Good evening, loyal followers. I have finally bitten the bullet and decided to buy my own domain. What this means for you? Nothing really. If you already subscribe to my blog, you don’t need to do anything. You will continue receiving all of my posts. If you go to look up my blog on your own, the new address is www.veggieinspiredjourney.com. No more wordpress in the name! Whoop! If you don’t subscribe and you want yummy plant based recipes, please click the subscribe button and enter your e-mail. And don’t forget to tell your friends! Thanks!
Coconut Berry Smoothie
We love smoothies in this house. I especially love them because they are quick and easy. On school days when we are running tight on time, it’s easy to throw a bunch of healthy ingredients into the blender. It’s also quick and easy to slurp down. It’s a great way to get a lot of nutrition and still get out the door on time.
Today we made a Coconut Berry Smoothie. The kids downed these in mere minutes and, of course, I thought it was pretty tasty too!
Coconut water is very hydrating and has an amazing amount of potassium. It also boasts plenty of electrolytes and minerals, making it a better choice than store bought sports drinks. Just be sure to buy coconut water with no added sugars or juices.
And I don’t think I have to tell you how nutritious berries are, right?
Coconut Berry Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries (I used Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Mixed Berry Blend)
- 1 cup Coconut Water (I used Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Coconut Water)
- 1 very ripe banana
- a few ice cubes if using fresh fruit
- Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
- Blend about 30 seconds until smooth
This week’s focus was on eggplant. This was an easy choice as our garden is overflowing with this glossy purple veggie. Just when I think we’ve gone through them all there are 3-4 more ready to harvest.
Eggplants have a decent amount of potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin and fiber. The skin of eggplant is edible and has been shown to have the potential ability to help prevent against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
The meaty flesh makes them hearty and filling. Try roasting or grilling thick slices for a “steak” the healthy way!
Here is how we enjoyed our eggplant this week:
- 1 eggplant, sliced into 3/4 inch slices
- 1 tbsp salt (for drawing out the liquid)
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp dried Italian seasonings
- 1 recipe Moxerella
- 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
- Place the eggplant slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 20 minutes to draw out the liquid.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After 20 minutes, wipe the eggplant clean with a dry paper towel, removing the salt and water.
- Place the eggplant slices on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until just tender.
- While the eggplant roasts, make the Moxerella.
- When eggplant is done roasting, top each slice with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce, a few dollops of Moxerella and a sprinkling of Italian seasonings.
- Put eggplant under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown.
Note: The Moxerella recipe is so easy. I know it sounds weird and you probably think it won’t work, but trust me!
These were delicious and held together really well.
Basil Roasted Eggplant with Heirlooms & Balsamic Drizzle
This was my favorite recipe of the week!! I am a fan of anything with vinegar. I did not use the honey called for in this recipe. I like the balsamic to stand on its own. My eggplants were on the smaller side. One half would make a great appetizer or salad course for a dinner party, a light lunch on it’s own or, if you are like me, you’ll eat 3 of these halves and call it dinner. If you have bigger eggplants, you can slice each half into quarters for more manageable serving sizes.
Eggplant seems to be one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. Obviously, I love it! Where do you stand?
Millet 4 Ways
This week millet was on the menu in several different ways. Millet is a gluten free whole grain and is comprised of 15% protein. In addition to protein, millet is high in fiber, magnesium and phosphorus. It is a versatile grain that can be used similarly to rice. Here is how we enjoyed millet this week:
Creamy Millet Porridge
I told my kids I made oatmeal when they asked, “What’s for breakfast?” Sometimes a new name will throw them off and they’ll decide they don’t like it right then and there. I took the safe route. They gobbled this up and had seconds!
- 1 1/2 cups millet, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups non dairy milk (I used Rice Milk)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 over-ripe banana, smashed
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
- Additional 1/4-1/2 cup non dairy milk
- Combine milk, water, smashed banana and millet in a pot. Bring to a boil.
- Turn down heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until millet is soft, stirring frequently.
- Using an immersion blender, puree until about 1/2 of the mixture is smooth (or until your preferred consistency).
