Archive for recipe

Days 7-11: A Summary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by smalltownhealth

I’ve kept very busy this week and completely neglected my blog; my apologies. Along with a few standard meals (oatmeal, veggie sammiches, soup, etc), I ventured out into unknown vegan territorycheese. Keep reading to find out if it was a delicious vegan win, or a disastrous fail.

Random meal pictures of the week:

Grilled Portobello Burger

I need a bigger mouth–this was heaven in a bun.

Ate the Whole Bowl 5 Bean Salad

Raspberry Sorbet–a little treat.

Tempeh/Broccoli Stir-Fry

Mac-n-Cheese FAIL:

Yes, you read that right; it was a major FAIL. It was creamy, and it looked like it would be delicious. It was not. Perhaps it is because I LOVE macaroni & cheese, and I know what the real thing is supposed to taste like. Perhaps it is because I had high expectations. Perhaps vegans just don’t know mac-n-cheese. I blame it on all three. I tried to flavor-it-up a bit with some red onions and black beans…not happening. I ate it anyways, but I’ll never make it again.

Last night, I redeemed myself with Sweet Potato, Black Bean Enchiladas. Sounds crazy, but it was the best meal I’d had all week! Definitely a recipe to keep in rotation:

Sweet Potato Goodness

Plus Beans

Plus Cheese (Veggie, of course) = Vegan FTW!!!

Trust me, you want to copy this down:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
3-4 cloves garlic; minced
juice of 1 big lime
2 heaping cups cooked sweet potatoes, smashed a bit
1/2 cup chipped roasted green chiles
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder or curry powder (I used Mexi-style hot chili powder)
sea salt & black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp (or more) fresh cilantro; chopped
shredded cheese to top
8 white corn tortillas (or Ezekiel tortillas–YUM!)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour 1/4 can of chile sauce in bottom of casserole dish.
Beans: in a small bowl, combine black beans, garlic, and lime juice. Toss to coat, and set aside.
Sweet Potato Mixture: Combine sweet potatoes, green chiles, spices, salt & pepper, and cilantro.
To assemble: Place a warmed tortilla in dish w/ sauce. Top tortilla with 1/8 of bean mixture and 1/8 of sweet potato mixture. Roll it up. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top with the remaining chile sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Devour.

While this whole vegan kickstart started off a breeze, I’m beginning to regret it. However, I’m on day 12–9 more days to go. To put it bluntly, there no way I could be a vegan for life. No way. I miss seafood the most. Cheese. Yogurt. Eggs. I will not miss making 6 meals a day–my kids and husband are not following along on this vegan adventure. Do I think that a vegan diet is the healthiest diet? Short answer: no. How can a diet lacking an essential vitamin (B12) be a healthy one? Of course there are B12 fortified foods available to vegans–all are processed–not my cuppa tea. For more info on B12, CLICK HERE.

So, I’m counting down. Nine more days. There’s a nip in the air lately, and I’m in the mood for some beef stew. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the pumpkin pie!

🙂

Day 6: Yummus

Posted in Three Week Vegan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by smalltownhealth

You know it’s one of my favorites when I’m excited to eat the leftovers for breakfast. Some examples would be Chinese takeout, pizza (cold), shrimp & quinoa, and Apple Spice Squash. You heard correctly…squash for breakfast. Today it was served up alongside some fried polenta with maple syrup for pure morning awesomeness.

Crispy on the outside. Gooey on the inside. Sweet & salty goodness.

A perfect match.

I was a bit worried when I remembered I couldn’t use butter to fry up the polenta. Luckily, Earth Balance did the job perfectly. As Fabio would say, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

Considering I ate breakfast around 11am, I skipped a formal lunch. I did munch on a few tortilla chips with leftover Black-Eyed Pea Salad. I wasn’t really in the mood for a big dinner, either. I opted to keep it simple with some toasted pita chips, hummus, and a few carrots. I am the queen of dips, and I honestly think I could live on this one!

Yummus in my Tummus Hummus–Recipe @ Bottom!

Love me some toasty pitas ‘n sea salt!

No dessert tonight–housework and rain made (yes, forced) me to miss my run this morning :(. I’m a bad, bad runner. I do remember that I have a few pumpkins ready from the garden for the absolute most incredible dairy-free/gluten-free pumpkin pie EVER! Dare I share that recipe with you? I think I might. For now, you’ll have to settle for this one, which is every bit as delicious:

Yummus in my Tummus Hummus
1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans; drained
1 (4oz) jar roasted red peppers (I like the kind in oil w/ garlic)
3 Tbsp lemon juice (real lemons, people!)
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 handful fresh cilantro or parsley (I prefer cilantro)
and for you non-vegans…1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese!
Blend it all together, and let it chill for about an hour (if you can wait that long). Best served up w/ warm toasty pita chips, but it’s also great on wraps, sammiches, and veggies!

