Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Two companion recipes to the previous beans post! From Esther’s Kitchen, Mexican Rice & Bean Burritos:



Happy Cinco de Mayo! Our beans are cooked from Esther’s Crockpot Beans recipe that we shared yesterday. Here is an easy baked Mexican Rice that does not require any frying. This Mexican Rice is similar to the type you enjoy in Mexican restaurants. Rinsing the rice in a fine mesh colander helps to removed excess starch and lends a fluffier rice. Enjoy!
~Chef Linda

Mexican Rice
Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF
Serves: 9
Prep including Cook Time: 1 hr 10 minutes

1 jalapeño, seeded for less heat if desired
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or olive)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper, or to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups long grain rice (white or brown), rinsed
1 large carrot sliced lengthwise then diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green beans, sliced in 1/2″ pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor combine the jalapeño through the S&P ingredients. Purée until smooth.
3. Pour the 2 cups vegetable broth in the baking dish. Add the rice and puréed veggies. Stir in the corn, carrots and green beans.
4. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
5. Serve with additional fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.

For our next Cinco de Mayo recipe we have Bean Burritos with Green Tomatillo Sauce. We used the beans from Esther’s Crockpot Bean recipe. You may also use canned vegetarian refried beans. Note: 1 (15 oz) can will yield about 1-1/2 cups of beans. This recipe comes together quickly with store bought green chile or tomatillo salsa. Enjoy!
~Chef Linda

Bean Burritos with Green Tomatillo Sauce
Cuisine: Esther Approved
Prep including Bake Time: 1 hr
Serves: 8 burritos

2 cups jarred Green Chile Salsa, store bought
8 (8″) plain or spinach flour tortillas
6 cups cooked pinto beans per burrito
1 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds
Cilantro for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 8×8 or 8.5×12 baking dish.
2. Pour 1 cup of the green chile salsa on the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Add 3/4 cup refried beans into each tortilla and fold into a burrito.
4. Place the burritos in the baking dish. Pour 1 cup green chile salsa over the burritos.
5. Sprinkle the Daiya shreds on top of the burritos. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes. The burritos will puff up.
6. Serve with fresh cilantro.

Thanks for reading!

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Comfort Food

We are having a rough week, here at The House of 9 Lives, as we lost our precious dog Trixter over the weekend. So, thanks to Chef Linda at Esther’s Kitchen for sharing this recipe, as it looks like great comfort food in the making.


Esther’s Crockpot Beans
Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF
Prep including Cook Time: 6 hours +
Serves: Approximately 24 cups

3 lbs organic dried pinto beans
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 large organic yellow or white onion, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
12 cups water

1. Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot. Toss any floating beans.
2. Set the temperature to high and cook for 4 hours. After 4 hours turn down the temperature to low. Cook for 2.5 more hours. Remove the lid. Remove the excess water on top and reserve the water.
3. Using a hand immersion blender or hand masher, mash the beans to your desired texture. Add more water back to the beans if you desire a runnier style bean.
4. Note: If you are using these beans for burritos, do not add additional water while mashing the beans. Serve the beans plain or sprinkled with a non-dairy cheese. Adjust the salt and other seasonings to taste once the beans have been mashed.

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Funky Monkey Overnight Oats


ANOTHER winning recipe from Esther’s Kitchen!!

Funky Monkey Overnight Oats
Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1 (2 cup) mason jar

2/3 cup rolled oats
1 Tablespoon flax meal
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 heaping Tablespoon peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Canadian maple syrup
1/2 of a large ripe banana, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk, almond milk was used

1. Add the following ingredients in the mason jar in this order: oats, flax meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, peanut butter, maple syrup, banana slices, walnuts, plant milk.
2. Tighten the seal and lid on the jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Stir or shake the next morning before eating.


Word is this tastes like banana bread with peanut butter. What’s not to love about that?!?!

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Zucchini Brownies

Another winning recipe from Esther’s Kitchen!

Brownie lovers, you are in for a delicious treat. We are serving up Zucchini Brownies today! Has anyone had Zucchini Brownies? These brownies are gooey and can be made oil free for those folks eliminating oil from their diets. If you make these oil free, the brownies will taste more like cake. The brownies in the photo are oil free and made with walnuts. The batter will be very thick. Keep stirring. The batter will come together. If you want to make these gluten-free, use GF …flour blend and add 2 chia or flax eggs to the batter. Enjoy! ~Chef Linda

Zucchini Brownies

Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF option

Prep including Bake Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8″x8″ pan or 9 brownies

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2-3/4 cup organic granulated sugar, adjust to your taste

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil (optional)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup shredded organic zucchini

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8″x8″ baking pan or line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Add all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir by hand with a spoon.

