Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Breakfast Option and Yet Another Great Dinner

I had a 100% vegan day today.
Woohoo!
Half way through the day,
all I could think about was something, 
anything smothered in cheese.
But I stuck with it, 
and I have to say,
I'm very proud of myself.

Here is what I ate:

Breakfast: Shake
Snack: Savory Rice Bowel (recipe follows)
Lunch: Veggie Burger (We have a huge pack from Costco)
Snack: Miso Soup
Dinner: One - Pot Vegetables and Tofu with Sesame Rice (recipe follows)

I didn't realize I was going to be able to share 
two recipes with you all today!
Be excited.



One bummer element, I think for all vegans,
is the elimination of eggs.
I love having eggs in the morning.
I ate two eggs every morning religiously for a good 13 years.
Tofu scrabbles are a great morning egg replacer (yes! I'll share a recipe soon!),
but I try not to eat tofu more than once a week,
so I find myself very sad that I'm missing out on eggs.
This is a great alternative and I'll be using it more often.
No, it doesn't taste like eggs, but it's good!
Nice to have something different than sweets for breakfast.
I'll probably be tweaking it a lot.
Adding different veggies.
We'll see!

I'm not usually a fan of nori (the seaweed used to wrap sushi)
but I shredded it very fine so it made this dish taste great 
without having to deal with the seaweed texture.
I didn't have the rice condiment nor the kimchi.
I'm sure those make the dish taste so much better
but I still enjoyed it without them.

One major downside is that it takes about an hour and a half to cook. 
Yup, it's got to get all porridgy.
So I drank my shake,
and while it was cooking I cleaned my bathrooms,
did my laundry, picked up the house, 
spent time with my adorable daughter
and then rewarded myself with this great dish.
Once it's cooked it's pretty easy to throw together.

Savory Rice Bowl



 servings 4

Ingredients:


1 cup short-grain brown rice
6 cups water
Regular or low-sodium soy sauce, for serving
Toasted sesame oil, for serving
Sesame and seaweed rice condiment (available at Asian markets), for serving
Finely chopped scallions, for serving
Finely chopped kimchi, for serving
Finely shredded nori, for serving

    Directions:

    Rinse the brown rice, if desired.
    Combine the rice with 5 cups of water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; stir, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Ideally, the rice should have a porridgelike consistency.
    Uncover; if you still see a fair amount of liquid in the saucepan, cook for 15 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, if the rice seems dry, add as much of the remaining 1 cup of water as needed; cook for 15 to 30 minutes (on low or medium-low heat) to achieve a porridgelike consistency.
    To serve, divide the rice among individual bowls. Top with dashes of the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, and with sprinkles of the sesame-seaweed condiment, scallions, kimchi and nori.



    Now.....Oh my heavens, the One-Pot Veggies.
    Let me tell you, I've made this before, and I really enjoy it.
    It's so simple, just wash, chop, boil, done.
    Seriously, love this dish.
    It has very basic flavors, but the colors are stunning.
    I feel like I'm eating a bit of Asia when I'm eating this.
    We serve it up on top of brown rice and we always eat it with chopsticks.
    The tofu helped me with the cheese craving I'd been battling.

    I have to tell you, 
    for a few days we've had a major battle every evening with my toddler.
    She hasn't been cooperating in eating her veggies, 
    or anything we put in front of her.
    She ate this without complaining! Yes!!

    I made it without the watercress and I didn't use the garnishes.
    It was healthy and delicious enough for me without it.

    Seriously, how beautiful is that?



    1 medium onion
    2 cups bite-size broccoli florets
    ½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
    2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
    ¼ head green cabbage, cored and sliced
    ½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
    3 ounces fresh shiitake or other mushrooms, stemmed
    About 1 cup water
    ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 piece (5 inches) ginger, peeled
    ⅔ cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine) or dry sherry or sweet marsala
    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
    1 container (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into ¾-inch cubes
    ½ bunch watercress, stems removed

    Garnish
    2 scallions, thinly sliced
    1 sheet nori (seaweed) cut into thin strips (optional)

    Quarter the onion through the stem end, leaving the quarters connected. Remove the peel. Place in the middle of a large skillet. Arrange the broccoli, squash, carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas and mushrooms in clusters around the onion, keeping each vegetable separate from the other and arranging so that the colors are balanced and attractive. 

    Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the pan. Cover and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is crisp-tender, about 12 minutes

    Meanwhile, finely grate the ginger over a paper towel or sheet of cheesecloth, and then squeeze the pulp to extract 2 teaspoons of ginger juice. Place in a bowl with the mirin and tamari. Add the tofu, and toss to coat.
    Spoon the tofu mixture over the vegetables, and simmer uncovered until the tofu is hot, about 5 minutes. Add the watercress and simmer until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, and set it on a trivet in the middle of the table.
     Pass the scallions and nori strips for garnish.
    Serves four.



    I had a very satisfying day!
    Hope you all try one of these recipes soon.
    Especially the one - pot veggies.
    Holy cow, that's going to be a staple here.


    Monday, August 29, 2011

    First Day Back and No Bake Energy Bars


    Today I started back on my vegan diet.
    It went great!
    Until we went to Costco 
    and I just had to have a couple bites of my husband's pizza.
    Really, it was just a couple bites.
    But since I really want my skin to glow,
    I don't want to be indulging for a few weeks.
    But like my mother (who wishes she were Scarlett O'Hara),
    always says,"'Tomorrow is another day!"

    Today I ate:

    Breakfast: Oatmeal with quinoa, prunes and walnuts.
    I throw some quinoa into the boiling water 
    along with my oatmeal to get more protein.
    I also had carrot juice with swiss chard, beet and celery. Yum!
    My toddler loved it too!

    I really layered on the sesame oil and 
    umeboshi plum vinegar so it tasted so yummy!

    Snack: A COUPLE bites of cheese pizza. 
    Talk about grease! 

    Dinner: Sesame - Hiziki Croquette with Ginger -Tahini Dressing, 
    a salad from Vegan Family Meals
    A great way for me to eat sea vegetables.
    They are some of the most nutritious foods.
    This salad makes them taste like the superstar that they are.

    Dessert: I found some strawberries in the fridge 
    and ate them with chocolate chips.
    Lazy version of chocolate dipped strawberries.


    My toddler and I made these No-bake Energy Bars
    I found from Do it Delicious.
    They were a huge hit with my hubby and toddler,
    but I wasn't too big on them. 
    I think it was the flax meal or chia seed,
    some flavor in there I'm not used to.
    I'm not complaining.
    If they love this healthy snack I'll make it for them anytime.
    It's loaded with good stuff.
    If I make it again I'll be using about 1/4 cup more 
    brown rice syrup 
    so it will stick better.
    I substituted goji berries for shredded coconut 
    since my hubby isn't a fan.
    I had goji berries in the house,
    but I'm sure any dried fruit would work.

    Don't get me wrong, 
    these are good,
    I just would never eat them in the large quantities 
    they were consuming them.

    Thank you for all the encouraging comments 
    and emails I received after my last post!
    It feels good to have all your support!
    And I hope I'm helping all of you 
    take itty-bitty steps, or dramatic changes 
    to your own healthy lifestyle!
    Here's to living large!
    (I believe that living a healthy lifestyle
    increases the quality of life, not indulging in fatty foods.
    But yeah, we got to have a couple bites sometimes.)



    No-bake Energy Bars
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 40 minutes
    Yield: 14 bars
    Ingredients:
    cooking spray
    ¾ cup raw almonds
    1 ¼ cups brown rice cereal
    1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
    ¼ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
    ¼ cup flax meal
    ¼ cup raw chia seeds
    ½ cup brown rice syrup
    6 tablespoons almond butter
    ½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
    Directions:
    Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.
    Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the rice cereal, oats, coconut, flax meal, and chia seeds.
    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice syrup and almond butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until melted and creamy. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Press evenly into the prepared pan and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Grab the ends of the parchment and lift onto a cutting board. Slice into bars.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Confessions of One Weak Vegan

    I hesitate telling you all this..
    but what the heck?
    Let's be real here.
    Nobody is perfect
    including me.
    So I'd like to share with you
    my last few very weak, lame,
    vegan days.
    Excuse me, that's NON-vegan days.

