Posts tagged ‘vegan’

May 6, 2013

Summertime White Sangria

I love sangria. Jim loves it too, and whenever we go to Mexican restaurants that serve it, we get a glass…or a pitcher, whatever.

I’ve always wanted to try making my own, but never have had the patience to let it sit overnight and all that. But when we decided to have people over for fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

I searched through our wine “cellar” for a relatively inexpensive bottle of red that I didn’t mind sacrificing (of course there was the potential that this would turn out horribly and waste an entire bottle of wine), and unfortunately I came up short. I didn’t have a single bottle of red wine that I wanted to turn into sangria. So I switched gears. We had TONS of bottles of white because we both enjoy red just a little bit better (until summer comes around anyway), so I decided to make some sangria out of white wine instead.

We popped open a bottle of Rome Valley Vineyards‘ Chardonnay and started making magic!

sangria1b

Summertime White Sangria

The beauty of sangria is that you can pretty much put whatever fruit into it that you want. I mean sure there’s a traditional recipe, but you can make something completely delicious and unique to your own taste just as easily. I used a handful of different fruits we already had on hand.

2 oranges, sliced

1 lime, sliced

5 strawberries, cut in half, tops removed

5 thin slices of rhubarb

2 shots of triple sec

I bottle of chardonnay (you can use whatever white wine you like or have on hand)

Sparkling water (Mine was lime scented, and I used about 36 ounces, but you can taste as you go. It’s not a science)

Pour your wine into a pitcher. Add fruit and triple sec. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or for several hours. The longer, the better. When you’re ready to serve, pour in the sparkling water. Serve ice cold in your most beautiful glasses, garnished with extra fruit.

sangria3b

It turned out pretty dern delicious, if I don’t say so myself. Originally I wanted to use limes, raspberries and peaches, but they only had limes at our local grocery store…you know, the only one open at 10:30 when I decided I wanted to attempt this endeavor. I think I’ll try that combination next time. I’ve also heard people use ginger ale instead of the sparkling water and it gives it more flavor. I didn’t want the added sugar (or high fructose corn syrup. Yuck!), so I will probably always stick with the water.

sangria2b

Also this weekend, I finally got to play around with my new camera. It does a pretty good job, eh? Here are a few of my favorite shots of Katie that I took. She’s a hard dog to photograph, let me tell you! She’s like my brother when it comes to taking her picture. She always turns away from the camera! So the fact that I got these ones was a miracle in and of itself!

black lab

Isn’t she cute? Just chilling in the grass.

katie2b

This one I made a funny sound at her, so she tilted her head as if to ask “what the heck was that?!”

I hope everyone is having a happy Monday! Or at least a not-sucky Monday as Mondays can be pretty challenging.

Have you ever tried making sangria before? If so, did you use a recipe or did you just wing it like I did?

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April 26, 2013

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus and a salad

I love a meal filled with complex flavors and textures. But sometimes a simple meal just hits the spot. Last night I made Jim and I a simple dish of polenta with vegetables. We both love polenta, and granted, usually when we eat it, Jim’s step dad makes it and fills it with mozzarella and covers it in marinara and it’s to die for! But it’s not the healthiest way to eat it, especially since we’re not really doing cheese anymore.

This simple recipe uses fresh ingredients and is still packed with flavor. It may have been enhanced by adding some marinara, and I’ll probably give that a try next time.

asparagus polenta2

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus

1 cup polenta

1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced

1 bunch of asparagus, cut into short spears

1 tbsp oil (I used truffle oil, but you could use olive or coconut or whatever you wish)

1-2 tbsps Bragg’s liquid aminos

Salt, pepper, garlic, to taste

Cook polenta according to directions on the package. It takes about 30 minutes and constant attention, so plan accordingly. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in the oil. Sprinkle with spices and liquid aminos. Heap veggies over polenta and serve with a small salad.

Simple, right? You can easily add a protein or some Parmesan cheese to the top of this or it’s pretty delicious just the way it is.

asparagus polenta3

And I promised a salad.

This salad is simple, let delicious and accompanied the polenta nicely. It’s light and perfect for summer.

