Thursday, July 28, 2011

New York

A couple months back, 
we took a quick trip without the girls 
to New York City for a family wedding.
Now when I say "quick trip"
I'm talking two and a half days.
No point in trying to sight see.
Since we both had already been there 
we had two priorities:
 good food and art.

Here are some things we shoved 
into our very limited time.
New York I love you!

New York Trip

We landed after midnight.
Everything was closed and we were starving 
after all that traveling on foodless airplanes.
The next morning we woke up famished!
and we loved it so much, we went back a couple days later!

I had the vegan quiche which is layers 
of incredibly delicious veggies on buckwheat crust, 
and my breakfast came with a dark green huge salad! 
It was so nourishing after not eating for so long. 
Daniel's favorite was a plate of two hard boiled eggs with fresh baked bread. 
We also had a chia seed muffin which I'm dying to make a home.

We need to get back to this place.
Last time we were in Old Town Pasadena we saw one there.
We'll be finding a way to get there soon!

I love running into my friends in the city.
St. Francis looking lovely in the neighborhood. 

I really wanted to see Atlas.
He made a huge impression on me in
a movie where Gregory Peck takes on the Anti-Seminists. 
Sigh, we love Gregory Peck. 

Daniel totally confused in Grand Central Station.
This is his "Thinking Really Really Hard" face. 

Central Park is empty when it rains!
I've been in love with Central Park since elementary school 
when I read about it in my history books, 
and then in It's Like this Cat. 

The Natural History Museum is free after 4:00.
Love that. 

Alright enough of that, 
down to business.
Did you know that the best donut ever is 
baked, dairy and sugar-free!
No, no, there is nothing better than this.

Okay wait, 
the cinnamon roll. 
It can get better! 
My mouth is watering.... 

Little Italy.
On our way to a local craft fair.

Candle 79 is a must when in NYC.
I blogged about it before.

I've always loved this picture!
I was kind of nerd status excited to see it. 

Modern Art rocks!

Then we went back home, and it was like we never left.
It was so great to see our little girls! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip

is from the Kind Life and
is one of my favorite things to make
when Daniel and I are going to have a date night in,
or if we want a yummy snack food around the house.
It's pretty basic to make.
If I have left-over beans in the fridge 
I'll use those. If not, I grab a can of beans,
my least favorite way to go. But still yummy!

Spread beans on the bottom of an 8x8 in baking dish.

Monique can't wait to cook with us!
When that day comes, 
we are going to be crowded on my small counter! 

Mash avocados and mix with lime juice.
Spread evenly over the beans.

My cutie pie, climbing my leg 
and trying to get the camera. 

Mix taco seasonings with sour cream.

Spread over the avocados. 

Sprinkle sliced olives and diced tomatoes.
One of the main reasons Thérèse helps
me in the kitchen is so she can snack as she cooks!
Popping in a tomato. 

Sprinkle cheese on top. 
We used Daiya of course.

Bake and serve with tortilla chips!

My hubby and I love munching on this!
My toddler doesn't so much because of all the spices. 
Fine by me! More for us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whole Grains: Bulger Wheat with Pasta and Mushrooms

I did a post a couple weeks ago on Whole Grains
and why they are good for you. 
In that post, I mentioned that eating whole wheat pasta 
is not a good source of whole grains.
Let me clarify, when I'm talking about whole grains, 
I'm talking about the grain right off the plant.
Unlike whole wheat which is processed to be made into pasta
whole grains are in their most natural form.
This is the best way to eat the grain.

Don't think of whole grains as carbohydrates.
Carbs have a bad (and accurate) reputation of bulking on pounds.
But whole grains, when eating the right serving size,
will not make you gain weight. 
Quite the opposite, they will clean you out. 
They prevent asthma, allergies, and are overall healing.
One of the most common whole grains is brown rice.
But it's important to eat a variety of whole grains 
since each one has different nutrients.

I'm always looking out for whole grain dishes,
sharing whole grains will be a regular post on this blog.
This is something you can incorporate in your life now.
You can easily serve them along side
whatever protein dish you already have on your table.
I get my whole grains in the bulk section of our health food store. 
They are inexpensive and filling.
Store your whole grains in the refrigerator 
if you don't plan on using them a week after you buy them.
They have no artificial ingredients to preserve them
so they can go bad fast.

Here is a recipe I made this week with Bulgur Wheat.
This grain has been pre-cooked and cracked
so it doesn't contain all it's original energy.
But it's still great and perfect for summer. 

Bulgur Wheat with Pasta and Mushrooms

In a large saucepan
sauté 1/4 onion in oil until translucent.

Stir in 1 cup bulgur wheat.

Stir in 1 cup pasta.
I used spiraled brown rice pasta.
Add 2 1/2 cups water.
Bring to a boil uncovered, reduce flame to low, cover 
let simmer for about 20 minutes.
When it's done water should have dissolved. 

Sauté 1/2 an onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
If I did this all over again, 
I'd sauté this onion till it browned.
Gives the dish so much more flavor. 

When your bulgur wheat is done, fluff it with a fork.

Throw sliced mushrooms into your onions.
I also threw in a chopped scallion.

Once the mushrooms have browned 
stir in your pasta, bulgur wheat mixture. 

Our poor camera is on it's death bed. 
Can you tell?

Serve it up!
This is great on it's own for a light lunch 
or as a side for a satisfying meal. 

My family loved this dish. 
My toddler didn't want to eat it, 
but as I was spooning it into her mouth
she kept saying, "More."
She ate it all up without a fuss!
The next day I squeezed some ketchup on it 
and she finished it up. 
At first, whole grains can seem bland and boring,
but they grow on you because your body will plead with you to eat them.