- Turn off heat. Add maple syrup and strawberries and mix until blended. Add the additional 1/4-1/2 cup milk to get the creamy porridge consistency.
- Drizzle with a touch more maple syrup when serving, if desired.
Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens
I was halfway into this recipe yesterday when I realized I never went to the farm down the road to get the fresh sweet corn I had planned on getting. Oops! Frozen corn kernels it was! Although this was yummy, it would have been so much better with fresh from the farm corn! I added lots of smoked paprika too because I just love that stuff!
Tofu Chickpea Stir-fry w/ Millet
I love anything with a tahini sauce and this did not disappoint. If you are used to your stir-frys over rice or noodles, give millet a try for a change. It really soaks up the sauce. My picky daughter and my son didn’t care for this, but my other daughter really liked it, as did my hubby (which happily surprised me! He even ate leftovers the next night….wow!)
Smoky Millet Pinto Bean Patties
This was our favorite recipe with millet this week. This kids devoured these patties two at a time!
Makes 10-12 patties
- 1/2 of a small red onion
- 4 scallions
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups pinto beans (or 1 can)
- 1 1/2 cups millet, cooked
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch of cayenne
- a few shakes of liquid smoke
- 1/4-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp flaxmeal
- 6 tbsp warm water
- Whisk the flax meal and warm water in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor combine red onion, scallions, carrots, celery, pinto beans, millet, thyme, parsley, smoked paprika, cayenne, and liquid smoke. Pulse until combined and fairly smooth, but leaving a few pieces chunkier. Turn out into a mixing bowl.
- Re-whisk the flax and water mixture. It should be thick and egg-like consistency now. Add to your bean/millet mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add 1/4-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, depending on the consistency of the mixture. You want it to hold together like a burger, so get it there with your hands. If it feels too wet, add a little more bread crumbs.
- Fry these up on the stove top in a skillet over medium heat. I have an awesome non-stick skillet that requires NO oil for browning. You may need 1 tsp or so of oil if your pan is not as awesome. Cook 4-5 minutes per side.
M liked these with BBQ sauce, C and K ate them with ketchup. I made a mix of Vegenaise, ketchup and mustard. You won’t miss the meat on a plate like this!
And, yes, I’m trying some new editing tools for my pictures. As much as I love photography, I usually still shoot in Auto. I am hoping to learn a lot more in the near future and improve the pictures on this blog!! I love that stacked picture of the millet patties. What do you think?
The Lively Lunchbox
I’m excited to introduce a new blog of mine that I just started yesterday: The Lively Lunchbox. This blog will feature lunches that I send with my 6 year old to 1st grade. Please note, these are not strictly vegan. While my kids do eat mostly vegan, I do not restrict any food groups from them. The lunches will be heavy on the fruits/veggies/carbs, but you will find all food groups there. I know a lot of us who enjoy the plant based lifestyle ourselves are still living with family members who don’t. If this describes you and you would like some healthy lunchbox ideas for your kids this school year, please follow me at The Lively Lunchbox. Thanks!
Veggie Inspired Journey will continue to feature only vegan recipes. I have a post coming up soon that will be all about a grain many of you probably haven’t tried yet. Stay tuned…
What to do with all that summer zucchini…
If you are anything like me, you find yourself with an over abundance of zucchini somewhere in the middle of summer. It’s high in fiber and low in calories. It’s mild taste lends itself well to almost anything from stirfrys to sweets. Along with zucchini’s antioxidant properties, you will find folate, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C among the health benefits.
Here are a few ways we enjoyed our zucchini last week:
By far our favorite pasta salad for picnics or potlucks. Read my original post about this delicious vegan macaroni salad here. I change it up a little every time I make it to incorporate the veggies I already have on hand. This time I omitted the peas and added shredded zucchini instead. And I always double the amount of veggies. Yum!
I admit I melted a tiny bit of mozzarella on one half for the hubby and kids. My half was cheese free. This was great. I served it with a big salad made of green leaf lettuce, spinach, red pepper strips, fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette.
Who doesn’t love zucchini bread? This one did not disappoint. Sweetened only with dates, it’s super healthy. I love the addition of the nutmeg.
