Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roasted Goodness.

Tomatoes are in their bounty!  I have so many tomatoes, I almost don't know what to do with myself.  I'll take tomatoes and make a sauce, soup, salad or chop them into a sandwich - I love them!  To warm my lil' bod up since it turned to fall so quickly, I made yet another soup!  This is easy and smells amazing.  Enjoy!  

Cherry Tomatoes - washed ready to be chopped

Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup 

tomatoes- duh.
onion - chopped
olive oil to lightly coat everything
crushed red pepper
salt n' pep

I eyeballed all of my ingredients, so use your best judgement if you plan on recreating this... It's hard to measure things precisely when you live alone and the only one eating it!  

Chop tomatoes, garlic and onion.  Coat with olive oil and dust with dried herbs.  If you have fresh ones, go for it!  Toss the vegetable mixture onto a baking sheet and place into a preheated oven of 375 for about 45-60 minutes.  Your house will smell like an Italian Stallion is roastin' more than tomatoes in your kitchen!  He he he.  

Chopped Cherry Tomatoes 

CT's coated in olive oil and herbs
Once the tomatoes are soft, remove from the oven and crush a little more.  Feel free to strain the skins, otherwise, leave them in!  Easy and so healthy - a true one-pot wonder! 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Calling all Carrot Haters!

How could anyone hate carrots?  I love carrots, I'm surprised I have not turned orange.  I'm glad I'm not orange... Carrots are packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene.  It might be an old wives tale, but they're supposed to be great for your eyes and studies have shown that their antioxidant compounds help reduce heart disease and cancer.  

This soup, like all the soups I've been posting lately, is easy to prepare.  The yam balances the carrots to create a delicious, smooth curried soup.  Perfect for the fall weather we're having!  

Curried Carrot Yam Soup

1 yam- diced
4 large carrots- peeled and chopped
1/2 onion 
3 garlic cloves 
1 1/2 cup soy milk 
3 cups water - or apple cider
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin 
chopped fresh cilantro or a couple shakes of the dried stuff - optional
a few dashes of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

To make everything easy, chop everything up right away.  

Add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom of a stock pot, add onion and garlic.  Saute until the onion turns translucent and your eyes stopped watering.  Toss in the yam and carrots.  Stir together and then add the liquids and spices.  Let the pot boil for a bit and bring it down to a simmer.  When the carrots finally start to feel soft remove from heat.  Place either in the food processor or blender and work it 'till you have the consistency that you will enjoy.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with some beautiful crusty bread!  Yummm.  

Carrot hater beware, you will love this!  Your lil' ticker and vision will thank you! 

So, go!  Go make some soup!  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Fall!

Cooler weather, pumpkins, squash, apples and cider - I love you Fall!  I'd take a beautiful Fall day, any day.  I love the smells, colors and temperatures.  It's just a fantastic time of year!  I have this odd instinct to bake and make soup whenever the weather gets a little cooler.  I don't know if it's learned or what, but it's all I want to do this time of year!  

Zucchini Chowder

I've been making soups every Sunday for my busy weeks.  This week I tossed together an easy Zucchini Chowder.  6 easy ingredients for a fast and healthy meal. 

Zucchini Chowda'
2-3 zucchinis - chopped
1/2 red onion
3-4 garlic cloves -minced
enough rice milk or water to just cover the vegetables in the pot
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Sauté onion and garlic in some olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add zucchini for about 3-4 minutes and then add milk or water-- enough to cover.  Add in nutritional yeast and basil.  Simmer until soft and then using an immersion blender, blend away!  If you don't have an immersion blender toss everything into a blender or food processor until you reach your ideal consistency.  

I garnished mine with some lime juice instead of salt and some raw chopped zucchini for a little crunch... Later in the week I brought some to my sister who is studying for the LSAT on Saturday.  She told me it didn't have enough flavor and needed salt... So if your palate is used to MSG or a lot of studying, add some salt!  

Go on, heat up your house with homemade love!  

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well... What do you eat?