    It all started when my husband left town for a few days.
    Point one: Don't let the husband leave town.
    He finished his Bachelors Degree this week (Go Hubby!)
    so I pretty much kicked him out of the house with my boots,
    "Go celebrate!" I told him. "Party time!"
    So he jumped in the car with his bike, and his college roommate,
    and left for a Flagstaff, Arizona.
    He mingled with all his old running buddies,
    went on long runs, didn't drink (you call that celebrating?),
    learned new stretches to improve his back, 
    and talked about vegetables with his friend who, 
    get this, works at the farmers market. 
    He gets all the produce he wants for free!! Hello! My dream come true!

    So while he was over there improving his well-being (whatever dude),
    I was back home....not doing that.
    My friend came over to spend the night and brought...
    California Pizza Kitchen.
    Okay, sorry, who here can say no to California Pizza Kitchen?
    "It's not vegan, is that okay?" she asked.
    "Oh yeah! Bring it over!" I quickly hung up before I could say "No!"
    In high school we went to CPK as much as possible
    and always ordered the same thing,
    Spinach Artichoke Dip.
    It was good, but it was not as good as I remembered.
    Let me tell you something,
    it's fine eating something not vegan every once in a while. 
    There are no vegan police that pound on your door
    and tell you in a deep authoritative voice
    that they know what is going on in there.
    But the problem with "cheating"
    is that dairy and meat have addictive properties to them.
    They are supposed to after all.
    Milk is designed for a calf to want more
    and eat more of it so she can grow.
    But when someone like me eats it, 
    who is no longer growing,
    I just want more.
    That's all. Just more.
    Give me more!

    So what started as an innocent trip back to my past,
    ended up being grilled cheese the next day,
    nachos the day after that, oh yeah, and the club sandwich,
    and macaroni and cheese today.
    No, let me specify, REAL macaroni and cheese.
    From scratch.
    Complete with condensed milk,
    two sticks of butter, eggs and half a pound of cheese.


    Oh! Thanks goodness it's Vitamin D fortified! 
    Now it truly is healthy!





    Yes, I have already gained weight.
    So, to all of you who roll their eyes at me,
    "Oh! She is just one of those girls
    that can have two babies and is still skinny"
    think again.
    I work hard for this "figure".
    (I laugh at the word associated with myself
    since I have no curves.
    No, no hips, even after babies).
    Dairy is fattening.
    A baby calf goes from being a cute little baby
    to a 200 pound cow by it's first year.
    So,yes, fattening food has made it's way to my neck and tummy.
    Gross! Ew!

    But besides that, I feel foggy, sluggish,
    my headaches are worse, I don't sleep well at night
    and I've been feeling bloated.
    And this is just four days off my diet.
    It didn't all happen at once.
    It's slowly been piling on.

    I'm going to be honest with you,
    everything wasn't even that yummy.
    Yes, it was good,
    but nothing beats a salad grated with sweet dark red beets,
    the crunch of lettuce,
    the creaminess of perfectly composed dressing.
    This from a girl who up to three weeks ago, hated salads.
    See the cookbooks that changed me here.
    I could live without the fattening food that makes me sluggish.
    But I couldn't live without the food
    that was designed to restore body.

    Because of my extreme binge,
    I've decided to go macrobiotic starting this week.
    I told my husband yesterday
    that there has been a battle going on in my body,
    between Macrobiotic diet or macaroni and cheese.
    Now that I had my macaroni,
    I'm ready to go Macro.
    Macrobiotic is a very intense diet
    so I won't be following it to the 'T'.
    Instead I will be incorporating more
    1) Whole grains,
    2) Vegetables (that are leafy, in season and local),
    3) Plant based proteins (tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts)
    4) Miso soup (huge immune booster and radiation fighter) and
    5) Sea vegetables (aka sea weed. But who wants to eat sea weed?
    so now it's called sea vegetables),
    and no processed foods, white flour or sugar.

    Got that?
    I did live off this diet
    for one whole month
    during my second pregnancy.
    It was the best month of my life.
    But then I wanted cheese!
    I'm pregnant!
    Don't deprive me of cheese!
    And since cheese has addictive properties,
    then I wanted chicken and other stuff
    and my macro diet went out the window along with my great living.

    I went on it again a few months ago
    and same thing happend.
    This time no!
    I totally want to try this for more than a month.
    Really, for reals.
    Weakness, build some muscle!
    I remember how I felt as a Macro,
    and I want to feel that way again.
    I was practically levitating,
    full of energy and slept like a log.
    Yes! I want that back!

