Naked Roasted Vegetable Burrito Bowl

2014-08-28 07.43.30

1½ cups dry white rice
1 can of chickpeas or black-eyed peas, opened and rinsed
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 capsule curcumin
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
two tablespoons olive oil
eight ounces of goat cheese or other cheese, crumbled or shredded (may omit for a vegan burrito bowl, as pictured)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Toss the vegetables with 2 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp white pepper, ½ tsp oregano, and 1 curcumin capsule, opened. Spread the vegetables out over a large sheet pan and roast for 40 minutes, stirring once half way through.

Combine the rice in a medium pot with ½ tsp garlic powder and
½ tsp salt.

Add 3 cups of water, place a lid on top, and bring up to a boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed until you’re ready to assemble the burrito bowls. Fluff the rice just before using.

Combine 1/3 cup of rice on a tortilla, add ¼ cup of chickpeas or black-eyed peas, ⅓ cup of the roasted vegetables, cheese to taste, and a handful of fresh cilantro leaves in a bowl.

Adapted from

If you tolerate more oxalate, you may make traditional burritos. I like this recipe because it’s relatively quick—you can get the rice going at the same time as the veggies, and then it’s simple to assemble the bowls. It makes several servings, too. You can put an individual portion in a freezer-safe container and freeze it, even with the cheese. Sadly, I was out of the delicious honeyed goat cheese I used the first time I made these, but the vegan version is just as filling! If you choose to use tortillas, those also freeze well.

But who needs a tortilla when you have these beautiful colors? Enjoy! (We’ll ignore the tortilla chips I baked; I’ll save that recipe for another post!)

Fiction Friday: Flash Fiction Contest Entry, “Charlotte”

Charlotte walked into the kitchen, her Mary Janes making crisp noises on the bare hardwood floor.

“All ready, Mom!” she chirped. Mom smiled, though Charlotte noticed her mom’s mouth twitched a bit.

“Good job, baby. Let’s brush that pretty hair of yours; I think we have a few minutes before the bus comes.”

Mom took Charlotte’s hand and walked into their bedroom. Charlotte sat down on the chair in front of the vanity. She looked in the mirror and smiled. Mom picked up the good hairbrush and began stroking Charlotte’s hair. This was one of Charlotte’s favorite parts of the day, feeling her mother’s sure fingers teasing out the occasional knot, humming as she stroked.

Charlotte watched Mom’s reflection pull out a long, blonde hair from the brush.
“I swear, Charlotte, your hair just gets prettier every day!”

Charlotte beamed, then turned towards the window. The windows were much smaller in their new house, and it had been hard getting used to going to school every day instead of staying with Mom and reading and going out to run errands. But she was starting to like her new classmates.

“Well, I guess that’s our cue,” Mom sighed. “Come on, baby, let’s get you out the door. I can pick you up after work today. Maybe we’ll come home and bake something.”

Charlotte hugged her mom around the waist. “Yeah! Bye, Mom!”

Mom pecked her cheek. “Be good. Be sure to keep your ankles crossed.”

Charlotte huffed. “Moooom!”

“Young lady, have a good day at school. You know the rules.”

Charlotte looked up at her mom. “Yes, ma’am.”

The rest of the morning passed quickly. Finally, it was snack time. Charlotte ate her ring cookies and sipped her apple juice. She needed to go to the bathroom, so she walked to the corner of the classroom. They shared it with the younger kindergartners next door.

Charlotte knocked on the door, squirming a little bit. Since no one was there, she opened the door and let herself in.

The toilet was little and lower than the one they had at home, and easier to use. Charlotte sighed in relief and situated herself, making sure to lock the door. She yanked her panties down and hiked up her dress; she REALLY needed to go. Charlotte plopped down on the toilet seat.

The door popped open. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” said Marcy. She was sometimes the playground helper and she was the classroom aide for the little kids next door. “Please excuse me, Charlotte…uh…“ Marcy trailed off.

Charlotte froze. “Please…please leave? My mom said you should always knock.”

“I’ll be right back.”

Charlotte heard a muffled voice through the door.

“What do you mean she has a penis? Do you realize we could get sued? Are you sure there isn’t some kind of mistake?”

