Tag Archives: cooking

Arugula & Farro Wheat Salad with Pesto Dressing: The Perfect Heart Healthy Spring Salad!

30 Apr

TiVArugFarroPestoIf you are looking for a new twist on salads, this is a great healthy option that is loaded with flavor!  Pesto is a great dressing for salads- not just pasta- and we must admit, we are hooked 🙂

Whether it’s for one, family dinner or even great for a party or BBQ , it will be sure to please!  Try left over vegetables from your previous meal and toss them in, really, anything goes…

What you need:

  • Fresh Arugula
  • Toasted Farro Wheat
  • Baby Spinach
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Grilled Asparagus
  • Onion
  • Pesto

Farro

Farro is a whole grain and soft on the outside, a bit firm and crunchy on the inside and worth it to give it a try!  Simply pour grain in pot and cover with water (a couple of inches above the grain) and bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour.  You don’t need to soak them but you certainly could to increase your body’s ability to digest it.

Pesto

There are so many ways to make a really, really good pesto so play around and Try it!  We have a favorite that we talk about HERE   but here is another suggestion:

(for a salad and some extra)

  • 1 cup of basil or 1/2 cup basil, 1/2 parsley or cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts or walnuts

Throw in a Vitamix or blender and Ta-Da!  Your new salad dressing 🙂

TryitVeganArugulaandFarroSalad

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Vegan Cheesy Enchiladas Recipe- treat yourself to Mexican tonight!

31 Jan

tryitvegan enchiladas with quacamoleThis is a fairly simple recipe and a family favorite!  Loaded with protein and no cholesterol, there is a ton of flavor and  great textures, this is sure to please! The cheese sauce also makes an incredible dip for nachos, chips, vegetables plus don’t forget Super Bowl and, of course,  perfect for this dish.

 

When we first introduced a Vegan diet in our house, this was one of my “best sellers” for the kids and DH.  Hook, line and sinker, they LOVED it and it has since become a monthly dish.  We don’t serve it with any other side dish since it is incredibly filling and we keep it fairly simple but you can go crazy with the toppings!

Sadly, leftovers normally sit in the fridge until it’s time to clean it out however with this dish, it is a different story 😉  (I’m actually looking forward to lunch tomorrow, nom!)  The recipe serves 5-6 people.  Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!

What you need:

  • 12 tortillas
  • 3 cans of beans of your choice (we used kidney, pinto and black beans, 14 1/2 oz. cans each)
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce (15 oz. each)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • Salsa (fresh is best, we grabbed some pre made at Whole Foods)
  • Guacamole (see above)

tryitvegan enchiladas insideCheese sauce:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard (ground)
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (earth balance) (can be omitted if you are watching calorie intake)

Extra topping suggestions that we skipped but you may like:

  • vegan sour cream
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped olives
  • shredded vegan cheese

Start cheese sauce on the stove (medium heat) by adding flour, nutritional yeast, salt & garlic powder into a small pot and stir or whisk in the water and continue to do so until it is thick (6-8 minutes).  Take off of stove top and stir in mustard and earth balance, if using.  Pour some into a bowl for later (1/4-1/2 cup to drizzle on before serving)
tryitvegan enchiladesIn large pot on medium heat, pour 1 1/2 cans of the enchilada  sauce, beans, 1/2 cup of salsa and onions and mix together.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on the bottom of of your pan.  Place tortillas in pan, coating the bottom with sauce and spoon mixture into tortilla, roll up and place in pan side by side.  Continue until all 12 are wrapped.  Pour vegan cheese mixture on top and pop in the oven (350) for 35 minutes.

Use a spatula (wooden works too) and serve with a scoop of guacamole and salsa.  Drizzle some of the remaining cheese sauce on top.

Margarita, anyone?  😉

So… Try it!

~M~

tryitvegan enchiladas vegan     tryitvegan enchiladas close up

A touch of citrus for dinner: Mandarin Orange Chick’n (Gardein) & Cauliflower with Garlicy-Lemon Zested Crumbs

27 Jan

TryitVegan Gardein orange chickenAfter nearly a week m.i.a. with a virus, it is safe to say that food was not something I was preparing, let alone, eating.  I have to admit, I had not been to the store in a week and didn’t know what was left in the fridge so my first night back in the kitchen and it was a fairly quick fix!