    So amigos,
    vegans, semi-vegans
    and those of you on the Standard American Diet,
    I will be embarking on a new adventure,
    well, not new for me,
    but an adventure,
    and I look forward to my skin clearing up
    and my intestines detoxing *cough*.
    I would like to invite you all
    to do what you can to join me.
    I'll be sharing recipes as much as I can.
    But keep it simple.
    Remember,
    beans, whole grains, veggies.
    We can do it!
    And since the hubby is running more,
    I'm looking forward to filling his body with good stuff
    so he can have great performance.
    I'll be sharing emergency snacks to have around the house as well!
    No cranky, hungry macro people around my house!

    Alright fine, I can't live without my fattening food.
    So I'll be sharing vegan versions of my favorites as well.
    (I'm currently working on vegan "Animal Style" In-N-Out fries
    and CPK's Wild Mushroom Pizza. Yup!)

    Here's to sleeping like a log on beans! What?!













    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Oh, That Crazy Vegan Panini!

    Anything called Chickpea, Apple and Beet anything
    should not taste good.
    When I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times
    I immediately made a sour face at it.
    But when skimming the next issue,
    I saw a Letter to the Editor stating how great this panini was
    and I couldn't pass it up.
    I had to try this outrageous panini to see just how crazy this person was.
    Seriously, how could anyone think this actually tasted good?

    Looks good, right?
    Let me tell you something strange,
    it is good.
    Yeah.
    And I do want to make this again.
    Great, now I've joined that crazy weirdo
    who liked this bizzar combo of a panini. 



    First of all, I don't have a panini maker.
    I used lightly greased pan
    and put a smaller pan with two cans 
    on top of the sandwich.
    I felt so ghetto.
    But it worked!

    I used a purple beet, my regular Ezekiel bread 
    and I didn't have sprouts or tarragon 
    so my panini had to live without them. 
    It survived, and it was still fantastic!
    This was actually a memorable lunch. 
    Any excuse to eat more beets works for me!
    I used to not want to eat them when I was little.
    My mom told me that beets add color to your cheeks
    and vanity was the only way I was able to stomach them. 
    Purple vegetables are becoming more and more popular
    as we are realizing how important they are.
    Eat your purples everyone! 




                      Chickpea, Beet, and Apple Panini



    • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 3 Tbs. vegan mayonnaise
    • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
    • 8 slices sesame semolina bread (8 oz.)
    • 1 medium golden beet, peeled and sliced
    • 1 Granny smith apple, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup broccoli or radish sprouts    
    • 4 Tbs. prepared black olive tapenade

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Pulse chickpeas, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and tarragon in food processor until chunky.

    2. Spread chickpea mixture on 4 bread slices. Top with beet and apple slices, and sprouts. Spread remaining 4 bread slices with tapenade; close sandwiches.

    3. Spray panini with cooking spray. Coat skillet or grill pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Place panini in pan; weight with smaller-diameter saucepan weighted with 2 cans. Cook 3 minutes. Flip, replace weight, and cook 2 minutes. (Or cook 4 minutes in panini maker.) 

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Books We Love: Cookbooks

    When we were on vacation
    I really missed my cookbooks. 
    I'm a literature major,
    which means I've read Shelly,Thoreau, 
    Hemingway, Tennison, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy,
    you get it.
    I've read all the good stuff.
    But I have to tell you
    my absolute favorite genre is the cookbook. 
    Here are just a couple of my favorites.
    by Alicia Silverstone


    Years back, I remember reading that Alicia Silverstone had a vegan wedding.
    How cool is that? But I didn't realize she was a major foodie.
    This book is great because she explains all the reasons to be vegan:
     health, environment, and animal treatment. 
    So by the time you are done reading all these scientific facts that she simplifies, 
    you are not only pumped to be vegan, but you can't wait to get started! 
    It's an easy read, and once you have serious reasons to be vegan
    it makes it so much easier to give up something you love.
    Like steak. I don't miss steak. Crazy, right?
    And she isn't pushy. 
    She promotes "flirting" which just means easing up on meat and dairy,
    instead of making it all or nothing. 
    Also, all her recipes are easy and I've loved everything I've made.