Steph’s Spinach Salad

1 large handful of spinach

8-10 strawberries, sliced

1 large handful of walnuts, chopped

1 large avocado, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar (From Trader Joes…you can use any vinegar, though. This one is just my fave!)

salt & pepper, to taste

Toss spinach with strawberries, walnuts and avocado. In a glass measuring cup whisk olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. Dress salad.

spinach salad1

It was really a delicious and refreshing dinner. It kind of made me excited for summer, which I never am. Summer heat and I don’t get along at all. But this year I’m actually a little excited about it.

I love summer produce. We have the boat this year, and we plan on taking it out a lot. We also plan on taking Katie to the lake to see what those webbed paws of hers can do!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday!

P.S. I lied. I actually made this for dinner two nights ago. Eeeeeep! Don’t hate me.
April 25, 2013

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles and a little update

I love Thai food. Jim does not. I mean he’ll eat it every once in a while, but we don’t go out for it nearly as much as I’d like to. So when I decided to make a Thai-inspired dish for dinner last night, I was a bit apprehensive. I needn’t have worried, though, because Jim loved it. And I think you will too.

thai noodles1

This really is the simplest dish to make. Which is a good thing because Jim and I got home late last night. And honestly, I’m super proud of myself because in the past, after an hour and a half yoga class followed by grocery shopping and returning home after 8 p.m., I would have abandoned my dinner plans and picked something up while we were out instead of cooking. We would have spent more money and inevitably put crap into our bodies that we didn’t want there.

I must be making progress. This new lifestyle Jim and I have been living must be working. That alone is proof of it.

Anyway, I promised you a recipe and taunted you with a photo, so here we go! The update can wait.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you can use whatever oil you want, I just like the sesame flavor for this dish)

1 tbsp red curry paste (more if you want…or less. But don’t worry, it’s not that spicy)

1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

A few squirts of Sriracha sauce

1/2 can coconut milk (I used full-fat for a creamier texture, you could probably use lite too if you wanted)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

As many veggies as you can stand, cut into spearish shapes (I used carrots, zucchini, little mushroom guys, broccoli and spring onion)

Handful of rice noodles (again, use as much or as little as you want)

Water for boiling

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add noodles and leave them while you do the rest of your preparations.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add red curry paste. Mix it all around and let them mingle for a moment. Add your firmer veggies (carrots, onions and broccoli for me). Let them saute for a few minutes. Add more oil if you need to.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute for about a minute. Add veggie broth. Cover and let the steam cook your veggies a little bit more, maybe 2 minutes. Remove lid. Add coconut milk. Let the milk warm, about a minute. Stir in the peanut butter and Sriracha. If you like it a little thinner, add more  broth.

Drain the noodles and divide them between your bowls. Spoon vegetables and sauce over noodles. Enjoy!

 

thai noodles2

*Note: This recipe is very versatile, and you’re not going to mess it up by changing things, adding things, etc. Jim likes his extra spicy, so he added a bunch more Sriracha. If I’d had some cilantro, I probably would have put some on top to garnish. You could add shrimp or chicken if you feel it lacking in protein. I actually sprinkled a little bit of salt into mine. You could add soy sauce. It’s not terribly Thai, but then again, I don’t think salt is either. I don’t claim to be any kind of an ethnic cook. That’s why I said this recipe is Thai-inspired.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal. There was some sauce leftover, so we’re excited about using it with some brown rice and veggies on nosh night this weekend.

A Little Update

As of April 18th, Jim and I have been juicing, eating mostly vegan, avoiding caffeine, working out weeks we don’t juice, getting enough sleep, I’ve started doing yoga, and overall putting our health before anything and everything else. Mostly. Hey! We’re not perfect! And honestly in those moments of imperfection, I’ve paid dearly. For the pizza and alcohol I consumed last weekend, my tummy paid all Saturday night and most of Sunday. For the hash brown casserole we ate all day the Saturday before, I paid dearly. And when I finish this lovely soy latte my amazing little brother brought me at work (and forgot to get decaf) I’ll be paying dearly this afternoon with jitters, a racing mind and a need to run nine miles. My body is losing it’s ability to handle having crap inside of it. I’m healing!

But mostly, I feel amazing.

I have energy. And without a daily morning latte!

I have a clear mind. I have control over my mind.