~The vegan chicken that may be too much like the real thing~

I was not prepared for everyone to enjoy this as much as they did and the boys, who still do eat meat at times when getting food from out of the home, enjoyed this chick’n the most *wink!  I’m thinking it was the texture… so if you have any meat eaters, give this a try!  Normally, I would serve this with some brown rice, which we were out of tonight, so some vegetable pasta did the trick and some awesome cauliflower (never saw those two words together?  Yeah, neither had I before tonight.)  My taste buds are still a little bit off or actually, missing all together so the texture may have been a little too real for me but after this past week,

TryitVegan Delish Cauliflower ingredients organic bread crumbs garlic lemon zest olive oil parsleyI’m not the most reliable when it comes to food tasting when not all senses are working up to full throttle.

TryitVegan cooliflour with breadcrumbs zestThe kids went back for seconds and, in addition, my eleven year old finished off my plate so… totally kid & omnivore approved 😉

The cauliflower dish is a must make next time you grab a head of it and I would guess that you would turn some “cauli-haters” into “cauli-lovers” this way.

Within 30 minutes you will be able to have dinner on the table so a quick fix as well!

Here’s the deal…

TryitVegan Gardein mandarin orange crispy chicken

For the chick’n dish, grab a bag (or two) of the Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n in the freezer section of your supermarket.  I popped the contents on a pan and baked for 17 minutes on 425 and heated the sauces (which are in bags) in a mug of hot water.

For color, I grabbed a couple of bell peppers (red and yellow- organic, go crazy!) and heated them (1/2 a pepper each) on medium low heat with simply some water so they don’t stick to the pan.

 

If you are making the cauliflower side, you need to prepare it by washing and cutting it into small florets and they will need more time in the oven (425 for 20 minutes or until slight coloring/browning).  Great part is you can have them both in there together.

What you need (we served 5 with no leftovers): (organic if you can… go crazy!)

  • cauliflower head cut into florets
  • Olive oil (1/8- 1/4  cup plus 2 tbsp on the side)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I did 1/2 cup with 1/4 cup olive oil and would half it next time)
  • organic lemon -zest of entire lemon
  • one garlic clove minced
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper

Toss the cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet, cooking for 20 minutes on 425 or until slightly browned (toss/flip halfway through).  While baking, grab a pan, heat on medium and warm remaining olive oil.  Include bread crumbs and mix until slightly browned (2 minutes) then add lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper until fragrant.  Chop up a tbsp of parsley and toss it in, empty into bowl and once the cauliflower is done, sprinkle on.

Our final meal looked something like this:  (thanks to finding the idea for the recipe here)

  Tryitvegan dinner Gardein mandarin orange chicken with delish cauliflower garlic lemon bread crumb style copy TryitVegan Gardein mandorine orange chicken  TryitVegan cooliflour with breadcrumbs

Try it!

~M~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning: these resources have been known to breed Vegans, read with caution

16 Jan

Breeding Vegans?    No worries, I’m not contagious so you can’t catch the Vegivirus but you just may WANT TO after watching and reading these books and movies.

Oct. 2009 “Do you know of any books that I can read?  What movie do you recommend that is educational but won’t leave me bringing up my last meal?  Are there any magazines?”

I had my share of questions and it’s kind of ironic that I am asked often the same questions that I had back in the day.  The great thing to know is that there are so many more resources today than there were a few months ago compared to years ago.  Let me ask you:

  • Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?
  • If there was a way of eating that resulted in you having beautiful skin, energy and a maintained healthy weight, would you be curious to at least learn of it to see if you would even want to try it?
  • Did you ever wonder exactly what “Vegan” means exactly but didn’t want to be intimidated into “doing it” or “becoming one”?

One morning back in October of 2009 I had a day like many people do, having milk in my cereal, cheese on my burger and enjoyed my bacon extra crispy.  I had to stop at the local Costco to pick up some dinner and as “luck” or “destiny” had it, I spotted Alicia Silverstone on the cover of some book called, The Kind Diet.  I always adored her and the title of the book wasn’t the “IN YOUR FACE” type of a diet book so I picked it up and went about my shopping.  That night I read nearly the entire book and I felt as if someone had lifted a veil from my eyes.

In a very gentle way, Alicia gave me enough information to eliminate meat from my diet forever.   That, my friends, was the beginning of a new chapter in my life I was NOT expecting.

