Q4. Love to make your Lightened Up Spring Stuffing for Easter, but since it’s an older recipe, I’m wondering if there is anything you’d change to update it. Or is this one of those tried-and-true Oh She Glows recipes that is just as awesome today as a few years ago? 😊 

Hey Sue, Oh yes this is an older recipe from 2012! Somehow it feels like just yesterday that I posted it too. It’s been a while since I’ve made it, but I remember really loving this lightened up take on stuffing. I’ll put this on my list of recipes to revisit this spring as it would be a great one to re-test and add to the app. The crusty seed & cranberry raisin loaf that I used in the recipe added so much to the overall dish, so I would suggest using a similar loaf as the base if you can. The pops of cranberry and raisin were really nice (if you’re into that!), although I’m sure sourdough would be nice too and you could always add dried cranberries separately if you use a different variety of bread. I’d love to hear what you think if you try it…maybe a test run is in store before the big day?

Q5. Hi Angela, You posted a tasty looking lunch idea on Insta Stories yesterday and it was gone from your story before I could screenshot the ingredients you listed. Do you mind sharing what was in it and how you made it? I need more green in my life this spring! 

Hey Becca, Absolutely! It was such a great lunch that I was actually debating whether to turn it into a recipe on the blog and app. For this dish, I was lucky to have some leftover cooked quinoa on hand—I find it always helps a meal come together quickly, so I used that as my starting off point for a fast lunch. I added a tablespoon or two of avocado oil to a large skillet along with some stemmed and chopped curly kale, diced bell peppers, spiralized zucchini and carrot (sometimes I use this julienne peeler if I don’t want to pull out the spiralizer), my leftover cooked quinoa, as well as some drained and rinsed canned pinto beans. I stirred it all together and sautéed the mixture over medium heat while adding fresh lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and pepper, all to taste. Once the veggies were tender, I portioned it into bowls and topped it with sliced avocado, a generous dollop of hummus, and a handful of nuts and seeds (like hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, etc.). It was sooooo tasty and left us feeling energized without being weighed down.

Q6. Hi Angela, I’ve made your Enchilada recipes many times, but this time I want to free up my time just before serving so I have a chance to catch up with my guests. Can I make the Enchilada Sauce a few hours in advance (or even the day before)? How about the other enchilada sauces you drizzle on top, like the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce, or Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream? Love every recipe I have tried from both of your cookbooks!  

Hey Beth, Thank you so much for your kind words and support for my cookbooks…that means the world to me. You can definitely make the Enchilada Sauce (and filling) in advance (they should keep in the fridge for several days). If you’re planning to whip up the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce from my Vegan Enchiladas, I’d say it’s probably best made fresh whenever possible as avocado spoils quite fast and this sauce contains over a cup of it. When it comes to advance prep, you might have a bit better luck using the Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream (from my Next Level Vegan Enchiladas) as that recipe contains much less avocado (only 2 tablespoons). If you do make the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce ahead of time, I’d suggest keeping the sauce in an airtight container and pressing a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sauce before sealing with the container’s lid—this should help prevent it coming into contact with air. You may need to scrape off and discard any discoloured avocado sauce on top just before using. I hope you have a great time hosting, and please let me know how things work out if you do make either of the sauces in advance!

“Angela, Thank you! You’ve done it again and make feeding my toddlers so much easier. Your Flourless Bite-Sized Breakfast  Muffins are perfect. Easy to make, delicious, nutritious, and plenty of ingredients that my three-year-old can help me measure. These will be in regular rotation here.”

Hey Melissa, Oh that’s great news!! I’m so glad to hear you and your toddlers love the muffins. Sounds like your three-year-old is already a baking pro. :) They’re a big hit over here too!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah March 22, 2018 at 11:03 am

To follow up on Beth’s enchilada question, I actually have made the entire filling in advance in tandem with cooking the sauce. It makes the actual assembly of the dish come together in a snap! I agree that anything with avocado is sketchy to make more than a few hours in advance, so you can always make the final sauce while the dish is baking or cooling. The enchilada page from your first book is covered in dried sauce from all the times I’ve made it. It’s one of my all-time faves!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Oh yes, the filling!! I meant to mention that it can be made in advance as well. Thanks for reminding me. I’m so glad you use this trick too! And stained cookbook pages are the best compliment ;)

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Allison March 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm

When I make your enchiladas, I do a double batch of the enchilada sauce and store half of it in the freezer for the next time we make it. So much easier!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2018 at 12:35 pm

That’s such a great idea Allison…love it!

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Sarah Fournier March 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Hi Angela. I just learned from this blog post that you have an app! Yay! Love your recipes. Keep doing what your doing 😁

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Hey Sarah, Thanks for your excitement about the app!! It’s been a passion project over the past year or so. I’m really happy with the positive response it’s had so far. I hope you enjoy it :)

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Jane Filosa March 23, 2018 at 9:19 am

Dear Angela !
Love your cookbook/ app/ insta etc – my onlyvomment is I struggle reading your weekly newsletters – the font on my phone or desktop is very tiny & I find hard to read . I know I’m older but don’t use reading glasses it for some reason struggle with one of my favorite emails .
I know you are very open to feedback & just wanted to let you know !
Thank you for making our meals so much healthier.
Best Jane

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Hey Jane, Thank you so much for your kind words! :) I’m not quite sure how to increase the text, but I wonder if there is a phone or desktop setting that will do so? I think on the iPhone if you go into settings –> general –> accessibility it allows you to select the font size, but I think this may only apply to apps. There may be apps that you can use for browser or email reading too. Please let me know if any of these ideas help and thank you for your enthusiasm for my posts!