Roasted Zucchini with Thyme
We also enjoyed zucchini simply roasted with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. I didn’t take a photo of this, but you know what roasted veggies look like, right? Hubby and I probably enjoy them best this way. Easy and flavorful.
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together and place on baking sheet in one even layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is just tender. We like it best with a little bit of bite left. Enjoy!
Kids LOVE Red Bell Peppers!
This week was all about red bell peppers. To be honest, every week is all about red bell peppers. The kids just love them. M’s lunchbox last year had raw red bell pepper strips on average 4 out of 5 days. We eat them raw, sauteed in a stir fry, grilled in fajitas, wrapped up in a tortilla, roasted in dips and spreads and the list goes on and on.
Bell peppers just happen to be one of hubby’s favorite foods as well. His favorite recipe growing up (and still to this day) is pepper steak. His mom makes an awesome recipe using red bell peppers instead of green.It’s a nice change and works so well. That recipe contains beef steak, but you can try it using tempeh or seitan instead…or just lots of meaty mushrooms.
Red Bell Peppers are incredibly high in Vitamin C. Just one cup has over 150% of your daily needs. Vitamin A and a few of the B’s are also found in decent amounts in these red beauties. Red Bells also have plenty of antioxidants and anti-cancer benefits.
Peppers of all kinds are super easy to grow at home. My green bells, jalapeno and banana peppers are all doing so great this year. I kept waiting and waiting for my red bells to appear. Upon closer inspection….I forgot to buy a red bell plant. UGH! No wonder they weren’t growing. 🙂
Here is how we enjoyed our red bell peppers this week:
The girls and I really liked this. Hubby and son thought it was just ok. The sauce is creamier than a tomato based sauce. You could always add a little veggie stock to thin it out if you like…or maybe just leave out the cornstarch. And, if you are in a time crunch, feel free to cheat and use roasted red peppers from a jar instead of charring your own.
I have made these several times, usually for an appetizer for a party. They are always a hit! They also make a great lunch for the littles. Easy for little hands to pick up and a nice change from the everyday PB&J.
It also makes a great lunch for a grown up…just cut in half as a wrap instead of slicing into bite size pieces.
I replaced the hummus in this recipe with the leftover bean spread from the Veggie Tortilla Rollups (see recipe link above) and it was delicious. I’m sure the hummus would be great too, I just wanted to use up what we had. Little did I know I would be making hummus the next day anyway. 🙂
I served it up with a side of fresh sweet corn bought at the famers market that morning. Can’t go wrong there! Kids and hubby all loved this as well!
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
This is so easy. I just use my favorite hummus recipe and add a roasted red bell pepper (again, you can cheat and use jarred…I won’t tell!)
- 1-2 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Hummus will thicken when refrigerated. Enjoy with raw veggies, pretzels, crackers, pita chips or a spoon!
Is anyone growing red bell peppers in their garden? How do you use them? Share with me in the comments section!!
This week’s ingredient was lentils because I use them ALL THE TIME. I love them and they are so versatile. Lentils are part of the legume family and are high in B vitamins (especially folate), fiber, iron and protein (18g in 1 cup). Lentils can help to stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy and keep you feeling full.
I often use lentils in place of ground meat when “veganizing” a recipe. They are great in sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, bolognese, burgers, salads, soups, etc.
Here are a few ways we ate our lentils this week:
Red Lentil Cauliflower Burgers
These held together really well! I did end up having to add a bit more chickpea flour, but ultimately, it worked out great.
Delicious and the kids ate them up too!
I have been making this salad since long before I decided to eat plant based. It is one of my favorites for potlucks, BBQs or just a big crowd. The original recipe calls for honey and feta cheese. You can sub agave or raw sugar for the honey and just leave out the feta. If you are a salt person (I am not), you may want to add some extra salt to make up for the lack of feta. Maybe use salted roasted walnuts instead of raw…or maybe add some olives (no idea if that would work, I despise olives, but they would definitely add that salty flavor).