As long as we're vegans, there will always be the inquiries.  "What do you eat?  Where do you get your protein?  Can you eat garlic?  Are you apart of a cult?"   I anticipate interacting with hecklers, haters and people who have never heard of veganism.  I promise to embrace them, educate and excite; even if they are just making fun of me.  One of my co-workers approached me while I was eating lunch in the break room on Friday and said "I would have never guessed you're a vegan, you're so cool."  I hope to change that outlook.  Everyones cool, no matter what ones likes or dislikes are.  I'm no elitist.  

Knowing someone was a recovered alcoholic, I'd never insist that they have a drink or pressure someone on a diet to eat chocolate cake or ask why they're not eating something.  That's rude, right?  They know what's best for them and good for them for knowing it!  Offer up an ear, listen and let be.  Sure, I wasn't always like this, but quickly learned to be compassionate of others opinions or lifestyle, whether I thought they were good or bad.  If it's good for them, it's good for me.  

If I have to be the butt of everyones jokes, fine.  I'm okay with it, because I know that how I choose to live my life, is the best for me.  I make delicious and healthy meals- and I mean really healthy meals, that taste good! (Try a recipe!)  I find it reassuring knowing that what I put in my body as well as what I offer to others is not only made with love, but will nourish and aid in a healthier life.  I don't ever see myself having a heart attack...  Ever.  If I do, I'll blog about it! 

I am a vegan and very active.  I'm a yogeni, avid runner and swimmer.  Fueled off of compassion!  So, if you want to ask me what on earth I eat, get ready for an earful.  I'll probably drag you go to the grocery store and then make you a meal.  Keep an open mind and you might even learn a thing or two! 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fit for a Rockstar

One of my talented friends, Tasha and her husband Justin, are together better known as Ellery.  The duo from Cincinnati was on the road to promote their new album and made a stop in Minneapolis.  Not only did I get to see them perform; which was absolutely amazing - but they crashed at my house!  It was so great to catch up, even for a short time.  

Both of them are amazing performers and gifted song writers. Tasha sings and plays piano, while Justin plays guitar and sings a little, too.  They were great to see live.  Onstage, between numbers, they have this cute playful banter between the two of them.  Really, it's entertaining!  If you go to a show, you'll smile for sure.  It's obvious that they're very much in love and very happy.  I love seeing people in love, anywhere! 

 It's so exciting to have friends do what they love and be so happy -- they're truly inspiring people.  Check out their webpage, Ellery Music for any information, music and tour dates.    

During their stay, I of course stuffed their bellies with delicious vegan treats!  Before they left, I woke up earlier to make some awesome Banana-Coconut Flax Muffins.  So worth it, especially knowing that I provided my rock-star friends with loads of tasty nutrition.  These puppies are so healthy and flavorful, you'll forget they're good for you!  

A perfect way to start off any morning - on the road or not!  

Banana-Coconut Flax Muffins
1/2 cup brown rice syrup or brown sugar
2 mashed bananas
1 cup almond milk 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup flax meal
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut

400 degrees about 18-20 minutes

Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinager- let sit while you mix the dry ingredients together and mash the bananas.  Mix the dry ingredients together and add the wet into the dry.  Mix in coconut last.  Pour batter into a greased muffin tin and bake for about 18-20 minutes.  Enjoy with a cup of tea or deacaf coffee!  Lil' T loves decaf! :) 

Soooo good!  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gluten Free Goodness

One of the girls I work with was nice enough to switch up their Saturday schedules with me so I could take off for Labor Day.  I was so excited she was able to cover for me - allowing a long lazy weekend with my boys.  

To show my appreciation and love for anyone, in any situation, I make food.  Being so pleased that Alyse could cover my shift, I made up some cookies!  These weren't just any cookies - they were wheat-free vegan cookies!  My lil' darlin' is allergic to wheat and I was more than happy to accommodate and try out some new flours in the kitchen!  

I made up a batch of Peanut Butter cookies and Chocolate Chip, of course.  