I have motivation. To workout. To eat well. To write. To work on my business. To do crafts and hobbies I lost the will to do long ago.

I have a positive attitude. Even about this job which drives me mad but is necessary for, well, every thing.

I have confidence. I KNOW I can succeed. At yoga. At photography. At getting my novel published (you know, once it’s finished).  At losing weight. At being a good wife. Maybe even someday a good mother.

I’ve lost 12 lbs.

I’m happy. Content. Looking forward to the rest of my life. Looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, to going fishing with him on Sunday. To my lovely friend Stephanie’s bridal shower this weekend. And her wedding in June!

I’ve never felt so good in my life.

And that’s your little update for today.

And while I’m feeling so damn positive, what’s your favorite thing about life right now? Anything. Tiny or huge. Share with me!

April 12, 2013

Life Altering Change

Jim and I have been making some major changes over the past month. I told you a little bit about our juice reboot, but it’s gone beyond that. We’ve decided we need to overhaul our entire attitude toward food and change what we put into our bodies while we still have the chance to make a difference in our own lives.

It all started on St. Patrick’s Day as we sat down to feast on processed food and plenty of beer. I was scrolling through Pinterest during a commercial on tv and the following image popped into my screen.

fat sick and nearly dead

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. “Interesting,” I thought, and checked Netflix to see if they had it. They did. And we watched (you can watch on Netflix if you have it, or through Amazon, free with prime or a $2.99 rental).

It’s about Joe Cross, an Australian who suddenly realizes he needs to make some changes in his life. He goes on a 60-day juice fast while traveling around the USA promoting healthy living. For whatever reason, this film struck a chord with us and we embarked on our own 4-day juice fast the very next day.

But somehow that wasn’t enough and through the “Reboot with Joe” website, I learned about a new documentary, Hungry for Change, that was showing for free for a limited time that week (also available for rental through Amazon).

hungry for change

This one was huge for us. Not only did it tell us a lot of stuff we already knew was bad for us, but it explained why, and that’s huge when you’re talking about stuff like diet soda, which I knew was bad for me (sadly, other people think it’s good for them), and I already stay away from, but did you know that it causes blurred vision, headaches, nausea, vertigo, memory loss and seizures and for those reasons pilots are not allowed to drink it while or prior to flying? Holy Cow! I won’t go into all of the details of the movie, but I highly recommend it. It features many prominent figures in the health/wellness world and Jim and I both found it to be insightful and eye-opening.

Along with these two videos, I read a book.

crazy sexy dietThe word “diet” turned my head the other way when I first saw this one. I didn’t want to read a diet book, but after reading the first few sections of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen, a book devoted mostly to recipes whereas Crazy Sexy Diet is mostly information, I decided I needed to read Crazy Sexy Diet too. Carr never thought she was going to be a diet guru. She was an actress and photographer and when she learned she had cancer, her entire life changed. Doctors gave her a prognosis and she said screw that! From there, she transformed her life, started following a plant-based diet and claims she’s never felt better, cancer and all. But that’s her story, and you should get her books and let her tell it. Check out her website too. It is an amazing source for information, recipes and community support.

But back to Jim and I, because we don’t have a book and if you want our story, you’re going to find it here. Granted, our story isn’t that long yet, and you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to learn more, but here it is so far.

As I mentioned, we did a 4-day juice fast just after St. Patrick’s Day. I felt more energy after the second day of that fast than I have in so long. But then we had a crazy Napa 30th birthday party to go to, and we needed to quit the fast so we could have some fun (also, we weren’t so sure about fasting for longer than that at a time. We want to be healthy, not crazy and dangerous with our bodies). Having fun, by the way, is okay. We also went to the Food Trucks event in Roseville last night and had Po’Boy sandwiches from the Cajun truck. It’s okay.

We did another juice fast last week and we plan on doing one next week. The weeks between, we’ve been replacing one meal with juice and eating healthfully the other. We have smoothies for breakfast (usually filled with fruit, spinach or kale, protein powder, chia seeds and spirulina…it’s a seaweed) when we’re on the fast and when we’re not, and sometimes a little snack like a handful of walnuts and raspberries if we need it. We’ve also been kicking up our workouts, and by kicking up I mean doing them. We take Katie for long walks or go to the school down the street and play basketball. We both kind of hate working out, so we try to make it fun.

