Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tasty Tosatdas (aka: The Healthest Tostadas you'll ever eat)

I hesitated posting this because they look so darn healthy,
(and I know how deep down in your heart you all want nothing to do with healthy)
but these were so crazy good, I couldn't resist sharing.

If you're looking for something light and super filling turn to these Tostadas.
Don't judge them by their apperance or ingredients.
They are super delicious!

Here is my version:

I made mine with Ezekiel tortillas,
which can be really yummy when eaten in the right context.

I also used Adzuki beans. What? What's that? 
If your like me and grew up with the pinto claiming the spot of exclusive bean in your life, 
then you've probably never heard of Adzuki beans. 
It's good to switch beans up a bit 
since each one lends a different variety of nutrients. 
Anything with great color is going to be healthier
I love the color of Adzuki beans! And I love saying Adzuki. 

This recipe calls for the tortilla to be heated up on a burner. 
I'm sorry, I come from the land of the crunchy tortilla with my tostada. 
So I crisped mine in a pan with a little olive oil until bubbly, 
then flipped over and repeated.

Sauté carrots, corn and onion with a little olive oil and salt till onion is translucent. 
I only had frozen corn. 
The sweet corn really made this dish oh so yummy. 
They called for the onion to be half moon slices, 
but I made them smaller so they would be easier to eat. 
But I don't think I cooked them long enough. Whoops! 
Onions need to be nice and soft. Not even a tiny bit crunchy.  

Get that crunchy tostada,
spread a layer of beans and lightly smash them with a fork,
layer on sautéed veggies,
chopped cucumber,
alfalfa sprouts
and sliced avocado.
Oh my gosh, So Yummy!
This is the perfect thing to eat after being out in the heat, 
swimming your heart out with babies and 
hustling your kids to bed.

BUT this dish looks stupid healthy. 
And Daniel was less than enthused to eat it.

But it was good! Success! He gave it a 4 out of 5! 
You know why? 'Cause these tostadas ROCK! 
And yes, we only needed one each to satisfy us. 

Yummy crunch. 

Ate it all up! And enjoyed it. 
He had to make a face when I took this picture.
Other than his faces, he's just about perfect. 
Just about.
Just don't ask my mom for verification. 
Or his mom. 

Rock on people,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Two Year Old

Auntie Lola gave Thérèse a pink striped bikini, and she rocks it. 
This is the face she made when I took out the camera. She's saying "cheese" believe it or not. 
When she was born, my first thought when I saw her was, 
"I didn't know I was going to give birth to a beaver". 
Two years later and she still has the look. 

She broke out dancing. No, there was no music. This girl just has an internal beat! 
And some killer dance moves to go with it.

I have two rules: 
1) Everyday Thérèse must do something with her hands (paint, color or play-dough)
2) She has to play outside

It's been about 110℉ over here, which means every evening we head out to the pool. 

Here she is taking a dive!

Yesterday I started my rice cooker before we left the house. I'm always so incredibly proud of myself when I think ahead. When we came home, all I had to do was roll the rice in nori with veggies to make sushi. So easy. Thérèse loves sushi, but I don't roll it up for her so it's easier for her to eat. 

Deconstructed Veggie Sushi: Long grain brown rice mixed with brown rice vinegar and salt, carrot sticks, chopped cucumber, avocado slices and nori strips. She loves this! Just has a hard time with the cucumbers. 

After all that swimming she requested a shake too. Blueberries with two leaves of lettuce, almond butter, apple juice and water. With no bananas it's really liquidy so its easier for her to drink through her sippy cup and very hydrating. But I wouldn't touch that stuff! She drank it all up! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meatless Monday Meals: Spaghetti

We just came back from shopping and Daniel asked if I could make anything with this: 
('cause he knows they are good)

Sigh. Another terribly cheesy name with the syllable tofu shoved into it. This stuff is actually really good. 
So try to resist dissing it until you try it people. Thank you. 
This meal is great for those of you who want to cut back on meat, but can't live without the meaty texture and flavor for every meal. 
I've made it a couple times before and we all love it. 
We get the veggie sausages Italian style because it lends great flavor to the dish. 
I'm actually making this right now and the kitchen is smelling so good!

