Tag Archives: lunch

*Exclusive* Our BEST Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe, Secrets Shared!

20 Mar

This is THE most asked for dish in our home by family and friends.  Dairy-free.  Lactose-free.  Perfect for those with a dairy allergy and miss cheese!  The closest thing to the REAL THING and many believe, BETTER than the BEST Macaroni and Cheese they have had.  Seriously. 

I am revealing my secret family recipe… I’m taking a deep breath here, so give it a shot and give me your feedback!

This is completely, 100% my recipe and considered to be  VEGAN COMFORT FOOD.  If you are looking for a healthy low-fat alternative, stop reading now.  I wouldn’t recommend eating this every day if you are planning on losing some pounds however this is the BEST dish for everyone, regardless of their eating preferences.

*AWESOME for the kids to pop in a lunch box (heated thermos) for school lunch… this has nominated me to BEST MOM OF THE YEAR on several occasions 😉

I do not measure when I make this dish however I will give you my best estimates.

TryitVegan Mac and cheese pasta

Choose whatever pasta you like however we prefer this brand and shape for this particular dish.

Try it Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Bread Crumbs Ingredients

Try it Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Bread Crumbs Ingredients

Ingredients for 5-6 people:

1 lb. pasta

10-12 oz. almond milk (unsweetened)

Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese block

1 brick of Earth Balance

1-2 cups of bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs (we like a lot)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Start water for pasta.

Cook pasta al dente

Cook pasta al dente

In a medium pot, add milk and entire block of Vegan Cheddar and stir until melted on medium heat.

Melt Vegan Cheddar in Almond Milk

Melt Vegan Cheddar in Almond Milk

Make sure that the pasta is cooked al dente so drain it a couple of minutes prior to their recommended cook time.  Grease your baking dish lightly with the Earth Balance vegan butter and melt the remaining 7 tbsp or so.  (This can be cut in half, the full stick of “butter” isn’t needed however I did say that we love bread crumbs, yes?)  In a medium bowl, mix bread crumbs with completely melted Earth Balance adding more crumbs if wanted/needed.

Mix bread crumbs with melted vegan butter

Mix bread crumbs with melted vegan butter

Once pasta is ready, drain and toss into baking dish.

Pour Vegan Cheese over drained pasta

Pour Vegan Cheese over drained pasta

Pour cheese directly on top and mix until evenly distributed.  spread bread crumb mixture on top.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes covered for the first 20 and uncovered for the last 10 for the bread crumbs to slightly brown.

Try it Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread crumbs

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Crazy Carrot Wednesday- 20 Carrot Recipes to Try!

27 Feb

A rainbow of carrotsIn my quest of having the family get in the habit of trying new foods, I bought some purple, orange and golden yellow carrots.  If anything, it was worth seeing the expression on their faces that made it all worth it!

I happen to need to eat with my eyes first so the more color on our plates, the happier I am that we are serving a nutritional plate of goodness for each of us.  If you can’t find purple and yellow carrots at the store, keep an eye out for one day that they may have them in the future.  In the meantime, if you haven’t eaten many carrots lately, I’m sure you will be successful in finding a recipe or three that you and whoever you are cooking for, will love!

Fun carrot facts:

  • Carrots were not originally orange.  Back in the day they were purple or red with thin roots
  • What’s up, Doc?  Maybe Bugs Bunny was on to something since the first carrots were grown for medicine
  • Research shows that colorful carrots may help prevent heart disease and cancer & reduce cholesterol
  • Eat/drink too many orange carrots and you WILL take on an orange/yellow pigment in your skin (called Carotenemia) because of beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in the carrots

Question:  Are carrots better for you eaten raw or cooked?

No one loves a glass of fresh carrot juice better than I (although, I will admit, I will stick with drinking orange carrots since the purple carrots have a slight peppery taste and the yellow are a bit sweet and mild).  I happen to eat half of my meals raw each day because there are many nutrients that are lost when cooked one way or another.  However, there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to eating and being able to process certain foods.  (So the answer is both!)

colorcarrotstryitveganPicture bubble wrap for a moment:  when it comes to nutrition and eating certain foods, there are a ton of nutrients that are inside the item but you have to pop all the nutrients out.  This is one reason why it is SO important to chew your food well which most of us are very guilty of NOT doing.  50-100 chews per bite is what is recommended to ensure that you break down the food and make it accessible for your body to absorb the nutrients.  This is why juicing is a great thing from a nutritional perspective because it pops all the “bubbles” releasing the nutritional benefits (especially kale!)