3. Add the zucchini, vanilla extract, oil and almond milk. Stir until the batter with a spoon until the batter is smooth. Keep stirring. The batter does come together. If your zucchini is not wet, stir in an additional 1-2 Tablespoons of almond milk.

4. Pour the brownie batter in the pan.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the center is done by using a toothpick test.

6. Cool and slice into 9 pieces.

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Coconut Pecan Oatmeal Cookies – Esther Approved!!

On your journey towards an Esther Approved lifestyle you will come across some things that leave you awestruck about new culinary techniques. Growing up we were taught to make cookies by creaming the butter, sugar, extract and eggs with an electric mixer. How many times did we reach in the fridge and realize you were out of butter or eggs? Another trip to the store. Right? As you change over your pantry ingredients with Esther Approved substitutes you begin to realize this is easy. It’s learning a new way of baking and cooking just as you learned the old way. For our Coconut Pecan Oatmeal Cookies you only need mixing bowls, a wooden spoon and cookie sheets. These cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Let’s celebrate National Oatmeal Cookie Day without the raisins because we don’t want Esther to have trust issues thinking they are chocolate chips. ;)~Chef Linda

Coconut Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Cuisine: Esther Approved

Serves: 3 dozen

Prep including Bake Time: 35 minutes

2 flax eggs-2 Tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons water, allow to gel for 10 minutes

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup organic granulated sugar

1/2 cup organic brown sugar

1 cup Earth Balance, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups spelt or all purpose flour

2-1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1. Set the applesauce aside. Make your flax eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Melt the Earth Balance on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add the vanilla extract and flax eggs. Stir to combine and set aside.

3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Stir in the melted butter mixture for a few minutes until the cookie dough is combined. Stir in the applesauce until the dough is moistened completely.

4. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Using a soup spoon, spoon 12 dough rounds onto each cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350F. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet before transferring onto cooling racks. The cookies will slowly crisp up on the cookie sheet which will allow you to transfer easily onto the cooling racks.

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Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine & Roasted Tomatoes

Another great recipe from Chef Linda of Esther’s Kitchen!!


We made this Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine and Roasted Tomatoes that serves 6 hearty portions. This meal comes together in about 30 minutes which is perfect for weeknight meals. The sauce is extra creamy with lots of garlic flavor. In addition to the roasted tomatoes, you can add spinach, broccoli and faux meat substitutes. We love to hear and see what our friend’s are making here. Please let us know how you prepared your creamy pasta dish. Enjoy!

~Chef Linda 

Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine and Roasted Tomatoes
Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF option with GF pasta

Serves: 6

Prep including Cook Time: 30 Minutes, plus 2 hour cashew soak time

2 pounds of dried egg-free linguine or other pasta

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained

2 shallots, finely diced

10 garlic cloves, minced

3-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Salt and Pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons salt was used in this sauce

1. Cook your pasta per the package directions. 
2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper. Spread out the tomato halves on the parchment paper. Spray the tomatoes with cooking spray. Evenly grind fresh black pepper and salt over the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes for 18 minutes. 

3. In a large saute pan, heat the Earth Balance and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Saute for approximately 4 minutes. 

4. Place the cashews in a food processor and process on high until smooth. Add 1 cup almond milk and process until combined and smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the food processor. 

Add this mixture in the saute pan with the shallots and garlic. Add the remaining almond milk and additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium-low heat, scraping the sides of the pan. Once the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the nutritional yeast and roasted tomatoes. Stir until combined. 

5. Combine the cooked pasta and sauce in a large serving bowl. Serve with a side salad, bread, Esther Approved parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

National Banana Bread Day

Chef Linda has a theme going! I’m not positive if this is a national day for Canada, or the U.S., but, either way, I like her calendar!! Here’s her post:

It’s National Banana Bread Day! We are featuring Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread made with organic blueberries, spelt flour and Tofutti Sour Supreme sour cream. You do not have to make separate chia eggs. Once your bananas are mashed, you add everything into the mixing bowl and stir until combined. Enjoy! 
~Chef Linda 

Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread 

Recipe Type: Sweet Bread

Cuisine: Esther Approved 

Serves: 9×5 loaf 

Prep including Bake Time: 1 hour 

1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt or Tofutti Sour Supreme 

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

3 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1-1/3 cup spelt or all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt 

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5 bread loaf pan with cooking spray. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a masher. 

3. Combine the remaining ingredients with the bananas. Stir until the batter is combined and moist. If you over stir the bread, it will become dense. 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

5. Bake for 50 minutes. 

6. Allow to cool and then slice.