Marcy’s hushed voice couldn’t be made out. Snippets came through…something about child projected services?

Charlotte sniffed and pulled her panties up, then walked out the door of the restroom.

Her teacher was waiting for her. Her lips were pressed into a thin line.

“We’re giving your mom a call, and then you’re going to go to a special meeting.”

Charlotte didn’t go home that night. During the meeting, Charlotte didn’t understand why her mom started screaming and crying. Charlotte’s face crumpled up when a police officer came and walked away with her mother.

“Shh, shh, it’s ok baby. You’re my perfect little girl. They’ll understand and this will all be over soon. We’ll bake something, we’ll make chocolates…it will be a regular candy factory when you come home.”

Before she knew it, Charlotte was at Walmart. They bought her an ugly striped shirt and shorts. The lady had to show her how to put them on. The lady wanted Charlotte to put the new underwear on, but Charlotte started whimpering.

The next few weeks were a blur of meeting with new people. A doctor, more meeting with the lady, who was something called a “case worker.” A special doctor, who said he worked with children and showed her puppets. She kind of liked the doctor; he let her play with dolls.

The new people she lived with were named Stan and Janet. They’d shown her to a new bed the first night. Everything smelled funny, none of the good wood polish smell like at home. There were no dolls or stuffed animals, only toy trucks and make-believe tools.

“Charlie, supper’s ready,” called Stan. Charlotte did not budge. “Dammit, boy, I SAID supper’s ready.”

Janet shushed him. “Charles? Sweetie? Come one, we have brownies for dessert!” Charlotte knew she wasn’t supposed to hear the next thing, but she’d gotten really good at listening.

“Stan, it’s not his fault his mother’s crazy. Raising a perfectly normal boy as a girl…my god. We have to set a good example; be easier on him.”

Stan grunted. Charlotte heard the jingle of his car keys. “Janet, I’ll eat later. The boy’s coming with me. Charles! Come here.”

Charlotte knew better than to disobey. She shuffled towards the kitchen. Her new sneakers were too big.

“Let’s go in the truck.”

Stan helped Charlotte climb up onto the big seat. He buckled her in. They drove down the road. Stan pulled into a cluster of small shops. One of them had a big red and white striped pole.

“Alright, son,” said Stan. “You’re not going to like it, but it’s time we did something with that hair.”

“Oh, Mommy used to cut my hair,” said Charlotte.

They walked in.

“This little boy needs a haircut very badly,” said Stan.

The barber raised an eyebrow. “I’d say so. Come on, then, get in the chair.”

Charlotte winced as the man put her hair into a ponytail. She heard a snick and watched, disbelievingly, as the man came away with a long rope of hair in his hand.
Charlotte looked in the mirror, and screamed as a stranger looked back at her.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken

2014-08-05 06.01.42

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin on
salt to taste
white pepper
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
one curcumin tablet (available here)
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
3 cups chicken broth
10 drops of liquid stevia
¼ cup raisins
Two servings of cooked white rice

Optional: roasted red pepper and dried mint for garnish

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper the brown well on both sides for at least 5-8 minute per side; transfer to a plate.

Add in onions; sauté for about 5 minutes. Open the curcumin capsule and add the contents to the dish. Then add garlic powder and cinnamon extract; cook stirring with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute.

Stir in broth and liquid stevia; stir to combine.

Then add in the browned chicken; simmer covered for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of cooking add in the raisins and continue to cook (uncovered) until the chicken is completely cooked through (about 15-20 minutes).

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Move the chicken to serving plates.

Add in the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with cooked rice.

Adapted from

I have always adored Middle Eastern meals. However, I’ve noticed that they incorporate lots of spices I can’t tolerate as well anymore, such as cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric. If you are not watching your oxalates, I would use a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of cumin.

I have made some simple adaptations to this dish. You can buy curcumin supplements, which are very easy to remove from the gelatin capsule and sprinkle on your dish. They are much lower in oxalate than cumin. It gives the dish a good bit of color, and can be used to make yellow rice, too, if you’d like. Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

I cut back on the amount of raisins in the original recipe and substituted liquid stevia for honey, so it’s a bit less sugary. And it’s pretty good, too!