Friday, July 31, 2015

Chickpeas + Escarole

First off, forgive my absence.  I suppose I am not really cut out for this blogging thing but I am trying.  I really want to give you a true review of each recipe that I make.  So bear with me as I attempt to do this.

My latest dish (that I am eating as I write this) is Chickpeas and Escarole in White Wine Broth is amazing.  Who knew that this lettuce looking stuff could be so delicious.  It was nestled somewhere between the endive and dino kale.  I wasn't too sure if I was grabbing the right one.  But the recipe stated that it looked something like romaine so I know I was in the right area.

I love a dish that comes together so easily and can be made with one of my favorite pantry staples... chickpeas or garbanzo beans depending on how you are feeling on any given day.  Super simple ingredients that didn't require an extra grocery trip (and considering that my boys are still on summer break they had to make the trek with me) it was a nice perk.

I added some avocado but really wanted to throw this over some rice.  I am trying to cut back on carbs (you know like everyone is these days) and the substitute was AWESOME.

This dish came out of Isa Does It... which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.  If you don't have it, get it and add it to your cookbook library.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.  This will make a nice quick dish on the days I need to cook but don't really want to!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Learning to Garden!

Two years ago my husband build me a set of three garden boxes.  And we have harvested around 2 lbs of tomatoes... period.  For some reason we, or dare I say, I have a hard time growing things.  For some reason I felt that I was living in the movie, Field of Dreams, and chanting my mantra of "if you build it they will come".  Apparently building a garden box did not produce instant vegetables.  So when I found this book I figured to check it out.  First off we have a limited amount of space and second little to zero knowledge of how to garden.  My mom's fiance is a master gardener, meaning he looks at a plant and it grows, harvest and prepares itself. 

I am not like that.  I am however an expert tomato hornworm spotter.  My kids are expert tomato hornworm squishers.  My husband is an expert at being patient while his wife tries to figure this all out.

Yet when I opened the pages of this book I felt that I was given a second chance.  Our money paid for the garden boxes was not going to go down the drain.  While it reads like a book about gardening, lots of facts and details, limited on the fun fiction-y type of wording, it was full of information that I look forward to implementing.

It covers the right amount of ingredients to have in your soil and how to test your soil.  I am learning about what and when to plant.  It is great fun to learn about all the heirloom varieties that I can grow.  Since my garden was already full of beautiful tomato plants (who were viciously attack by a pack of hungry squirrels) I need to wait to amend my soil and buy some new plants.

I love this book for its simplicity and easy to follow instructions.  I really look forward to adding all the knowledge gained to my poor little garden!

** I was given this book to review for free from Blogging for!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad

I love SUSHI!!!  My husband and I would always go to our favorite sushi restaurant every single date night... until my veganism hit.  He was sad and I was frustrated.  No more Spanish Rolls or El Feugo's, you know the kind that are smothered in Sriracha and make your face melt off!!  I tried the veggie roll, the cucumber roll and avocado roll but there was no flavor... and we don't live near a city that has cool, trendy vegan sushi joints that utilize mango and fancy black rice...

Enter the Sushi Roll Edamame Salad from Appetite for Reduction... this bad boy had it all. Sushi rice (which is what sushi really is), seaweed, carrots, cucumbers and delicious little pieces of avocado.  I was in heaven.  I really enjoyed the Green Onion-Miso Dressing that Isa suggested to put on it.  My only change would be to find the amazing ginger dressing that is on the house salads at sushi restaurants.

My son had inari and it came with a little packet of sesame seeds and freeze dried carrots and little bits of yumminess (that's a word right?!?).  This salad is a new favorite and will definitely be in my dinner or lunch rotations!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

For the past few weeks I have been seeing these cute little frozen banana bites on Facebook...

But who really stops to make them?  I have a ton of items pinned on Pinterest and have yet to make them.  Well I looked in my cupboard and I have the ingredients... 3 of them to be exact and went to work.

And they are amazing... I can't wait for my kids to try them.  They do take a little time to make but they are well worth it.  I did some chores while waiting for the bananas to freeze and listened to my favorite podcast while applying the chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

ripe bananas
1 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips
2 tbsp coconut oil

Chop the bananas into bite sized pieces.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet and freeze for an hour to 90 minutes.  Once the bananas are frozen place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals and stir until all the chips are melted.

Put a banana slice on a fork (or just throw them in one at a time in the chocolate) and use a spoon to cover in chocolate.  Slide them off the fork and back onto the parchment paper.  Freeze for a little while and them start eating!!

I just let mine sit in the freezer and pop them when I need a little sweetness!!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gnocchi + Seared Brussels Sprouts & Tarragon Cream

I love Brussels sprouts.  I have been making recipe after recipe with them and still never tire of them.  So when I found this recipe I decided... let's do this!

The original recipe from Isa Does It was for Sweet Potato Gnocchi... I unfortunately do not have great luck in making my own gnocchi.  I am more than willing to try it again but last night I just didn't feel like it.  I purchase some pre-made gnocchi and it was great... but it wasn't made from sweet potatoes.