Enjoy your whole grains!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How I Get Through My Day


When I gave birth to my first daughter 
I had little time in the kitchen.
This was my favorite quick breakfast to whip up.

Ezekiel toast with almond butter, 
chopped strawberries and honey drizzled on top. 
I had this today and it filled me for hours. 
If you know me, you know that's a huge deal 
because I'm constantly hungry!
Between the fiber from the bread, 
the protein from the almond butter 
and the serving of fruit, 
this turns out to be a pretty complete breakfast. 


I haven't been exercising lately
and my body is really kicking me for it. 
When I feel unmotivated to exercise
I put on Mary Tyler Moore on Hulu Plus.
My favorite episode is 'Put on a Happy Face'.
It's nice to know that even Mary Richards 
can have a bad day, or several. 

Indoor Games

It's hot where we live. 
It really is too hot to venture outside 
unless you are headed straight for the pool.
So we have to be creative inside otherwise we all get stir crazy.
Hide and Seek is one of our favorite games.
Check out the great hiding spot my toddler picked for herself.
She's waiting for Daniel to find her.
I love my baby's little hand creeping into the picture. 

Eat Your Greens

I'm going a little crazy because I can't find this 
beautiful picture I have of steamed greens with udon noodles. 
You good people are just going to have to take my word for it,
this is the only way to eat greens.

Here is how you do it:

1) Get water to boil in a pot with a steamer.

2) Place your greens in the steamer.
By greens I mean kale, watercress, bok choy, 
all those greens I didn't touch for the first 23 years of my life.

3) Let them steam for 2 minutes. 
2 minutes people!! That's it, till wilted.

4) Drizzle with a tablespoon EVOO or sesame oil 
and a teaspoon ume plum vinegar.
(Play with these measurements 
to get this dish just where you want it)

You just need a touch of this to make your boring plate 
of steamed greens turn in to a party!
You can find it at your Asian Market, Health Food Store, 
or in the International Food Isle. 

I'm so sad I can't find a picture for you all. 
This plate is really beautiful.
Here is the best I can do.

After I gave birth to my sweet second baby, 
I ate this dish every night for months.
It was crazy delicious every time. 

Bring on the week!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Absolute Favorite Sandwich

Pre-Vegan I ate lots of tuna salad sandwiches with lots of mayo.
Yum! I thought those days were over. 
Thankfully, I've found a replacement that is free 
of mercury, cholesterol and that fishy taste. 
This is my go-to sandwich for traveling, play dates, 
park, beach, lunch at home, you name it. 
I love this sandwich!
It is supposed to mimic tuna salad sandwich 
but Melissa of So Help Me Lord
said it tasted like chicken salad sandwich. 
Either way, it's good!
You can make believe it is whatever you want it to be.
She loved it and requested the recipe.

Here it is!

- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 whole chopped scallion
- 1 tablespoon pickled relish
- 1/4 cup vegenaise
(I like lots of vegenaise)
- sprinkle of salt

Feel free to add or omit ingredients to your liking! 

1) Smash chickpeas with the back of your fork. 
2) Mix in other ingredients.
3) Spread on your favorite bread and top with lettuce.

If you are making large quantities you could put it in a food processor. 
When I make it just for myself, I don't see a point dirtying more dishes, 
so I smash and chop everything myself. 

This sandwich is quick and so yummy!
Beans are what I call the "Skinny Protein"
because unlike meat, they don't contain fat 
and are loaded with fiber so they go right through you. 
And chickpeas are great beans because they have 
150 milligrams of calcium per serving! 
That's 32 milligrams more than whole milk!
Right on Chickpeas! 

Tonight we had Gardein Crispy Tenders 
dipped in spicy BBQ sauce with steamed greens.
I love this stuff! 
Tastes just like the real deal!
Where are those Gardein creators? 
I need to give them a hug. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vegan Naan!

When my two-year-old says "done!" it sounds like she is saying "Naan!" 
This has resulted in my husband and I having an unwavering craving for naan. 
My mother-in-law, Yolanda, came over today and taught me how to make crazy yummy naan.
Fresh out of the oven, I have to say this is one of the best naans I've ever had.
So moist and buttery! 

Here is how you make it!

In a small mixing bowl mix
1 teaspoon active dry yeast and
2/3 cup warm water

Add one teapoon sugar.
Mix till yeast is dissolved.
Set aside for ten minutes until frothy.

In a large mixing bowl pour in
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Make a well in the flour with your finger 
and pour in
1 teaspoon salt and
3 tablespoons almond milk.

Melt one tablespoon of butter.

Add one tablespoon olive oil into your well 
with that melted butter.

Now remember your yeast?
Is it frothy? 
Frothy means, kind of foamy. 

Pour yeast mixture into your flour and butter bowl. 

Mix to form a dough. Add water when it's too dry. 
It needs to be doughy. 

Turn onto floured couter and kneed
 for five minutes until smooth.
You want it to get stretchy.
Like this:

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil into the bowl
and line the bowl with the oil.
Return the dough to the bowl 
and roll the dough into the olive oil until covered with the oil.

Cover and set aside for
1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for another two minutes.
Break dough off into balls and roll them out.

The dough is supposed to be streatchy. 
This right here, is perfect streatchy dough. 

Thérèse rolling out her dough. 

Place your naan onto a broiler pan in your preheated broiler. 

When the naan starts to puff and get brown and golden, flip over, about 4 minutes.
Another five minutes on the other side till golden. 

As soon as the naan is removed from the oven,
cover it with melted vegan butter. 

Delicious! As you can see...
some of these have been nibbled on already...

Thérèse, showing off her beautiful yummy naan. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!