We’ve had very few desserts in the past month. We cut our added sugar down to almost nothing (okay, sometimes I have a few chocolate chips with my walnuts, but again, its okay!), and in the month we’ve been doing this, I think we’ve had caffeine twice. We’ve almost completely cut out dairy products and eggs and started eating more quinoa, wild rice and tons and tons of vegetables!

Mostly, I feel amazing. I have energy (except when I can’t sleep at night, like last night…argh!), I have a positive attitude toward the world. I want to get outside and do things. I want to cook. When I find myself craving something, it’s not tater tots or ice cream, it’s walnuts or carrots or oatmeal (oatmeal, people!). I was on such a tater tot kick before I started this and they don’t even sound good anymore!

As I mentioned before, though, this doesn’t mean we won’t partake in foods we’ve enjoyed in the past. Jim fully intends to continue eating meat when we’re out with family or friends or on special occasions. And I don’t see myself passing up roasted figs with goat cheese and honey come fig season. But we’re no longer okay with putting so much crap into our bodies. There’s increasing research that concludes that filling up on fats, simple white foods like pastas, breads and sugars and the plethora of lab created, chemical “food” products on grocery store shelves these days causes cancer and chronic diseases, and we just don’t want to risk it. It’s like stepping into a fire and just hoping you don’t get burned. We’ve seen too many people we care about…and so many people those people care about get diagnoses of cancer and heart problems that it seems stupid to us not to do something to stay off that increasingly long list.

So stay tuned for more tidbits and tales of our journey to health. I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy ride, and it won’t always be easy, but we’re going to make the trek and hopefully come out on top as a result.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy my “lunch.” I’ve got carrots, oranges, fennel, red cabbage, baby kale, spinach and sweet potatoes today all wrapped up in a pretty purple juice. As Tucker would say, “Aaaaahhhh.”

If you find yourself intrigued, please ask me about our experience. I have tons of information, recipes, opinions, and advise if you’re interested in making a change like this in your life.

February 27, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

gluten free cupcakes

Is there anything that will cheer you up better than a cupcake? There are few things that can put a smile on my face quicker than a delicious mountain of frosting perched atop a perfectly individually sized hunk of cake.

That being said, when I found out a good friend of ours had been “couched” with a ski injury, I knew just the ticket to make him feel at least a little better about the whole ordeal.

CUPCAKES!!!

It’s fortunate for him that I suffered a wheat allergy and had plenty of random, non-wheat flours hanging around the house. And it’s fortunate for me that I got to use some of them because I’m certain they don’t last forever!

Since I’m not a full-time non-wheat-eater, I haven’t spent great amounts of time practicing and testing different combinations. I mostly stick to good ol’ Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour when I am baking because I know the combination works the way I need it to. Well, of course I wouldn’t have anymore of THAT in my box! So I had to improvise. And I have to say, I’m pretty dern proud of how they came out.

gluten free cupcakes

Gluten Free (and also, as luck would have it, vegan) Chocolate Cupcakes with (not vegan) Peanut Butter Frosting

2 cups Mr. and Meatless’ all purpose gluten free flour (see recipe below)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup coconut sugar (feel free to go ahead and use regular old white sugar if you wish. I use this because my mom is allergic to the white stuff and she usually likes to taste test)

sprinkling of salt

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 cup almond milk

Yep, that’s it. Now throw it all in your mixer and let ‘er rip! Scoop into a lined muffin pan and sort of flatten it out in there (use all the batter among the 12 spots). I also opened the oven and patted them into the correct shape just as they started getting firm on top, just to make sure they didn’t come out all hoaky. The batter is THICK, and it seems wrong, but it’ll be okay. Have a lil faith. Anyway, bake for about 20 minutes…the tops will be firm and you can poke them with a toothpick and the pick will come out not soupy. Let them cool all the way before frosting.

Mr. and Meatless’ all purpose gluten free flour

2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup potato starch

Whisk all the flours and starch together. Use what you need, then store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for ultimate freshness.

Peanut Butter Frosting

I have a hard time with frosting recipes. I keep adding stuff until it tastes right, but this is more or less the gist of it.

1 stick of butter, softened.