I am assuming that the dish would be amazing with the correct gnocchi... as for me it was just ok.  I don't remember having made anything with tarragon (an herb I don't have or have ever had in my garden) so I was unaware of its flavor.  After stripping it from the leaves there was a strong licorice smell... and I love licorice.  As for this dish... it was not my favorite and I am on the fence as to whether or not I will make it again.

My husband loved it and was more than happy to eat it.  I have loved just about every dish from this book and want to try this again, with the correct gnocchi!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Vegan Holiday Cooking

I love being a part of the Blogging for Books program.  I have been reviewing mostly Christian books and love them.  But when they opened it up for other kinds of books I got really excited.  Especially when I came across a book called Vegan Holiday Cooking... and it was the Holidays.

This book covers just about every Holiday from Superbowl to Passover to Christmas.  I loved reading through these pages and seeing all the possibilities.  I started Christmas Eve with the Chopped Vegetable Salad (which was for Superbowl).  This is a great go to salad.  The dressing is full of flavor and it fooled my omnivore guests.  This salad can be mixed up with every topping you desire.  I served it like a buffet and let everyone choose their topping.  I was the only one who opted for the marinated Tofu Feta (which I figured would happen) and it was amazing.  I love this salad and will make it again.

For Christmas Day I brought the Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad to share with a group of hard core meat eaters.  And they loved it.  They great thing about this salad was the ingredients were easy to see and nothing that people don't already eat.  It was easy and simple and made for great leftovers.  Overall this is going in my rotation.

The last recipe I have tried (and certainly not the last) was the Vegetable Dumplings from the Lunar New Year section.  It was fun having my husband in the kitchen for this one.  We decided that our New Year's Eve would be a Chinese food theme... these fit perfectly.  They were a little difficult to assemble and I need to figure out how to cook them without them falling apart.  But the ones that held their own were yummy and delicious.  I even have some in the freezer for later this week.

Overall this is a great cookbook to add to my growing collection.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone, vegan or not.  It is fun to see all the possibilities that this cookbook can offer...

Christmas Tradition

Last year I started the tradition of making a homemade sweet bread for breakfast on Christmas morning.  Unlike my mom I didn't make my kids wait until the dough was done rising and the darn thing was done baking before presents could be opened.  Instead I made the cinnamon rolls and put them in the oven.  Once we were done opening presents the cinnamon rolls were done and everyone was happy...

And yet I wasn't.  In 2013 I made the cinnamon rolls from Happy Herbivore.  And my oldest decided to call them my famous cinnamon rolls.  I remembered them being yummy and delicious.  So I went back to them for 2014.  But they didn't turn out the same.  I was sad and it seemed to leave us all wanting more.  Every recipe I have tried from the Happy Herbivore I have loved... but I wanted ooey gooey buttery cinnamon rolls.  I didn't want whole-wheat fat-free.  If you want that type you can find it here.  I wanted to indulge on Christmas morning.

So I searched for a vegan cinnamon roll recipe to try.  And try it I did.  Yesterday my oldest son and I headed for the kitchen.  While he was more moral support than actual support, we still had fun.  These cinnamon rolls don't really use that much butter (well the vegan kind) but they are just what I wanted.  My youngest stated they taste like a churro... which is great for a 4 year old.  My husband loved them... basically my whole family did.

We have found a new favorite... while I want to make this exclusively on Christmas morning... it just might be made a few times throughout the year.

You can find the recipe on the Minimalist Baker website.

Happy New Year!!

As each new year starts we all say, I can't believe it is 2015 (or insert every other year of your life).  But this new year marks my first full year of being plant-based!  I am so thrilled that I made it through and determined to be without any animals products this year.

It is hard.  Hard making foods for a family that is omnivores.  Hard eating dinners with family members who, while they try to understand, just don't understand why you won't have a bite.  I never tried for perfection but each day that I fell I picked myself back up and tried again.

I had the occasional slice of cheese pizza at Costco (cheese is still hard for me) and I had the occasional sushi roll (my husband and my favorite place for date nights).  But that is ok.  It is ok at keep working toward a goal.  It is ok to stumble.  We just keeping trying each and everyday.

I don't make New Years Resolutions anymore.  I, like everyone else, tend to fail at them within the first week.  I don't want to set that kind of tone for the year.  I joined a gym in October is last year and so I don't have to worry about that.  I am vegan (plant-based) so my diet is pretty healthy.  My main goal is to take each day, stumble or not and try my best.

If you are starting down the plant-based/vegan road this year then I applaud you.  I applaud you for taking your health and diet (not the kind to loose weight but as in the food you eat).  I applaud you for putting compassion towards earthlings first.  While I am a plant-based/vegan for health reasons, I love love love that my eating to live does not include the suffering of animals.

Join me as I again try to make my blog and communication a daily, if not weekly practice.