I know it doesn't look like it, but this is her "Smile! Yummy!" face. She's serious about how much she loves this food. 
I served hers with less sauce and more carrots. Still ate it up. 

Kathy Freston is the one who helped Oprah and over 300 of her staff members go vegan for a week. Some of them were singing songs of praise when it was over, 
some of them cheated (totally acceptable) 
and some of them were stuck on the diet for good! 
Here is a video of Kathy Freston teaching one of Oprah's producers 
how to make this really yummy All American Spaghetti!


-2 carrots, peeled and chopped 
- 1 large diced onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- one package vegan sausage, crumbled in a food processor 
or chopped and crumbled 
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 16 oz. diced tomatoes
- 16 oz tomato sauce

1) Combine carrots, onion and olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic.
2) Once onions are translucent, add crumbled sausages.
3) When sausages are browned add wine, tomatoes, sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
4) Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
5) Toss with pasta and serve

We used brown rice pasta (I feel bloated when I have wheat pasta, and stuffed like a turkey when I have white) but you can serve it with whatever suits your fancy. 

12 oz of pasta is not enough for this sauce. But it's okay 'cause I love leftovers!


Saturday, June 25, 2011


I wasn't going to post today, 
but last night my father-in-law made these delicious fajitas 
and I had to share them. 
I'm actually munching on them right now for lunch. Yum! These flavors rock.

These are inexpensive and super satisfying. I ate one and I was full. What? He served them up with spanish rice and a whole wheat tortilla.

Vegan Fajitas
Adapted from

1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
garlic salt to taste
1 tsp. white sugar
2 small zucchini, julienned
2 small yellow squash, julienned
1 large onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I used 2 red peppers instead of a green, since I don't care for green peppers)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (I used frozen corn, thawed)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1. In a large bowl combined olive oil, vinegar, oregano, chili powder, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and sugar. To the marinade add the zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and peppers. Marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but not more than 24 hours.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the vegetables and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the corn and beans; increase the heat to high for 5 minutes to brown vegetables.
3. Add to your favorite tortilla (try the uncooked variety, which you cook over your stove--it makes all the difference!)

My mother-in-law found this recipe over at Peachtree Cooking. Crazy good! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dips: When I dip you dip we dip

Dips, they are basically my favorite thing about a party. When I was in middle school I used to make a dip mixing sour cream, hot sauce and grated cheese. Yum. But that avenue of my life is over, and now I'm looking for a different brand of dips. 
These are all dips I'll mix up for home use 
so I can have a quick creamy and crunchy snack at my finger tips.
They are all loaded with protein and are good for you!  

Oh boy, this dip is gooood. Very creamy with a nice nutty taste to it. The flavors in here are delicious!

Spinach and White Bean Dip

I got this recipe from Real Simple Magazine and thought it was, well, bland. Sorry Real Simple. So I added 1 tablespoon more lemon and about 1/4 cup more dill. I would have added more dill if I had had some. Feel free to play with the ingredients as well. The reslut is a delicious way to eat your spinach!

I made this when we were at a family vacation in Sedona last fall. It was so good, my husband's friend cleaned out the bowl. Looking at this recipe, I'm realizing I totally didn't follow it. 

Here is what I made:

1 can rinsed cannelloni beans
1-2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoon lemon
salt to taste

Mash beans with a fork and mix in ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips. 

I know chili isn't a dip, but I'm including it anyway because I serve it on top of a big bowl of tortilla chips. 
I've tried lots of different chili's and this is the best! So good, I never get tired of it. Daniel made it for his linguistics class last night and his Professor called him the "Vegetarian Chili King". Because this chili is loaded with so many chunky veggies, it's hard to notice it's missing meat. 

When I make this I eliminate the serrano peppers and go easy on the spices since our toddler feigns death anytime she eats anything remotely spicy. It's a great way to get kids to eat colorful veggies!

Daniel's friend from high school mentioned us in her blog! Check out her cute blog about newly married life. She posted some reef flip flops I told Daniel I'm getting this week. I'm trying to avoid leather, but recycled leather? Well, I can't pass that up.