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Amanda March 23, 2018 at 11:09 am

Hey Angela,

I want to make your Healthy Carrot-Banana Muffins with Salted Maple Coconut Whipped Cream from the OSG Everyday Bonus Bundle. The only issue is these muffins are made with spelt, and I cannot consume gluten due to my digestive disease. Do you know how to alter the recipe to make these gluten free?

Thanks
Amanda

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Hey Amanda, When I was developing the recipe I did attempt a few gluten-free versions, but I never landed on anything that I found worked/tasted up to my standards…haha…I find it’s so tricky to make gluten-free/vegan baked goods that aren’t gummy or off-tasting. I’ll keep at it though and let you know if I do find a combo of GF flours that I love. Or maybe another blog reader can chime in if they’re tried anything out successfully. Have you ever had any luck with using all-purpose GF flour blends?

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Geffin Falken March 25, 2018 at 5:15 am

Angela, I look forward each week to receiving your “Ask Angela” post. Both of your cookbooks are two of my go-to destinations when I’m lost for something to make for dinner. Keep up the good work and thank you so much for your amazing recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Hey Geffin, Wow, thank you so much!! That’s so great for me to hear. :) Thank you for all your support.

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Helena March 26, 2018 at 4:40 am

I absolutely adore your blog posts! They’re so inspirational! I love what you do, and the things you post is exactly the kind of things I’m interested in. 💋

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 26, 2018 at 8:33 am

Thank you, Helena! :)

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Lauren Prufer March 26, 2018 at 7:39 am

Love the post! I have made your stew without the tomatoes, my partner gets really bad acid reflux at times, so I have been omitting tomatoes a lot lately (sad face). But it definitely still turned out quite good! Thicker, like you said, but was great for burrito filling with some quinoa and greens the next day.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 26, 2018 at 8:33 am

So glad you’ve had success with the tomato-free version too! I love the idea of adding it to a wrap the next day….yum.

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Michael March 28, 2018 at 8:40 am

Great entry! You have very nice blog. I like it :)
Greetings! :)

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Lesley March 29, 2018 at 2:21 pm

I have both of your cook books and am a HUGE fan! Thanks to you, you have made my path to veganism both exciting and tasty.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 29, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Hey Lesley,
omg, thank you so much! You’re so sweet and I appreciate your support immensely!

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Laurie L March 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Hi Angela,
Where did your protein packed lunch ideas go? I don’t see them in this post.
Happy Easter from Vancouver Is!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 30, 2018 at 9:48 am

Hey Laurie, the title refers to the salad idea in Q5. Hope this helps!

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Harminder March 31, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Hi Angela,
First of all i want to say thank you for your wonderful and flavourful recipes. so far all the recipes i tried from your book just mouth watering. i was diagnosed with osteo in my right foot two years ago. Even after taking all the natural supplements and taking holistic approach, the pain was getting worse. two months ago i found out about my intolerance to eggs. i have eaten eggs all my life so that was a shock. that’s how i got into your cookbook. i can’t believe how flavourful all your recipes are. thanks so much for making vegan food colourful and mouth watering .

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Hi Harminder, I’m so thrilled you love the recipes so much…thank you! I really appreciate your support for my cookbook. I hope your pain improves soon!

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Silvia April 4, 2018 at 7:51 am

Hi Angela,
thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes. I haven’t found one yet I didn’t like.
I do have a question though, I am also gluten-free and can not find a good, gluten free, vegan wrap that does not fall apart when you try to use it. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks again.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Hey Silvia, Thank you so much for the kind words! My go-to wrap is a raw flax wrap (which I think if gluten-free!) by “Wrap It Up Raw”. They’re delicious and they have a store locator on their website. http://wrapitupraw.com/ Hope this helps!

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Sarah April 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Hi Angela! I have a friend considering dropping dairy, but as a die-hard butter lover she’s looking for recommendations. What are your go-to brands of vegan butter? I know you reference Earth Balance in your recipes, but are there any other gems I should be on the lookout for? I’ve tried Becel’s vegan version too, and there’s butter-flavoured coconut oil that’s kind of intriguing… I’d love to hear your input! Thanks :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

Hey Sarah, I tried the butter-flavoured coconut oil recently and hmm, I wasn’t in love with it. Maybe it’s just me but it tasted quite artificial. I’ve been experimenting with my own homemade vegan butters as well and I’ll be sure to share if I land on one that I love. We also buy “Melt” vegan butter from time to time, but it’s pretty infrequent.

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Suhashini April 10, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Thank you for creating these delicious recipes that work every time! Your work and dedication and attention to detail is greatly appreciated.
Since getting your “Every Day” cookbook, it’s become the most used cookbook on my shelf. Right now I’m eating the Protein Power quinoa salad with Shake-and-Go Balsamic dressing, topped with Lemon-Tahini dressing. I’m on the road a lot, and that salad is my go-to for traveling.
Like the person who asked about the Cozy Stew, I’m avoiding nightshades because I get eczema flare-ups from eating them. I’d like to try out sweet potato in the cheese sauce, but I also wonder if steamed cassava root might work.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2018 at 8:04 am

Suhashini, I can’t thank you enough for your support and love for the recipes….sooo happy to hear this! And I will keep the nightshade-free recipes (or swaps) in mind for the future too. Thanks!

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