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup  milk of your choice

5 cups powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a largish bowl. Next add the powdered sugar and milk and stir until just mixed. It IS possible to overmix and then your butter gets all melty and your frosting is too soft and it’s all a big mess. This is also why I use a spoon and not my mixer. If you’ve mixed a reasonable amount and your frosting is too thick, add a little bit more milk…like a splash at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

gluten free cupcakes

Wasn’t that amazingly easy? I’ve always been intimidated by gluten free baking. But these, my friends, were both incredibly easy to make and completely delish. Enjoy!

gluten free cupcakes

June 8, 2012

No more convenience eating for me + Tucker turns one

I remember the days, not so long ago, when I could arrive home exhausted, feeling lazy and simply order a pizza to be delivered to my door within an hour’s time. Or I could call an order of sushi in at the place down the street or a burrito bowl from our favorite Mexican place and have Jim pick it up on his way home.

But the burrito bowl has corn in it. And the pizza is obviously filled with wheat flour. And some of the sauces they use on sushi have soy sauce in them, which is fermented with wheat, so questioning must be done before I eat any of it. So any convenience eating I used to do has effectively been removed from my life.

Last night Jim really wanted pizza, so we decided to pick up a frozen one for me at Whole Foods, and get him a take-n-bake from Raleys. Well, after a small meltdown in Whole Foods as a result of their being out of my favorite rice crust pizza, we did some research and learned that our local favorite pizza place, zPizza, carries a gluten-free crust. I called them up and confirmed they used to corn products in it, and placed an order (Jim got his own pizza there…with regular crust).

Yummy frozen Whole Foods rice crust pizza

 

I was a little hesitant at first because there had been some not so lovely reviews about this gluten-free crust from this particular pizza restaurant. Much to my pleasure, the crust was quite similar to the one I had planned on getting from Whole Foods. Was it as good as the crust on Jim’s pizza? No. Was it as bad as the rice crust my mom bought last week? Far from it! I’m aiming more these days for “Satisfying” rather than “blow me over delicious.” I can’t have the things I love anymore, so I have to satisfy my cravings with alternatives that are, well, satisfying.

The gluten free zPizza pie

In other news, I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but my favorite Lil Man turned one year old on Tuesday. His party is tomorrow and I’m making a zillion cupcakes as well as his personal cake tonight when I get home. I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie. I’m so tired, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all done tonight AND get my doctor recommended 30 minutes of elevated heart rate in. But I’ll do my best. Maybe a nice walk after dinner will cover it. He did say walking counted….

Eating (and thoroughly enjoying) his banana…the wrong way

Here are a few more photos for you from the first year of his life. I can’t believe it went by so quickly! It’s weird because the first few months went by slowly as I was waiting for my wedding day to arrive, but after that, time sure did pick up speed!

Me and Tuck at one week old. He was so tiny!

Probably still less than a month old

Love this one. Doesn’t it look like he’s trying hard to fart?!

He was four months old, helping me get ready to walk down the aisle

This little guy sure does bring a smile to my face. I’m so glad he came into my life a year ago. I can’t wait to see what the next year is like and the man he eventually grows into.

May 15, 2012

Corn and wheat free, day four

As I mentioned yesterday, I just found out I’m allergic to wheat and corn. I want to clarify that I do not have celiac disease. I am not allergic to gluten but to wheat specifically. And, to add a little extra fun, I’m hypoglycemic.

So for the past two days, I’ve been making sure I pack a good amount of snacks to get me through 8 hours at work. I used to just ignore my body telling me it was time for me to eat. I would argue with it, bargain with it to hold off until it was “time” to eat. But I can’t do that anymore. It makes sense now why my body was acting the way it was. It needed food. Granted, now it feels like all I’m doing all day is eating. But I’ve decided that if I can pack a reasonable amount of food for the day, as long as I don’t eat more than what I pack, I should be good.

This is what was in my snack pack today (and yesterday, pretty much). Strawberries, carrots (I ate about half of them before I took the photo), rice crackers (I also ate a few of), tofu (Its teriyaki flavored and may have trace amounts of wheat, but I threw away the package and I didn’t want to waste the rest). Also in there is a cappuccino flavored Lara bar and a couple of Dove chocolate hearts.

Yesterday this combination, along with some of this salad, got me through the day quite nicely.