    Some of my favorites are:

    Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto - good enough for company
    Oatmeal, Walnut, and Dried Plum Cookies - My favorite oatmeal cookie, and I've tried them all!
    Cornbread - My brother-in-law is a cornbread connoisseur, this is his favorite
    Mixed Berry Cheesecake - No, really, it doesn't get better than this.
    Nabeyaki Udon - Japanese food rocks!!
    Alicia's Magical Healing Soup - For when I feel a cold coming
    Baby Bok Choy Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette - I eat this several times a week
    Scrambled Tofu - without this, I would have never been able to give up eggs.
    Barley Casserole
    Polenta Casserole with Seitan

    by Ann Gentry




    Her restaurant, Real Food Daily
    made a believer out of my omnivore husband.
    but like many restaurant cookbooks,
    it requires lots of work, and, well, i don't have a sous chef.  
    This cookbook is composed of her recipes 
    she makes in her own home for her family.
    That being said, she is not an amateur chef. 
    These recipes are designed to taste good, 
    not to take fifteen minutes or five ingredients. 
    However, she does have easy dishes in here.

    This is my absolute favorite cookbook on my shelf.
    Everything I make tastes amazing
    and they make me feel like a pro.
    If someone had given me this book two years ago
    I probably wouldn't have been able to make anything in it.
    They aren't difficult,
    they just require some savvy.
    I don't mind prepping something ahead of time 
    to make these dishes happen.
    It's totally worth it.

    I'm not a salad person.
    The only time I would eat a salad pre-vegan
    was when I was forced 
    or at a restaurant when they load it 
    with meat, cheese and creamy dressing.
    Talk about calories! 
    (We weren't talking about calories. 
    And you won't see that word on my blog. 
    I believe in eating healthy, not calorie counting.)
    Once I became vegan salads turned me off.
    Seriously? A bowl full of raw vegetables? 
    Sounds....great....
    But Ann Gentry has really perfected the art of a good salad.
    No, I mean, she makes salads that make me want to jump for joy
    and ask the world to eat them with me.
    They are hearty and oh so good!
    With her salads, your meal will not need anything else. 

    Some favorite recipes so far are:

    Watercress and Butter Lettuce salad 
    with israeli couscous, orange - basil tempeh, and sweet miso dressing - 
    What a title! Best dish of my life. No joke

    One-pot vegetables and tofu with sesame rice - Super simple and delicious
    Vanilla and chocolate swirl bundt cake with chocolate fudge glaze
    Ann's morning power smoothie - My morning staple
    Super Hippie granola
    Quick oats and quinoa flakes - How I get more good stuff into my toddlers oatmeal
    Kung pao tofu and vegetables - Another basic and simple dish


    by Erin McKenna



    You can read my raving love for Babycakes here.
    I prefer this cookbook over her first one
    because there are more of a variety of recipes in here.
    Their pancakes and waffles are my hubbies and my absolute favorite.
    The first time we made the pancakes, I called my mom on the phone,
    "Get over here now! I just made pancakes that are going to change your life!"
    Some of my favorites recipes are:

    Pancakes
    Waffles
    Snickerdoodles - Daniel asked me to keep these around the house at all times
    It's - It - We made these the first night the book came in the mail. Best ice cream sandwiches ever!
    Rugalach - Just made this today. It's a more delicious cinnamon roll. How does that happen?
    Blackberry Swirl Donut - I dream about these.
    Spice marble Donut - Made these yesterday. Yum!
    Chips Ahoy!

    If I were single and had no one to take care of
    I'd probably spend all day baking every single recipe in this book.
    We dream. 
    For now, I'm enjoying baking with my daughter,
    and trying to convince her one...or three is enough. 
    Erin McKenna is probably my favorite person in the world. 
    I thank God for her. 


    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Sloppy Joes

    I remember the first time I ever had a Sloppy Joe.
    I was at a friend's house in elementary school,
    and all I could think about was why on earth my mom 
    never made this delicious meal for us.
    As soon as I got home I told her about the amazing dinner I had,
    and my question was answered.
    "That's dog food", my mom told me without looking at me, 
    or blinking, or having any consideration for my taste buds.
    And then I realized she was right.
    Especially when it comes from a can,
    which was the way I had it that night.
    I didn't have another Sloppy Joe again until 
    I was a liberated married woman with my own kitchen.
    But that time I made them from scratch, and they were delicious. 