Have a great weekend you all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Bake Desserts

I live in paradise...from October till April. Once summer hits, I live a little closer to hell. I don't think I'm being extreme in describing my environment. 120℉ is hellish, right?

Well this week it's been a mere 105℉, which for us means lots of swimming and turning on the oven is close to mortal sin. So this summer, I'll be sharing some yummy dessert that don't require ovens.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These treats are so delicious! They are a staple in our home. I made these all the time when I was transitioning to a vegan diet. Now I make them anytime I'm have a fatty craving. Between the peanut butter, graham cracker and chocolate, they satisfy any other craving I don't want to give into. Since it has no saturated fat and it has peanuts, these are loaded with good fat. But I wouldn't recommend binge eating them. No, no. But you must make them. They taste awesome!

The only vegan ingredient you will need for these is Earth Balance Butter. They call for maple sugar, but you can use any sugar you have. I actually don't put sugar in mine. Since there is sugar in the chocolate chips, sugar in the graham crackers and richness from the peanut butter, adding sugar makes it too much for me. But feel free to do whatever make you dance when you eat them. 
We used Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips, but there are lots of vegan chocolate chips floating around out there.  

Strawberry Cheesecake Truffles

I made these for the first time last night and they rocked the house! If you need to get some cheesecake in you, make these. So good!

You will need to get Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese for these. Once you get over the terrible name you will realize how amazing this product is. Get out your inner Toffuti people! Or just pretend it's named something else. 

My incredibly cool cousin Cecilia made these for her vegan friend's birthday party. She said they were really good! She was surprised how easy it was to find Toffuti Cream Cheese. They just picked them up at her local Vons. 

Anyone got any favorite No Bake Desserts? Hope you all are staying cool!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How I Get Through My Day

Stretch. I'm usually pretty stiff when I wake up in the morning. Especially if I wasn't able to exercise the day before. One of my favorite stretches to do is the Sun Salutation. 

I love this because all the poses flow into each other, it stretches my whole body and it only takes a couple minutes. I like to do the whole thing a couple times to really get a good stretch out.

Treat Yourself to a Sweet Breakfast. When I was eight, one of the first recipes I started baking regularly were blueberry muffins. What I learned from that experience was that the only way to make blueberry muffins is with fresh blueberries. Since I found this Blueberry Muffin recipe I've been anxious to get some fresh blueberries into this house. I finally got my hands of some! 
These muffins are made from spelt, a distant cousin to wheat, and don't have any sugar! I asked my brother-in-law to rate them based on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the lowest) and he gave them a 4! Yup, these are delicious! 

Bring out your Beauty. I've always had bags under my eyes. Lately they have been turning into a lovely shade of veiny blue. Nothing has been working to get them covered and then I found this!
Bobbie Brown Creamy Concealer Kit. This stuff is awesome! It's the first concealer I've tried that really covers up my bags. Yeah, my bags are still there, but they blend in my face now! Imagine that. This stuff really stays put. Even when my mascara has smeared and I've smudged it off, the concealer doesn't budge. With four steps it better not! 

Ten-Minute-Meals. When you think, "Vegan Meal", what most likely comes to your mind is, labor some, tedious, involved, well planned, tofu. But thankfully it doesn't have to be any of these things. Here is a ten-minute-meal I whipped up the other day when I was super tired and my fridge was on empty.

No Bake Enchiladas

Based off authentic style enchiladas, these are simple and pan fried. 
The main difference is I opened cans.

I found this canned enchilada sauce at our grocery store. I had to get no spicy to make it toddler friendly. This sauce is really yummy. You can use whatever you have on hand but let me just say, get a good one cause the sauce is the main contributer to the flavor of this dish. 

Fry a corn tortilla in some olive oil and a couple tablespoons of enchilada sauce until the tortilla bubbles. Flip tortilla and repeat.

I usually have some left over beans in the fridge. This time I had to open a can of black beans and warmed them in a pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. 

Authentic Mexican Enchiladas are served with cabbage, but I just had lettuce on hand. 

Wrap the beans in the enchiladas 

 Top it with lettuce. Quick and yummy.

When I served these to Daniel, he got a little sad that we didn't have any Tofutti sour cream on hand. Pretty terrible name, but this stuff is legitimate.  
You could also top this with tomatoes, avocados or onions. 