  • Research has shown that when you eat a raw carrot, only 3% of the entire beta-carotene (Vitamin A) is released.
  • Falcarinol is a substance found in carrots that has been found to reduce the risk of cancer (cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to it)
  • When boiling or steaming whole carrots, you lose 30% of falcarinol
  • When boiling or steaming pre-cut, small carrots the loss is higher at 60%.
  • Boiled/steamed carrots are easier to digest and preserved antioxidants (carotenoids) rather than frying.

Ok, now that you know more than you thought that you would ever want to know about this common (or not so common) root veggie, go on out and try some of these awesome ways to enjoy this nutritious wonder!

(Common sense input:  if honey is called for, substitute with agave or other sweetener.  Butter, use earth balance.  Etc)

  1. Fresh squeezed carrot juice  (can be as addicting as cigarettes?)
  2. Roasted Carrot Soup
  3. Carrot salad
  4. Roasted carrots
  5. Carrot muffins (using earth balance as opposed to butter/margarine)
  6. Hummus and veggie wrap
  7. Vegetable sushi
  8. Potted carrots (great idea for the kids!!!  with a vegan ranch dip)
  9. Simple carrot fries
  10. Moroccan Carrot Dip
  11. Marsala glazed carrots with hazelnuts
  12. Carrot cake cupcakes
  13. Marmalade Candied Carrots 
  14. Roasted Vegetables with Pecan Gremolata
  15. Carrot cake oatmeal
  16. Carrot pancakes
  17. Lunch Box carrot slaw with apples and vegan yoghurt
  18. Carrot, Avocado and orange salad
  19. Marinated dill carrots
  20. Brown sugar sweet overload carrots

Enjoy 😉  TiV

A Veggie Burger must try- Qrunch quinoa burgers win favorite vegan fast food!

18 Jan

Try it Vegan Qrunch BurgersIf you are anything like me, you have had your fair share of horrible veggie burgers.  Trying to find a good tasting burger without meat and dairy ingredients can prove to be difficult at times so when you find a delish’ one, it’s a reason to spread the good news!  We have a winner!

Gluten-free     Soy-free     Dairy-free     Corn-free     Wheat-free     Egg-free     Nut-free     Low Sodium

Toaster-Ready in Minutes!

I have the boxes resting near the toaster for a reason, by the way.  I was in need for some fast food and that’s exactly what the freezer is for!  I had picked these up on my last shopping trip at Wegmann’s and figured to give them a good ol’ try, today being that day.  The cooking instructions on the box give two options:  toaster oven or regular oven.  I skipped both suggestions and stuck it IN MY TOASTER twice and within minutes, lunch was ready and really good!  (When hunger is a level 10, my patience drops to a level 1 however, I would like to clarify that, on normal days, I tend to use our regular oven for everything.)

Try it Vegan Qrunch LunchUnlike my Greek Cypriot hubby, bread isn’t a necessary item in my diet so you see my burger with romaine lettuce in place of a bun.  I sliced up some Roma tomatoes and a swipe of Veganaise Grape Seed oil spread plus added a side of vegetarian stuffed grape leaves.

The Spicy Italian definitely has a kick so I wouldn’t start the little kids off with that, try their regular ones instead.  (The teenage daughter loved the spicy Italian one though)  This is also lunchbox worthy for the kids at school.   The texture is crunchy on the outside and it doesn’t fall apart like so many other veggie burgers you and we have tried in the past.  The Nutrition facts are surprisingly not bad, for fast food, either!  Have a look for yourself:

Nutrition Facts:  1 burger

  • Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 100)
  • Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 3.5g, Trans Fat 0g)
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 150 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 20g (Dietary Fiber 2g)
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 4g

Try it Vegan Qrunch inside FXIngredients are impressive compared to most of what is available:

  • Organic Millet
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Onion
  • Organic Carrots
  • Organic Broccoli
  • Organic Spinach
  • Arrowroot Starch
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic Psyllium Seed Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Garlic
  • Non-GMO Canola Oil

This one is a keeper- 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

Vegan Diner Classic: Scrambled Eggs, Garlic Chive Home Fries and Bacon

11 Jan

IMG00022-20101115-1003

One of the biggest favorites at the local diner is your traditional scrambled eggs with home fries, bacon and toast.  We went ahead and recreated this classic American breakfast and found it to be…well, surprisingly better than the original.  When we first started consuming a vegan diet, the comfort foods were necessary in making a smooth transition and before our taste buds were completely converted over, we were thrilled with the tofu scramble and surprisingly, the bacon-style tempeh.