The Peanut Butter batch was a little crumbly, but absolutely delicious.  A simple recipe with only 4 ingredients will have any taste buds dancing in seconds. 

Wheat-Free Vegan PB Cookies

1 c sugar + some to roll the dough in
1 c peanut butter - I used chunky, feel free to use whatever
1 egg or 1 egg replacer - I used Ener-G egg replacer
a dash of salt

Try a splash of vanilla!  

Roll into balls and then into a shallow bowl of sugar, coating evenly.  Place on an un-greased cookie sheet.  With the back of a fork, press down gently making cris-cross marks.  Just like you did with Ma' when you were a youngster!

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Let your appetite and the cookies cool before taking off of the pan, they'll be a little soft.  You will want to eat them right off of the pan...

These cookies are absolutely blissful.  Sure, they might not be the most healthy thing in the world, but they're just lovely.  I'm definitely making them again!  Make up a batch and share them with some one you love!  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Miso Hungry!

Growing up, my mom would call the weekly visit to the grocery store 'big grocery', meaning she'd be stocking up for the week. We'd then call quick trips to the store, 'little grocery'.  Kinda cute, right?  I guess it's stuck with me into my adult years because now on Sundays, I head to the store for my 'big grocery'.  It's helpful, especially when I know I have a busy week ahead of me.

I pick out what looks good to me on that day.  It might not be ideal later that week, but forces me to incorporate and experiment with new recipes.  This way, I'm always trying something new!  Some nights I'll come home and think, "Dang, I only have this, that and some of that thing. How is this going to be good?" Sure, not everything can be fantastic because I make plenty of bland and boring dishes.  My amazing successes bring you, blog posts! Ta-da!

Taking note of the vegetables I had on hand along with some tofu, I opted to saute some veggies and make up a miso glaze for the tofu. I bedded the vegetable mixture on top of some soba noodles.  A perfect meal for the first of September!  

Miso Glazed Tofu and Vegetables over Soba Noodles

Like a majority of my recipes, they're flexiable. Feel free to sub in any other vegetable on hand.

Miso Glaze
2 tsps miso
1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar and soy sauce
2 garlic cloves - chopped
ginger- chopped to your liking.  
a couple shakes of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup cilantro- chopped. Save some for a garnish

tofu marinating

Whisk together until miso has dissapeared. Place tofu into the dish, coating evenly. Let it marinade as you prep the vegetables and bring water for the noodles to a boil.

I chopped up the following or use whatcha have on hand. 

red pepper
garbanzo beans

vegetables and tofu sauteing 

Heat olive oil in a pan and let tofu sit about 4 minutes on each side. After you've flipped the tofu, toss in the vegeteables. Saute them together until the vegetables are done. Drizzle the remaining marinade over them before tossing with the noodles.   Strain the noodles and fold everything together. Dust with some fresh cilantro!

Vegetable Cilantro Salad

I've been pretty blessed this summer to do some fun traveling.  Last week, I was in New York City visiting my cousin who is more like an older brother.  We had a great time together; good laughs and great food.  He was pretty amused at my excitement when we stopped in at Babycakes NYC.  It was one of my favorite parts of the trip!  We ordered a couple cupcakes and split a doughnut.  A doughnut!  I never thought I'd have one ever again!  I smile thinking about how adorable their bakery is!  Oh, and across the street from where I stayed, there was a bagel joint: Lots-o-Bagel which even offered tofu cream cheese!  

After indulging in fabulous meals and having more than enough drinks I was happy to get home to cook some healthy meals.  

This vegetable salad is so delicious and easy.  I tossed it together on Sunday night to have for lunch throughout the week.  Enjoy it plain, over pasta or plate it up with some leafy greens.  

Cilantro Vegetable Salad
3-4 carrots
5-6 radishes 
1/2 zucchini 
1/2 c or so garbanzo beans
1/2 c or so peas
1/4 c or more chopped cilantro

I eyeballed all the ingredients- if you want more of one thing, add more!  Chop up everything and toss together with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.