IF THAT MORNING, someone would have told me that the last time I ate meat would be then, I would say that you are OFF YOUR TREE.  I had NO INTEREST in becoming a Vegan prior.  Neither did my teenage daughter who at the time, was 12  when she read the book and hasn’t touched meat since.

I also had never made the effort to learn more about where my food was coming from and I’ve got to tell you, once you know, you look at food entirely in a different way.

PLEASE don’t take my word for it!!  I’m not trying to convince you.  I’m trying to lead you to some information so that you can make your own decision but at least know about what you are putting into your body and where it is coming from.  You may be surprised to find out why you or someone you love may have some issues like digestive issues, colitis, acne, bloating, excess phlegm, excess weight, diabetes or even heart disease JUST TO NAME A FEW.

Some of the more memorable books that opened my eyes:  (More educational than recipe books…I will be posting my recipe book recommendations soon although a few of these do have some.)

  • Product Details

    Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

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    Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking… by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman

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    Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your… by Kim Barnouin

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    The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone and Neal D. Barnard

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    The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet… by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, Howard Lyman and John Robbins ( not the easiest ready but stay on it!  This book made one of the impacts on me, don’t skip it!)

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    The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the… by Rip Esselstyn

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    Diet for a New America by John Robbins

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    MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard F. Lyman and Glen Merzer

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    Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition by Joel Fuhrman

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    Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set) by Joel Fuhrman

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    Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living by Alisa Marie Fleming

I LOVE these magazines:

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    Vegnews

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    Vegetarian Times

  • ****Brand new Vegan Magazine is called Laika Magazine, check it out at laikamagazine.com  Very well done!

Some movies to get you started that aren’t going to make you lose your lunch:

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Food, Inc.
  • Vegucated

Movie that is incredibly good but hold the popcorn… it’s powerful and is a Vegan breeder for sure.  I don’t think anyone can go back to eating meat after watching this in all honesty.

  • Earthlings

After all is said and done, it’s your choice entirely, right?  No one can force you to watch, read or learn.  Don’t do it for anyone but yourself.  At least you will be able to say, yes, I read the books and saw the movies and finally, I made the decision to do _____ for me.  Best wishes and as always, I encourage you to…

Try it!

~M~

This dip was a slam dunk! Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

15 Jan

Look no further, you have found an AWESOME dip that is a MUST try!  Collar is popped, this wife and Momma gets a ten thumbs up, yeah Baby!  I have been wanting to make this since I came across the recipe and chose to make it as an appetizer for the family to munch on.

Excuse my lack of photography skills!

Excuse my lack of photography skills!

Just pull out your phone or pencil and old-school shopping list because I’m going to start off with listing the ingredients and you WILL want to make this over the next few days.  It’s OMNIVORE & KID APPROVED and I would imagine a great dip for veggies or shh, chips.  (Oh come on, like you don’t crave them every so often… healthy or not!)

Ok, shopping list… are you ready?  You will need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in large matchsticks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)  (now for the dip)
  • 1 -2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 -4 tsp sweet chili sauce (I liked it with more)
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped cilantro

I used the food processor to make the fries uniform in size which obviously helps with the cooking time and obviously, cuts back on prep time.

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss potatoes and olive oil in a large bowl.  Combine salt, cumin, chile powder, paprika, pepper and cayenne in a small ball and then add spices to potatoes and toss to coat.  Arrange on baking sheet and back 12-15 minutes, then toss and bake for ten minutes.  (The last ten minutes I put the convection oven on).  Remove and dip away!

Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

Combine everything but the cilantro in a bowl and whisk together, add cilantro and mix.

Whether you are a party of one or need a dish for a party, this is a great alternative to the  others.  The original recipe may be found at food52.com which is one of my go-to places to find some delish dishes!

Try it!

-M

Check out what the kids (big & small) had for lunch: Vegan Steak Marsala…

1 Jan

Vegan Chicken Marsala

Maureen:  “JUST SAYIN’… The 13 year old thanked me for his lunch today.  If that gives you any idea if the kids would like it…”

Ok, we will say it.  There are some vegetables that we like better than others and mushrooms are definitely classified under the “other” category.

YET, we have made them a staple in our weekly diet because when a few other ingredients are added to cover up enhance the taste, you are left with a delish’ dish that has the consistency of meat while tricking your eyes and taste buds.

Personally, we like sauces and lots of it so we do make more for us but for you, play around with the recipe and Try it!