    Since I become vegetarian, (and later vegan),
    I've been on this massive hunt for a veggie sloppy joe recipe.
    Many I didn't try because they looked so darn strange.
    Tonight I finally tried this one.
    After a long day of scrubbing every square inch of my house,
    (I felt like I was hanging from the ceiling at one point),
    running errands, and taking care of my parents senile dog,
    I was looking for something quick to make
    with ingredients I had on hand.
    I like this recipe because it doesn't require a lot of effort.

    I have so many lentils on hand, 
    I'm always looking for a way to make them semi interesting.
    And here we have it,
    My husband went so far as so say this recipe wasn't missing the meat.
    What?! Sounds good to me!
    We put our Snobby Joes on top of toasted Kaiser rolls.

    I can see why they called them Snobby Joes.
    They are so much better than the sloppy ones.

    I used 2 teaspoons chili pepper instead of 3 tablespoons 
    (cause I've been weak since my last pregnancy),
    and 2 tablespoons maple syrup instead of 3. 
    Still totally yummy!


    Image courtesty Seitan Is My Motor
    Everyone loves Sloppy Joes! This version thinks its better than everyone because it contains no meat. And there’s no soy, either. Lentils are the perfect texture for vegetarian sloppy Joes.
    1 cup uncooked green lentils
    4 cups water
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, diced small
    1 green pepper, diced small
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3 Tablespoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons oregano
    1 teaspoon salt
    8 oz can tomato sauce
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    3 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 tablespoon yellow mustard
    4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns (optional – for serving)
    Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
    About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.  Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.
    Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can’t wait.

    Happy Chow! 

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    No Bake Desserts: Ice Cream Cake

    I love Ice Cream Cake.
    I've been dreaming this one up for several days now.
    It definitely met expectations!
    The graham cracker crust was totally crumbly.
    The only way I know how to make a solid crust 
    is to bake the graham crackers,
    and I didn't want to turn on my oven.
    So, instead, the graham crackers kind of ended up being a topping. 
    Let me tell you, it didn't jeopardize the taste at all.
    It added a nice crunch.



    Ice Cream Cake

    Crust:
    22 Graham cracker squares
    2 Tablespoons peanut butter

    Filling:
    4 cups vegan ice cream
    1/2 cups chocolate chips

    Chocolate Ganache:
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1/4 cup vegan milk

    I used Rice Dream Neapolitan ice cream.
    We really this in our house.


    Crust:
    Pulse graham cracker crumbs with peanut butter
    in a food processor.
    Layer crumbs on a 9x9 in baking dish.
    I lined mine with parchment paper.


    Filling:
    Puree ice cream until creamy.
    Mix in chocolate chips.
    Loved biting into a chocolate chip in this cake.



    Layer ice cream on top of graham cracker crust.


    Ganache:
    In a small sauce pan
    mix chocolate chips and vegan milk.
    I used almond milk.
    Spread that on top of the ice cream.
    We are big on chocolate in this house.
    Really, we can't get enough.

    My toddler started submerging the ganache into the ice cream.
    When baking with toddlers,
    sometimes beauty goes out the window.


    Store in freezer for at least three hours or until ice cream hardens
    and then eat up!
    Oh my goodness this was good.
    I can't wait to come up with more ice cream cakes.
    Is it possible to get them wrong?

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Taco Tuesday

    I made this fish taco recipe
    but instead of using fish,
    I fried avocado.
    What?! Shut-up!
    I know. 
    Let me tell you,
    it was amazing.
    The texture was perfect 
    and the flavor was fantastic!
    Talk about delicious.

    I just replaced two avocados for the fish 
    and I eliminated the guacamole.
    I loved the flavor of the lime from the Lime Crema,
    and Pico de Gallo.
    Because I'm not a big fan of raw cabbage,
    I used lettuce instead.
    I also didn't have much lime,
    so I used lemon instead.

    Look at that fried avocado!
    Yum!
    Make sure your avocados are slightly ripe.
    Too mushy and they won't work.


    Salted lettuce, lime crema, and pico de gallo.
    I made the lime crema and pico de gallo
    in the afternoon and stored it in the fridge till dinner time.
    I love making dinner prep easier. 
    Plus it allows the flavors to set. 