It’s the Mediterranean Crunch salad from Whole Foods, and ti’s got all sorts of deliciousness in it including chickpeas, red peppers, zucchini, kale, kalamata olives, onions, lemon juice and tomato among other things. It’s not something I would have normally picked up, but since it was “clean,” I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Last night before Jim and I went out to play tennis, we ate frozen pizzas for dinner. This was one section of Whole Foods I almost broke down in the other night because all the pizzas seemed to have either wheat or corn in them. Finally I found two that were “clean” and I tried this one last night:

As an added bonus, this pizza was vegan. Although I fixed that by adding some goat cheese to the top for the last five minutes of cooking time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. My mom has dealt with food allergies, including wheat, for a long time, and I’ll tell you, some of the stuff she used to have to eat, I wouldn’t touch with a 35 foot pole. But this pizza? It surprised me. I think I actually enjoyed the rice crust more than I enjoy wheat crust. It was crispy and had good texture as well as flavor. The sauce was really good and the veggies, although not quite as pretty as the ones on the front of the box, were pleasant enough.

Eventually I plan on making a lot of my own food. Pizza crust and breads and such, but I also count on some of my energy coming back as well. My philosophy, as of now, is to get by. To eat what I can eat and stress as little as possible so I continue to stick with it instead of getting frustrated and quitting, and giving my life back up to exhaustion. I feel like I may finally be able to live a little, to feel like I’m experiencing it and not just going through the motions, and I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew (ha ha) and get overwhelmed at the start.

So even though they’re not the greatest for you, I figure I’ll eat a lot of frozen pizzas…and prepared salads from Whole Foods and bento lunch boxes full of fruits, veggies and rice crackers. I just have to get through each day. And when I feel better, and not so much like just plopping on the couch when I get home, I’ll start to experiment with my own corn and wheat-free creations. So stay tuned!

Do you have any food allergies? Or sensitivities? Have you ever tried rice crust pizza?

April 24, 2012

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

Anyone out there watch Cupcake Wars? Did you see the episode with Chloe Coscarelli winning the competition with vegan cupcakes?

Well, she just came out with a cookbook full of all sorts of vegan deliciousness, and I decided to give her BBQ Pineapple Pizza recipe a whirl on Sunday, making a few alterations of my own, of course.

 

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

Adapted from recipe by Chloe Coscarelli

2 whole wheat pitas

2ish cups bbq sauce

7 oz slab of firm tofu

1/2 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

pineapple chunks (I didn’t really measure, I just kept putting it on top until it looked like it evenly covered the top)

cilantro

mozzarella cheese for sprinkling (this is optional. It removes the vegan label, but Jim sure enjoyed the addition)

 

Chef Chloe enlightened me to an amazing little tofu trick. If you wrap it in a paper towel, place it in a shallow dish and put something heavyish on top of it, the water will drain out and it will more effectively absorb the flavors around it. I would highly recommend doing this. I left it for about 10-15 minutes while I prepared other parts of the pizza.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until they’re soft. Set aside. Cut tofu into small squares. Coat tofu with 1/2 of the bbq sauce in a bowl. Transfer tofu to a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, turning pieces over a couple of times. Meanwhile, slather your pitas with the rest of the bbq sauce. Sprinkle with onion, pineapple and tofu (and cheese if you’re using it). Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Bake pizzas for about 10 minutes or until the pita gets a little crunchy.

Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

It was pretty dern delicious, if you ask me. And even though it was covered with tofu, Jim ate all of his too.

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April 24, 2012

Sunday morning breakfast

I may have mentioned before that on Sunday mornings, I almost always make breakfast. Jim sleeps while I rustle around in the kitchen, throwing things together (unless somehow I have the foresight to PLAN….which rarely happens). This past Sunday, I had a vision…for Jim’s breakfast. Since I’m not doing eggs, I needed another vision for my own, but more on that later. But he thoroughly enjoyed the little concoction I created for him.

Please excuse the crappy cell phone pictures. I had to snap this one before he dug in!

