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Showing posts from May, 2018

Mac N Cheese with Broccolini

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It seems like many new vegans find themselves on the hunt for the perfect dairy-free mac-n-cheese recipe. Mac-n-cheese is one of those dishes you might really miss in the beginning of your journey, especially if you haven't been exposed to a good vegan version yet. But, I'm happy to report that yummy vegan mac-n-cheese recipes are very easy to find; there are always new formulas for this fan fave popping up on the internet, usually made with cashews, vegan cheese options, cauliflower, dairy-free milk, etc. It's the first thing I mention whenever a non-vegan insinuates that I must be deprived: hey, I eat mac-n-cheese, pizza, and burgers, but yes, I'm so deprived. Just because you are used to eating something one way doesn't mean you can't tweak it a little bit in order to help the earth and its inhabitants. In the making of this mac-n-cheese, no cruelty was endorsed, and no flavor or texture was sacrificed!
This recipe is a Chef Chloe adaptation. Her vegan Ital…

Portobellos with Power Pesto

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Portobello mushrooms are like a vegan/vegetarian's DREAM. Besides being velvety delicious, portobellos are super filling and very high in protein. Restaurants commonly use portobellos as a meat-free alternative to burgers, and I've seen fellow vegan bloggers grill them as an alternative to steak. I'll have to try that sometime. Tonight I was in the mood for an extra-healthy, protein-filled meal. Portobello caps filled this criteria perfectly, and so did quinoa and some veggie-powered pesto.
Pesto on its own is great, and there are plenty of brands of vegan brands to buy or vegan pesto recipes to try. I was in the mood to be a little creative and add some extra nutrition power, so I decided to try chopping up some baby bella mushrooms, green pepper, and onion, cook them up, and process them with pesto into a sauce. Such a simple meal with pure, easy flavor and a major health kick.

Ingredients 1 cup uncooked quinoa 4 portobello caps 2 handfuls of spinach salt and pepper oliv…

Tofu Kebabs and Corn with Basil Butter

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Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summertime as made apparent by the crazy traffic heading down to the Jersey Shore from New York City, the (sometimes) warm temperatures, the three-day weekend, and most importantly...the BBQs!

My family typically gathers together at my parents' home for the long weekend. They live close to the beach (10 minute drive) but also in the middle of the woods (sweet paradise), so it's a lovely place to spend a long weekend. Our summer weekends usually consist of a big breakfast, all day on the beach, and then a delicious meal shared together on the porch. My dad has spent many a summer evening outside on the patio mastering the charcoal grill. My mom plans and preps the meal, and then my dad executes perfectly; they are quite the duo. I took inspiration from their grilling savvy for this recipe. There is nothing better than a fresh char on some fresh vegetables, am I right?

Due to the fact that I live in an apartment building in New York…

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

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Veggie. Burgers. Two words that bring to mind summertime, barbecues, and maybe THE most broadly accepted form of meatless eating. Every restaurant seems to carry a veggie burger on their menu, even if it is their only vegetarian option, and there are so many varieties and brands of veggie burgers in grocery stores now that it can get overwhelming. I've tried so many flavors of burgers, like Chipotle, California, Black Bean, Mushroom, Chickpea Patties, etc. etc., that I'm convinced normal burgers must be super boring. Imagine - if aliens visiting Earth for the first time had a choice of vegetable-packed protein patties in a wide variety of flavors, or just a hunk of ground meat formed into a circle and thrown on a grill, why on earth would they choose the meat option? I know people have a strange attachment to beef and grilling, but honestly, I think there is a very strong case for supporting the veggie burger.

One strange setback is that many veggie burgers are made with eggs…

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

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Ladies and gentleman, lett-uce not forget to nourish ourselves with nutritious plant-based foods, including this beautiful fresh lettuce and our delicious friends, teriyaki and tempeh. It's the time of year to enjoy fresh lettuce, as the nights are still cool but the days have a higher sun and some warmer temperatures (...sometimes). Lettuce is thriving, and so should we! Why not celebrate the spring season with some gorgeous lettuce wraps for dinner? It seemed like a grand idea to me.

Lettuce wraps always remind me of PF Chang's - an iconic appetizer on the menu of the popular chain Chinese restaurant - but their wraps are filled with ground chicken. Back in my omnivore days, I was really into that, but now, I'm into finding a vegan solution. You'll notice I said vegan "solution" because I'm trying to avoid saying the word "substitution", as I want to encourage the idea that the vegan option should be considered the rule, not the exception. Wh…

Slow Cooker Bean Chili

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Sometimes hubby and I have busy weeks, full of after hours work responsibilities and/or social plans. Many times our schedules oppose each others' and there are weeks that we don't eat dinner together at all. Those weeks can easily mean back-to-back takeout or fast food for dinner, but due to the costs of those options (both monetary and health), I've been trying to plan meals that are flexible and can better accommodate our busy schedules.