For two hungry people (or for you and gift yourself of a leftover!):

  • 3 Portabella mushroom caps (look for organic if you can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tbsp oil (olive or grape seed)
  • 3/4 cup of Whole Wheat or Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • pasta, rice, quinoa or couscous for underneath (we used pasta this time- you decide but start it before your “steak”)
  1. Slice up one mushroom cap into flat slices the size of a penny or dime.
  2. Dice Green onions and mince garlic
  3. Add oil to pan on medium heat
  4. coat the two whole mushroom caps with flour and place in hot pan.  I cooked them for 3-4 minutes on each side and removed from pan
  5. add chopped mushrooms, garlic and green onions and cook until soft, just a few minutes
  6. I added the wine and broth with a couple of tbsp of flour and thickened up the sauce putting the temperature on simmer
  7. I added a little salt and pepper
  8. place both mushroom caps in sauce and allow to absorb the flavor…
  9. serve over your rice/pasta/seed/grain

Once again, the technique may not be the best but as I’ve said before, I’m not the best cook.  With that said, I need to eat with my eyes and then my mouth and I like tasty food that leans on the healthier side.  I wish that I had learned of this earlier because I think I would have enjoyed this back when I was eating meat, in case you have any omnivore friends or family 😉  Try it Vegan!

 

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Greek/Cypriot Macaroni with meat… the Veganlicious version!

29 Dec

Greek/Cypriot Macaroni “me kema” (Macaroni with meat… the Veganlicious version!)

Warning!!  Aroma fills the kitchen quickly and attracts family/friends before food is ready!”

One dish that my Cypriot/Greek mother in law taught me is a favorite in our house.  Once I went Vegan and stopped buying/handling/eating meat, I found a better, tastier alternative minus the added cholesterol and so-full-I’m-sick feeling.  This is omnivorous husband and kid approved… a monthly staple in our house.

~Disclaimer:  It should be noted that I am not the best cook in the world, close to it nor claim to be anything other than someone who wants good tasting food that leans on the healthier side.  I welcome your cooking tips and suggestions to make this a better site for all 🙂  With that said… enjoy!  (I know you will… :))

What you need for 4 hungry people:

1lb of Pasta (I personally use Whole Wheat)

1 package Vegan Beef crumbles (Boca or my favorite by Smart Ground)

1-2 tbsp oil (I like olive or grape seed oil)

1/2 cup diced onion (sweet/yellow)

1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro (combo of both isn’t bad either)

14oz. can of diced tomatoes (whole tomatoes I like better and then dice myself.  Go crazy… use organic!  Your taste buds will thank you!)

(I’ve been known to add a little tomato paste, tomato sauce or in a pinch, ketchup (GASP!!) at times… with or without it’s still yummy)

(OPTION:  no canned tomatoes?  Use fresh!  4-5 Organic Roma tomatoes and a couple of tbsp of tomato paste works great too!)

cinnamon

1 tbsp Greek seasoning (No Greek seasoning?  Use Italian seasoning.  Have mint?  Go crazy, add a dash ;)

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Vegan Parmigiana is optional but delish!

Directions:

(Cook pasta according to box, save some water when you drain it)

1.  Pour a tbsp or two of your oil into a pan and place your onion, cook until soft.

2.  Add your “beef crumbles” and cook according to instructions.

3.  Add your tomatoes (if using fresh, add some water)

4.  Sprinkle the cinnamon on top (I eye-ball it, sorry…just coat the top like my MIL -completely covering the mixture in a light coat-but I’d say at least a tbsp.  If it gets too thick, just add some water.

5.  Add salt and pepper, mix and put the lid on top for a few minutes for the flavors to come together.

(TiV WARNING:  Aroma fills the kitchen quickly and attracts family/friends before food is ready)

6.  Add the parsley (or pars/cilantro mix) a few minutes before serving.

7.  Add drained pasta to the mix and if too thick and sticking, add some of the water from the pasta.

8.  Serve with a piece of parsley.  Why?  For one, it gives a nice finishing touch and you and I both know that we first feed our appetite with our sight first, then our sense of smell and taste.  Second of all, parsley is a natural and great way to freshen your breath for after the meal and you will be prepared for the hugs and kisses after for making an incredibly quick and tasty meal ;)  Nutritionally, it contains Vitamins A & C, Folic Acid and Iron PLUS contains phytochemicals (phyto=plant) that are linked to fighting cancer cells with antioxidant properties, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of stroke.

“Try it… it’s Vegan!”

M

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