Baked Egg Biscuits

Makes approx 6 biscuits

For the biscuit

1 cup Bisquick

1/3 cup milk

1 egg

seasoning (I used Jim’s stepdad’s special mix….you can include salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary…really its up to you)

2 veggie sausage links, chopped (or, you know, real meat sausage links if you have them…I didn’t, so Jim went veggie)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Throw all the ingredients in your handy-dandy mixer and mix until combined. Scoop dough into about 6 biscuits on a greased baking sheet. Bake for approx 7 minutes, or until edges just start to brown. Poke an indent into the biscuits and crack an egg into each. Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until eggs are just set. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

While Jim was eating his egg biscuits, I was eating the delicious vegan pancakes I whipped up for myself.

Vegan cranberry almond pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp flaxseed meal

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 cup almond milk (if your batter seems a little thick, feel free to add a splash or two more)

splash of almond extract

handful of dried cranberries (if you have patience, which I didn’t, you can soak them in warm water beforehand so they’re softer)

handful of slivered almonds

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly stir in the wet ingredients. Fold in cranberries and almonds. Cook on a nonstick skillet with a little olive oil. This recipe made the two pancakes you see above. It’s perfect for one hungry person (I left about 1/4 of one of those on my plate. They were filling!) or two not so hungry people with a few things (like the grapes and veggie sausage shown here) on the side.

What do you usually have for Sunday morning breakfast? Do you cook or do you go out or  just munch on whatever is around?

March 23, 2012

Mediterranean Couscous salad + silencing my fears

I’ve mentioned it before. My fears more or less try to run my life, and a lot of the time, I let them. And I know that’s not right, and that I should focus on the positive aspects of any situation, but I’ve only recently come to the realization that I do let my fears rule most of my life, so it’s going to be a process to retrain my brain to think differently.

On Tuesday, I went in for a massage with my wonderful friend Christie, who is a little bit like magic. She can work muscular miracles. She actually taught me how to relax and let my massages work for me. But she’s more than just a massage therapist because when I go in there, I don’t know what it is, but my brain starts going to these crazy places. It’s like I find these pockets of clarity. I’ve come to more realizations about my life on that table than anywhere else I can think of.

And this week’s realization was that my commute time is killing me. It’s where I do my most dangerous thinking. It’s where I make plans, where I contemplate my future, where I do my best worrying and over-thinking.  What else have I got to do for 45 minutes each way? Sure, I listen to the radio like most Americans, but it isn’t enough to really take me out of my head.

So I decided I need to find a way to distract myself while I’m driving (of course not too much because I still have to drive!). I’ve always used reading as a way to escape my own life. What better way to forget your own problems that to become engrossed in someone else’s? So I bought a couple of books on cd and I’ve been listening to them in the car the past few days.

And let me tell you, I feel much better! I don’t get caught up in my head AND I feel less stressed about driving. I drive slower (not that I’m a lead foot or anything, but I noticed I hover a lot closer to 65 than 75 lately), and jerk drivers just don’t seem to annoy me quite as much. I don’t care as much about them because more interesting things are going on in my car!

On a completely different but equally exciting note, I promised you a recipe, so here it is!

I adapted this recipe from one in my new cookbook, Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for great vegan recipes. I haven’t tried a recipe I didn’t like yet.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

2 cups dry couscous

2 cups water

2 tbsp olive oil

3-4 small zucchini, cut in half-circles

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

10ish kalamata olives, halved

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

1 leek, sliced thin

a handful of spinach, roughly chopped

tarragon (I hate to add measurements for spices. Everyone likes their own amount. Use as much or as little as you’d like)

thyme

garlic powder

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add couscous. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute zucchini, leeks, corn and spinach with olive oil and spices. Add soy sauce and vinegar. Mix and let veggies absorb liquid a little. Add tomatoes and olives and let cook until these last ingredients are just warm. Maybe a minute. Toss couscous with veggie mix. Let sit for a few minutes so the flavors can be absorbed in the couscous. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve and enjoy!

Christy says this salad tastes amazing cold as well as hot. I was having it for dinner, so hot seemed right, but I’m curious to try it cold. Maybe for lunch today!

This is a seriously delicious, amazingly easy dish. I think it will be a go-to for summer dinners.

Well, I’m off to lunch with my mommy (yes, leftover couscous salad) and then a fun-filled weekend with my husband and “little sissy,” Ashley, who is hanging with us! I can’t wait!