Monday, August 27, 2012

Vegan Lettuce Wraps

I was really craving lettuce wraps. I decided to use tempeh because I wanted them to resemble red meat as much as possible. I love the meaty texture tempeh offers! The marinate ended up making the tempeh so moist providing lots of flavor with each bite! So delicious! This is something I would totally serve as an appetizer at a party. But we enjoyed them as dinner. The girls did not give me a hard time about eating them which is a huge plus. I'm always beaming with happiness whenever I see them eating a meal with ginger because ginger is such an immune booster. We served this with broccoli.

Vegan Lettuce Wraps

1/2 Cup Shoyu (or whatever soy sauce you got) 
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
4 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1/2 Orange
1 Package of Tempeh (8 ounces)
1 Diced Red Bell Pepper
2 Peeled and Diced Carrots
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil 
Sesame Seeds
Diced Green Onion

1. Whisk shoyu, ginger, water, maple syrup, and juice from the orange in an 8x8 inch dish. Finely dice the tempeh and add it to your sauce. Toss to coat, cover and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. At medium high heat add sesame oil, tempeh with the sauce, carrots and bell peppers. Cover and let simmer for ten minutes. Flip over and let it simmer for ten more minutes. Remove lid and allow it to brown stirring occasionally. 

3. Let it cool a bit. Fill one leaf of lettuce with about 1/2 cup of tempeh (or less! Depending on the size of your lettuce leaf). Top with sesame seeds and green onion. 

These were so juicy! Totally didn't taste like tempeh. I went a little overboard with the sesame seeds here, but they are actually really good for you, so eat up! 

Alright guys, here is a picture of my 6 week old. She always looks slightly terrified. This is because she has two sisters that are constantly talking baby talk to her, kissing her, starring at her right up against her face and sticking stickers on her. 

Back in the day, I used to make my posts in the evening after the girls went to bed, but our new baby doesn't believe in going to bed before 11:30. Our bed time is 10:00. Way to make us feel old by wanting to stay up later than us. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spaghetti Casserole

Totally forgot how much work newborns are! I'm going to have to post how to transition from two to three kids. Since everyone is happy and I function without coffee, I feel as though I've perfected the art. 

I hesitated posting this recipe because it is not totally vegan. Big fat apologies to all aspiring vegans out there. My goal is to make this a plant based blog, but I decided to post it anyway because this post is for you people emailing me, asking me how you can make a smooth transition into vegan or vegetarian cooking. 

I love LOVE casseroles. I have always wanted to try The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti but pretty much the only thing I could eat from it were the onions and pasta. Yesterday I broke down and made my own version. I replaced the chicken with zucchinis and created my own vegan cream of mushroom instead of using canned. My cream of mushroom is super easy and didn't have all the bad stuff canned food does. 

This dish took minutes to make and was very little work. The fact that I was able to whip it up quickly with a fussy baby and another child yelling some such at me, says a lot. This dish is for all of you who want to consume less meat on occasion, or those who want to eat Pioneer Woman delicious goodness, but a healthier version. Enjoy!

Yummmm....I do enjoy having a bit of cheese every now and then. Note the cream of mushroom on the bottom of the dish. I'm notorious for skipping steps. Here I skipped the step of mixing all ingredients in a large bowl, which is why the cream is not evenly distributed. 

Cheesy, Veggie, Spaghetti Casserole

About 3 cups brown rice spaghetti pasta
1 Tablespoon vegan butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
20 ounces rice milk
2 Tablespoon white flour
2 diced zucchinis, about 2 cups
1 diced bell pepper
Salt and Pepper
2 cups shredded chedder cheese plus more for the top

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Cook pasta as directed. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté till browned, about five minutes. Add rice milk and whisk in flour. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it thicken a bit while you chop your veggies, about ten minutes or less.

3. In a large bowl mix together cooked spaghetti, milk with mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, two cups cheese and a good amount of salt and pepper. Pour into a 8x8 in. casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbling. 

Thérèse had just woken up from her nap to eat this. I asked Daniel to do something with her bed hair and this was his technique. She thought it was funny but not a solution. With three girls, giving Daniel a hair styling lesson is now on my list of things to do.

Hoping to share my perfected vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe with you this up-coming week and my mommy survival skills! I'm going to need to post up-dated pictures of my baby. Her growth has been rapid. I call her my Jolly Red Giant. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Favorite Plant Based Sandwich

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in a week! Daniel went back to work last week and the girls and I enjoyed having different company over every day. It's great to have a new baby so you have an excuse to have people over. Daniel picked up laundry duty when I went back to school, so this week I did laundry for the first time in eleven months! I don't know why people complain about laundry so much. It's so darn exciting. 

Being home alone with the girls is slightly challenging. The biggest challenge has been finding time to eat, let alone cook my food. Since I'm so anti-processed food, I realized I needed to make up a few meals to have on hand so I could have instant healthy food. Tuesday my in-laws took the girls for the day so I could do visit with my old friend, laundry, and make some food to have in the fridge. I made:

* Hummus
Swiss chard pot stickers (only up to the folding part so when we were ready to eat, I just fried them up and they tasted fresh)
* Vegan Paella (from Paltrow's My Father's Daughter. I love this dish!)
I made something else, but I'm sleep deprived. So parts of my brain sleep during the day since it can't sleep at night. 

This is what I made with the hummus throughout the week. This sandwich is perfect for us. Daniel runs and swims almost every day, and often bikes to work, so he needs lots of protein and most importantly fat. I'm nursing a giant (she gained a pound and a half her first two weeks. holy cow) so clearly I am working harder than Daniel and need the fats even more than he does. Remember, being on a plant based diet the biggest challenge is getting enough fat, not protein! But these fats will keep you slender.

This sandwich is very near and dear to my heart. It was one of the first vegan meals I ever ate as a teenager. A local health food restaurant made this and I loved how delicious and satisfying it was. It's refreshing for summer and has lots of natural fats your body and brain need. Here is my rendition. 

Summer Veg Sandwich


2 slices of bread (I use Ezekiel, but you can use something lighter)
2-3 Tbsp. hummus
1-2 tsp. sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. Veganaise
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
4 slices tomatoes
1 c. loosely packed alfalfa sprouts(these guys get a bad rep. Lay off the hateful talk, they are awesome!)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and grated

1) Spread hummus over one slice of bread. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. 

2) Spread Veganise over other slice of toast and layer avocado evenly over it.

3) Put tomato slices over avocado, then top with cucumber and alfalfa sprouts. Close with the slice of bread with hummus. 

Serves 1 good! I love the sweet and nutty taste this sandwich has. 

It was nice to have food made so I could hang out with these people. 

I will be making more meals ahead of time and more quick meals too. I'll be sharing! 

I want to thank all of you for welcoming my baby and giving me such a warm welcome back into the blogging world. To those who have written me, sorry I haven't gotten a chance to write all of you a personal email back. You are much appreciated and thought of! 

By the way, I would like to discourage you all from buying soft tofu. We got soft tofu instead of firm tofu this week and the texture is even less exciting than laundry.