Scrambled Tofu Recipe:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 block firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or other oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Once oil is heated add onion & tofu and cook for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, breaking up the tofu into smaller pieces, about 5 minutes more.

Bacon Tempeh      tempeh_smoky_201210

We enjoy Light Life’s “Fakin Bacon” but there are other brands that are crunchier, also in the refrigerated section of your “faux meats”.  Add some oil to the pan and heat for a few minutes on each side, super easy and very tasty!

Garlic & Chive Home Fries  (we had a craving for mashed… keep them in bits if you prefer 😉

  • 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan  butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or Vegan butter
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives
  • 1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, 8-10 minutes, drain water.  Add oil or butter to pan and cook onions until transparent, add garlic for 1 minute.  Toss potatoes, chives and a dash of salt and pepper to your liking, mixing well.

Pop some bread in the toaster, finish it off with your favorite cup of Joe & don’t forget to tip your waitress 😉

Apple Match Stick Fries: Reducing the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes

7 Jan

20130107_094003

This morning I posted a link on Twitter that speaks of the great health benefits of apples (HERE)  Thanks to my mandoline, we have found some creative  ways to make snacking on an apple a bit more appealing to even those who insisted that they didn’t like apples.  
 
With much more focus on eating smaller meals with healthy snacks twice a day, apples are a great go-to for all ages.  With over 7000 different varieties around the world, there are at least a handful that will make your mouth water.  (For an apple directory, try HERE)
 
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two top killers in North America, choose apples for preventative measure considering they are loaded with phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that are known to reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes.  (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/5)
 
Give your palate a treat, pick some apples the next time you are out and make a point of including an apple once a day in your diet, however you choose to slice, dice or bite it 😉  Your body will thank you!
 
Try it!
-M

 

 
 
 
 

Back to school! Vegan kids Lunch Exposed

2 Jan

20121019_074304

“The more colorful it is, the better it is!” 

– Nico’s answer when asked what his favorite lunch looks like 🙂  1/2/13

Yes, my kids have a Vegan lunch nearly every day.  You are looking at the 11 year old’s lunch box and according to him, it’s a hit at school.  I found this particular box online and it has been worth the investment.

I’ve learned that we eat with our eyes first and this is one of my secrets as to HOW I get my kids to eat healthier.  (Sidenote:  A few years ago it was paper bag lunches with bologna and cheese, a bag of fritos, bar of some kind (all sugar) and juice.  I was not eating vegetables, (I swore I hated them… so how could I possible get MY kids to eat them?) and it’s amazing how much our health showed the results of our poor diet.)

If food is fun and colorful and ready to eat, you will be surprised how easy eating healthier can be!

Menu:

  • Organic English cucumbers (very tasty, few seeds and an awesome aroma) sliced with mandoline
  • Mini apples with Bee’s Knees cucumber sliced with mandoline (see previous post on the topic)
  • Mandarin orange peeled and ready to eat
  • Sandwich with, what we call, “sandwich slices”.  (Lightlife Bologna style faux meat slices, english cucumber slices, mayo (Veganaise with grapeseed) and bread
  • Enjoy life chocolate bar

ELF Boom Choco Boom Rice Milka        lightlife_smart_deli_bologna_box large-grapeseed vegenaise 16 oz

Yes, these are processed but eating healthy is a process and compared to where we were, I feel that it is a step in the right direction.  With the bombardment of “pink slime” and other questionable “food” served in schools and the constant media advertisements on pure JUNK, I learned that it MUST start at home.  Have fun with your food and make it as colorful as possible- after all, “the more colorful it is, the better it is!”

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!

 

Image

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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