    Makes for one fabulous taco!


    Delicious! This is a new family staple in our home. 

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    How I Get Through My Day

    Sorry for being gone so long.
    We are finally back from vacation.
    Which means we have tons of laundry, cleaning 
    and sleep to catch up on. 


    Makeup Remover

    When I packed for vacation
    I totally forgot to pack my makeup remover.
    This is my all time favorite,
    I missed it so much.
    Poor guy, being left all alone at home.


    Earth Science Eye Makeup Remover.
    I love it because it is gentle on the eyes.
    I have zero eye lashes, so when I put on mascara 
    I put on about ten layers.
    This stuff is the only remover I've used 
    that gets the mascara off without a fuss.


    Organic Produce

    I'm passionate about organic produce.
    For more reasons than one,
    I think it is so important to shop organic.
    Unfortuatly, our budget doesn't allow us 
    to shop exclusivly organic right now.
    So I follow these two lists 
    put out by the Environmental Working Group.


    The Dirty Dozen

    This is produce that must be bought organic 
    because they absorbe pesticides.

    Apples
    Bell Peppers
    Carrots
    Celery
    Cherries
    Grapes
    Kale
    Lettuce
    Nectaries
    Peaches
    Pears
    Strawberries

    What is great about this list is that 
    it includes berries that I don't buy all year long.
    Since it does include lettuce and kale, 
    I go a step further and buy all my leafy veggies organic.
    Such as swiss chard, watercress, and spinach.


    The Clean 15


    This is produce that is fine to buy 
    when grown conventionally.

    Asparagus
    Avocados
    Broccoli
    Cabbage
    Eggplant
    Kiwifruit
    Mangoes
    Onions
    Papayas
    Pineapples
    Sweet corn
    Sweet peas
    Sweet potatoes
    Tomatoes
    Watermelon

    See a pattern? Most of these have thick peels 
    or hard shells to protect them from pesticides.


    Running

    I'm so proud of myself.
    While on vacation, I started running again 
    with my sweet cousin, Rosalia.
    It totally helps to run when you have 
    a great partner who pushes you.
    We were both on runners high all day 
    with the extra energy boost our workout gave us.

    When I started running, my husband bought me a pair of Asics 
    which are the greatest thing that has happened to my feet.
    I love them so much, that I asked my husband 
    if we could name our first son Asic.
    And when I go long periods of time without running,
    I look at them longingly.
    Oh Asics, you make running so comfortable.



    The same shoes isn't right for everyone.
    My hubby took me to a running specialty store, 
    where they have you try on shoes,
    and you do a lap around the store 
    to find out which is right for you.


    Whole Grain Salad


    When I was visiting family in Washington
    my aunt made this salad.
    Talk about fantastic!
    So delicious and satisfying.
    All my cousins raved about it 
    and they were right!
    Perfect for a hot summer day.
    And it's super easy. 
    Just cook the quinoa,
    chop the veggies,
    mix and eat!

    I love that it's made with quinoa.
    Quinoa is a superstar in the food world.
    Full of protein and fiber, you can't go wrong.

    Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa Salad

    1 cup water or vegetable broth
    1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    3 teaspoons lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon minced scallions
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped green onions
    1 15-ounce can no-salt black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 ear fresh corn, cooked, kernels removed (about 1 cup kernels)
    1 small tomato, chopped
    (about 3/4 cup)
    3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
    (red, orange, yellow, or a mix)
    2 tablespoons canned diced
    green chilies
    1 cup chopped fresh mango or peach
    Lime wedges

    1. In a saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed, 10–15 minutes. Cool.
    2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, cayenne, scallions, and cilantro. In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, green onions, beans, corn kernels, tomato, bell pepper, green chilies, and mango or peach. Add olive oil mixture and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cool. Serve with lime wedges.



    Looking forward to what the rest of summer hold for us in our home.
    So far we are plagued with Adventure in Potty Training.
    All day my toddler had accidents all over the house.
    Finally, this evening she told me she needed to go, and went in the potty.
    Success!! Sigh. It does actually work to be persistent. 
    Thank goodness! I'll be ready again tomorrow to clean up the puddles
    and reward the flushes.