Have a great Monday everyone! Am I allowed to say that? Or does everyone hate Mondays too much to enjoy them? 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

I was recently asked to share a good chocolate chip recipe. 

With all baked goodies, I always turn to Babycakes NYC, but if Gluten-free isn't your thing, I wanted to try another vegan recipe for you all.

But I do have to say, if any of you are in the NYC, LA or Disney World area (they replaced McDonalds there!) you need to get yourselves over to Babycakes. You won't be disappointed.

Here is a straight forward vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  The only substitute you need is Earth Balance Butter.

As usual, I cut the recipe in half so we wouldn't have too many left overs. Big mistake. These went so fast that I didn't even get a chance to take a picture. It didn't help that when my parents came over to watch the girls and got their hand stuck in the cookie jar. 

Hope you all have a wonderful day Skyping or hanging out with the Cookie Monsters in your life! Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Date Night

I am a firm believer that high schoolers and single people are not the only ones who should be allowed to enjoy regular date night. Married couples need a date night too! Especially if you have kids or buns in the oven. Here is what we did last night:
Last week we bought some tickets on Fandango. They were having a special, two tickets for $9!! Couldn't pass it up. 
We went to an early showing since I wanted to go to bed early for our early wake up call. Thank goodness we did, our toddler woke up at 5:45 this morning! 

We saw Midnight in Paris. I've never been interested enough to make it through a Woody Allen movie, but this is seriously my new favorite movie. I love: literature, the Roaring Twenties, art and ragtime and this movie has all of it! If you love the thought of enjoying all those perviously mentioned in Paris, Go See It! 

Afterward we went to an outdoor mall for dinner and as we were walking we saw....

Michael Costello from Project Runway! He was two feet in front of me. I don't usually get star stuck, but I was so taken by surprise that I suddenly felt waves of hot flashes and like I was going to collapse on the ground. It wasn't until my husband jerked me forward did I realize that I was standing there gawking like an idiot. 

Afterward, we went to The Yard House since we had a gift certificate from my parents. The Yard House  now offers Gardein! Gardein is awesome! Made with whole grains, it has the meat texture and tastes just like meat! I wish I had this stuff when I was trying to get off meat.  I eat it whenever I'm having a mad craving.

Not the best picture 'cause it's taken with our camera phone. I had Gardein beef sliders and Gardein bbq chicken salad. So yummy! Not everything is 100% vegan, but it's great for anyone trying to cut down on meat.

I paired it with a glass of Riesling. Best glass of wine I've had in a long time. Next In House Date Night we have, we are going to buy a bottle.

Hope you all make time to get out and enjoy your significant other!

Friday, June 17, 2011

French Toast

Tofu. How weird is tofu? It's spongy, bland and not appetizing. When I became, vegan I was determined to do so without tofu and it's weird personality. So over rated, I didn't need it. But as it turns out, tofu's quirky characteristics is what makes it great. It's spongy texture absorbs all the flavors of a dish and contributes a creamy texture. Why thank you, tofu. 

Here is my absolutely favorite French Toast recipe. The first time I made this recipe, I made it a few days after trying a traditional French Toast from a new cookbook. It had all the normal ingredients, eggs, and milk. It was good, but to my surprise, the vegan one tasted better! Holy cow, The Brown Rice Syrup in this dish makes it perfectly sweet. Oh my goodness it is so so good! I even make it with Ezekiel Bread and it manages to make the hearty bread taste delicious. I couldn't ask for anything more from a french toast. 

Blend all the ingredients. Since it calls for firm tofu, I use a blender to get the batter just right.

Super creamy and simple. Love it! 

I put way more maple syrup than this, but I was kind of in a hurry to dig in so I didn't get that picture! I made Daniel some french toast with white bread since he isn't big on Ezekiel. But he later told me he actually preferred the Ezekiel with his french toast now! Alright! 

This is a great breakfast to serve your daddy on Father's Day if he's trying to watch his cholesterol. My mother-in-law taught me a trick: Don't tell them it's vegan till after they have finished the dish. Chances are, they won't notice! 

When working with tofu, try and get organic whenever possible to ensure no GMO's. 

Happy Eating!