If you’re in the mood for a little something spicy, sub the roasted red peppers for some pickled jalapenos, lime juice for lemon juice, cilantro for parsley, and ditch the feta all together (if you used it in the first place). This version is great on tortilla chips!

Sweet pumpkin pie dreams, food nerds. Until tommorow!

😉

Day 5: Still Alive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by smalltownhealth

I have not wasted away into nothing. I am not showing any signs of meat/dairy withdraw. I have made it to day 5 of my vegan adventure. I rule.

Part 1 of today’s breakfast of champions: Aunt Kathi’s Peach Ginger Jam.

Peach Preserves w/ Candied Ginger…UH-MAZING! Thanks, Kathi!

Part 2…Add the Oatmeal:

Nom Nom Nom

Sprinkle it with some toasty walnuts, and I’m satisfied until…

LUNCH: leftover Chickpea Cutlet

warmed up and slapped on a bun w/ lettuce and tomato and a little veganaise = YUM.

I also munched on some Michigan-grown Marquis grapes–neon green and fabulous 🙂

I ended up having kind of a weird dinner. One one hand, I was hungry for something fresh. Enter Black-eyed Pea salad.

Screams summer!

On the other hand, I wanted something warm and fall-ish. Enter Apple-Spice Acorn Squash.

My Fall Favorite!

What’s that you’re thinking? You wish you had the recipe? Just call me Zoltar: You’re wish is granted.

Apple-Spice Stuffed Squash
2 acorn squash
2 small apples; chopped
1/2 cup walnuts; chopped
1 Tbsp orange zest; freshly grated (Don’t make it if you don’t have this!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Earth Balance “butter”; melted
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
sprinkle of ground cloves
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. (Save the seeds for roasting!)
  3. Place cut-side down in a baking dish, and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. While squash is cooking, combine all other ingredients.
  5. Turn squash cut-side up, fill with apple mixture, and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

While I usually consider this squash my dessert, my awesome husband brought home some yummy, vegan raspberry sorbet for me. How could I resist? Unfortunately, dessert never lasts long enough for a picture.

Tomorrow I’ll be up and running (literally) bright and early. It will be the first day since I’ve started this whole vegan thing that I go for a run. My 5k is coming up in 3 weeks, and it’s time to hit the trails. It should be interesting to see if I notice any difference in my training. Hopefully, if there is a difference, it will be for the better 🙂 I need some kind of excuse to keep eating peanut butter cups and sorbet, right?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’m looking forward to cheering on the athletes at the Tri on Sunday! Those people are animals!


Day 4: Easy (Chick)Peas-y

Posted in Three Week Vegan with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by smalltownhealth

I’m beginning to like this vegan thing. Sure I miss cheese and yogurt, BUT I am realizing that it takes hardly any time at all to make some amazing eats.

Most important meal of the day: Blueberry, Walnut Oatmeal w/ a drizzle of Maple Syrup.

Delicious by itself…

better with green tea!

Skip ahead a few hours…remember that potato I couldn’t stuff down last night? Well I re-heated it in my trusty toaster oven* to make the skin extra crispy, drizzled it with some olive oil, sprinkled it with some salt ‘n pepper, and enjoyed every last crumb. Plain and simple–the best way to enjoy a baked potato. I also scarfed down an apple. I must have been hungry, because I forgot to take a picture. Everyone close your eyes…imagine an apple and a baked potato. There you go.

Moving right along…dinnertime.  I pulled out an all-time favorite recipe from The Veganomicon: Chickpea Cutlets. If you’ve never made these, they’re a must-try. I’ve even shaped them into “chick nuggets” for the kids–they love ’em.

Stop drooling on your keyboard.

Add a side of Mango/Cilantro/Lime Couscous

Again w/ the drooling!

Now that’s a meal!

No dessert tonight, this vegan is STUFFED.

*Getting back to the whole toaster oven thing: we tossed the ol’ microwave over a year ago, and here’s why:

  1. Microwaves decrease the nutritional value of your food.
  2. The heat from a microwave leaches harmful chemicals into your food from the container it’s cooked in.
  3. Anything with microwave directions probably isn’t that nourishing to begin with.

We don’t miss it–ever. For more info on the dangers of microwave ovens, click here.

For now, I’m heading up to sleep off this food coma. As usual, if you see something you like drop me a comment, and I’ll post the recipe! And for all you skeptics, notice I have yet to eat just a salad? I guess there’s more to being vegan than rabbit food after all 🙂

Day 2: Dinnertime, and the Vegan is Easy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Day 2 of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart: Almost out of fruit, wanting some Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas, and a mad craving for chocolate–time to shop. First stop, Kroger. Managed to pick up some cheap organic/gluten-free cereal for the kiddos, some wasabi powder, a couple loaves of Ezekiel 4:9 bread (on sale, plus coupons!), and some vegan soups (on sale, too, of course). I had planned on picking up some veggie burgers, but a quick glance at the ingredients (MSG!) changed my mind pretty quickly. I’ll make my own. This decision led me to my friendly neighborhood health food store.