For example, I make dishes using the slow cooker so that we can eat a warm cooked meal as soon as we walk through the door (even if it's 9pm or after), or otherwise, so that whoever is home first can eat while keeping the rest warm and ready for the other. Not to mention, there is barely any clean-up after a slow cooker meal, and most foods that are slow-cooker friendly are super hearty, filling, and delicious. It takes a little bit of planning and some extra time in the morning, but otherwise using the slow cooker during busy week…

Strawberry Kiwi Crepes

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I've been to Paris a few times, and one of them was with my dearest cousins for the Paris Marathon. I was finishing my Master's Degree in Manchester, UK and and was planning to solo-travel to a few European cities for a spring break trip. When I found out my cousin would be running in the Marathon, I decided to coordinate my trip so that my time in Paris overlapped with theirs. Being in Paris with them was beyond wonderful and I am honored that I got to experience the city with them. What does this have to do with crepes? Everything!

Needless to say, a trip to Paris is not complete without a crepe from one of the many street vendors. So fresh and warm, these crepes are pure perfection and ideal for hand-held snacking while site-seeing. A few years after our trip together, my cousins gifted me my very own crepe pan as my bridal shower gift to commemorate our time together. It is one of the most thoughtful and useful gifts I've ever received.

Hubby and I make use of our cre…

Banana Muffins

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Brown bananas are a weekly output in our apartment. For whatever reason, we never manage to buy the bunches at the peak ripeness so that we can eat them all week long. Either they are too green and you can't eat them right away, or they are too yellow and turn brown at too fast a rate. There are only two of us, so we'd each have to eat two bananas a day to keep up with the ripening pace most weeks! One week in particular, we had about four bananas that were past the point of being enjoyable, especially for hubby - he absolutely hates overripe bananas! It always feels like such a waste, until I pull the black bananas out of the freezer a few weeks later to bake something magnificent.

Have you ever heard of that trick? My mom always has a few black bananas in the freezer ready for whenever she had a yen for banana chocolate chip bread or banana nut bread. I follow my mom's resourcefulness and always put our overripe bananas in the freezer. I'm not quite sure why they tu…

Breaded Tofu and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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Comfort food - not normally what comes to mind of when you think "vegan". But this meal sure was comforting for both my mind and my tummy. All the elements of a good comfort meal were present: creamy mashed potatoes, gravy, slow roasted veggies, and breaded and fried tofu? Okay, maybe tofu is not what you were expecting to end that list, but trust me, it worked.

I've tried cooking tofu many different ways, but I have never breaded and fried it before. Let me tell you, this method sure did satisfy my craving for something warm and fried. The tofu ended up resembling my mom's chicken cutlets from when I was a kid. The slices were crispy, but not greasy. Next time, I think I might slice the tofu a little thinner so that it gets even crispier. Ours were just the tiniest bit soft in the middle, but otherwise totally delicious.

Roasted brussel sprouts seemed like the perfect side for this dish because of the way the outer leaves get so crispy when they are roasted in the …

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast

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What's better than breakfast for dinner? It's can be so nice to break up the monotony of the week with the excitement of something unexpected for dinner. Breakfast for dinner signifies an informality of sorts, as if we are getting away with something naughty. As a kid, whenever Mom was out at dinnertime, Dad made pancakes. Sometimes on Friday nights, we'd have eggs instead of takeout. On Sundays when Mom didn't feel like making dinner, we'd have, you guessed it, breakfast food. It was as if we were allowed to wear our clothes inside out or eat cake for breakfast - there is such fun in abnormality. Eating this meal reminded me of that little thrill I'd feel as a kid whenever we got the rare treat of breakfast for dinner.

Tonight's take on breakfast featured a tofu scramble, roasted sweet potatoes (because sweet potatoes make everything better), veggie sausages, and baked beans as an ode to Hubby's English roots. Hubby also added some good ol' white …

Ribbon Veggie Noodle Stir-fry

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Tonight's dinner was really fun to make. I knew that we had all the ingredients to make a stir-fry, and I was in the mood for a stir-fry, but I was trying to think of a new, more exciting way to prepare it. We had asparagus and carrots in the fridge and, tired of the same ol' roasting or steaming methods for these two vegetables, I decided to use a vegetable peeler to make each carrot and asparagus stalk into ribbons. Spiralizing your vegetables is all the rage these days, so I guess this was just a lower tech and a less trendy version of that. But it was really fun.

It struck me that if my veggies were all transformed into cute little thin ribbons, almost translucent and perfectly light, I think I could manage a raw diet! They really didn't need to be cooked at all in that form. Just add some salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and you'd have a fantastic raw salad. I taste tested a few of the ribbons as I was peeling and I could barely detect that they were ca…

Spicy Black Bean Tacos

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It was Cinco de Mayo this past weekend, and although we did not do anything to celebrate on the actual day, we decided to have a festive dinner this week to prolong the fiesta. Even more appropriately, it's Taco Tuesday! Tacos are one of our repeat go-to dinners because they typically take so little time to prepare and are always tasty. There hasn't been one single time in my life that I wasn't in the mood for tacos. Not one!

Tacos can be a healthy dinner if they contain a nice variety of protein and veggies in the fillings/toppings. Yet, it feels like a slight thrill that it is socially acceptable to chow down on multiple at one sitting. And let's face it - tortillas are god's gift to this earth, in all forms (soft, hard, and chip). If we count the health factor, the thrill factor, and the tortilla factor, there might be no more perfect food than tacos.

However, I am wise enough to know that my tacos are by no means authentic. Hubby and I have been to Mexico and I…