There, I grabbed some TVP (texturized vegetable protein) for my veg burgers, some nutritional yeast, and the bargain of the day–Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas ($3 less than at Kroger!). That store has so many goodies, I could stay there all day. Alas, one more stop.

Meijer! This is where I stocked up on everything else for the week. Tons of fruits/veggies, some quinoa hiding way on the back of the shelf, navy beans, pinto beans, refried beans (vegetarian), black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (that’s a lot of beans!), plus a few other necessities.

Three stores, one shopping cart, and two baskets later I was finally ready to go home. I hadn’t even had lunch yet (thanks, in part, to my filling breakfast of leftover oatmeal. It was 3:30–might as well make an early dinner. Grocery shopping night is always taco night in our house. They’re fast and easy, and most importantly delicious. The husband and kids had grass-fed beef tacos. I, being the good 21-Day vegan that I am, had portobello soft tacos w/ all the fixin’s.

Oh, avocado, how I love thee. ❤

I suppose I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not a fan of MSG, and you shouldn’t be, either. Those little taco seasoning packets at the store are LOADED with it! After many failed attempts at making my own seasoning that actually tasted yummy, I finally found one. Trust me, this is the last taco seasoning recipe you’ll ever need. You’re welcome, in advance.

Nacho Mama’s Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder (I use Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch or flour (to thicken and keep from clumping)
Adjust the red pepper flakes to your heat preference. Add 2-3 Tbsp of seasoning per lb of meat. To make it thick and saucy, after seasoning has been added to meat, stir in 1/3 cup water.

There you have it! Also, for all you cheese lovers (myself included!), I added a few slices of avocado to my tacos tonight and never even missed the cheese. Their creamy texture makes for an excellent mayonnaise substitute as well.

Green Goodness

Final thoughts for the day?

  1. Read your labels. MSG is hiding everywhere–be sure to know its aliases, too!
  2. Eat beans and oatmeal (not together, ew)–cheap and filling.
  3. Avocados are your friend.

Eat on, foodies.

Day 1: The Veginning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by smalltownhealth

The day has finally arrived: Day 1 of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. After a weekend full of roasted meatiness (read: Annual Family Pig Roast), I am beyond ready to go vegan. Looking back, four chickens and sausage stuffing all sewn up into a pig on a spit DOES seem a little over-the-top.

And how could someone eat something with a face as cute as this?

Poor piggy. Let the conscious, cruelty-free eating begin.

For breakfast: a bowl of ooey gooey apple-cinnamon oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and a wee-tad bit of maple syrup.

So filling, I couldn’t finish the entire bowl.

For lunch: a portabella, onion, pepper, and spinach wrap w/ spicy homemade salsa. Simply scrumptious.

Portabella fajita? Yes, please!

And finally, for dinner: Tofu/Veggie Stir-Fry

With homemade tofu, no less! 🙂

Today was a breeze. I did catch myself one time reaching for the carton of cottage cheese to snack on–oops. No worries. I grabbed some nuts and raisins instead–satisfied. Twenty more days and tons of recipes to look forward to! This is gonna be a piece of (vegan) cake.

Oh, and if you see anything you like, drop me a comment and I’ll post the recipe!

Until tomorrow, food lovers.

Eat Me!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Tonight I’m posting one of my all-time FAVORITE recipes. It’s super-versatile, healthy, and oh-so-delicious…even cold.

Who You Callin’ Shrimp, Quinoa Tabbouleh
1 lb raw shrimp (pre-cooked are yucky…trust me); cleaned and deveined
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon; juiced (c’mon, use a real lemon!)
2 cloves of garlic; crushed
1/2 tsp each salt ‘n peppa (whatta man, whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…sorry, sidetracked)
1/2 pint (or more, if you like…I like) cherry tomatoes; halved
3/4-1 cup Kalamata olives; halved (splurge on these–it’s not the same w/o them)
1 green bell pepper; chopped (I’ve experimented w/ the other colors–green’s the best!)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley; chopped
3 oz (approx) crumbled feta cheese
1 box quinoa, cooked in broth–not beef broth, not water
  • Place shrimp, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/4 tsp EACH salt n’ peppa in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Grab a big serving bowl–combine tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, parsley, feta, and remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt ‘n peppa.

Before the quinoa was added

  • Add cooked quinoa, and mix well.
  • Heat a pan over med-high heat. Place the shrimp in a SINGLE LAYER!!! and cook 2 minutes/side–enough to get a nice crust.
  • Mix shrimp into quinoa mixture.Eat your heart out!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Seriously, this stuff is amazing. It’s gluten-free and can also be adapted to fit any vegetarian or vegan lifestyle–obviously just by omitting the shrimp and feta. Hope you try it and love it as much as I do!

Cheers!