Massor Dal Tadka (Pink Lentil Stew)
I love lentil soups and stews of all kinds. I actually wasn’t sure about this one going in. I usually would chop my garlic very fine…not generally a big fan of bigger garlic slices. And I was worried about the spice level. I did use a jalapeno instead of a Serrano because I have an abundance of them in my garden. I LOVED this! I wish I would have doubled the recipe because I ate the whole thing (myself) in one day. The garlic melts right into the soup and you can’t taste any bits of it or the cumin seeds (another worry I had). It all just blended so nicely and the seasoning was perfect, not spicy.
Sadly, I did not photograph this one. I’ve made it at least 5 times now over the past year and I have not one picture. Wha? But, just trust me, you will love this. My kids all love it too! In fact, recently, I’ve been doubling the recipe cause we end up eating all the whole thing in one sitting.
In other news: I am super excited that I have been accepted as a recipe tester for Vegan Richa. She is a vegan food blogger and working on a new Indian cookbook. Obviously, I can’t share any recipes with you, but I may post up some pics every now and then about what I’ve been testing. I’ve already made a few very tasty dishes!! FYI: two of the recipes I made this week with lentils were from her blog and I didn’t do that on purpose; I had them on the menu before I even knew of the recipe testing opportunity. I just really like her food!
Kale: Versatile and Nutritious
This week is all about Kale in our house. We grow it in our garden and we are never lacking. It’s super easy to grow. It does well in high and low temps, humid or not, lots of rain or draught…this veggie is hard to mess up.
Kale was quite the “trendy” veggie among the health conscious for several years and now “they” seem to be trending away from it. However, you can’t deny the health benefits of this green goddess. Kale is considered a superfood for many reasons. It is incredibly high in Vitamin K, A and C. It also boasts lots fiber, iron, calcium, folate and magnesium. In fact, per calorie, kale is higher in iron than beef and higher in calcium than dairy milk. Kale is high in antioxidants and can reduce your risk for many different cancers, including breast and prostate.
Kale is very versatile. You can add it to just about anything from smoothies and dips to casseroles, soups and pastas. I often use it interchangeably with cabbage…it is part of the cabbage family after all.
Here are a few of the kale recipes we enjoyed this week:
Kale Grapefruit Smoothie
- 1 extra ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen
- 1/4 – cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or more depending on desired consistency)
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 red grapefruit, peeled and seeded
- 2-3 cups kale, ribs and stems removed
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend for a couple minutes until smooth. Add more almond milk if your smoothie is too thick.
I added mushrooms to the kale mixture. It would have been great just like this before even adding the rice! The original recipe served it alongside a filet of salmon, which obviously I did not do. So, just make sure to leave out the directions for that if you check out the recipe.
Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
This was probably my favorite kale recipe this week. At first we just enjoyed this with whole wheat crackers. Yum!
Then, I whipped up a grilled cheeze on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread. I spread a little Earth Balance on the outside of the bread, slathered on a good amount of this kale hummus on the inside and topped it with a Daiya cheddar slice and the other slice of bread and seared until golden brown. No, not the healthiest thing around, but it was yummy!
Since the grilled cheeze was such a hit, I decided to try a vegan version of a BLT. I toasted up two slices of Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, slathered on the kale hummus (instead of lettuce), topped with 4 slices of Tofurkey Tempeh Bacon (seared for a few minutes in a pan) and tomatoes. This was super yummy as well!
I also think this kale hummus would be great thinned out just a bit and mixed with pasta or rice. How else would you use it?
Last, but not least, what kale story would be complete without kale chips? This is by far the easiest recipe I have come across. I have tried “cheezy” kale chips too and they are great, but I thought I would keep it simple here. These only take 15 minutes in the oven and a couple minutes of prep before that. Super easy, super crunchy.
There are so many more yummy ways to use kale. I LOVE to throw a few handfuls into soups in the fall/winter. And a cupful in almost any smoothie won’t be tasted but will up the nutritional benefit.
How do you like to eat your kale?
My First Guest Post: Meal Planning
Good morning, all! I’m excited to announce that I wrote my first guest post. It’s all about meal planning. Each Monday, Holly of My Plant Based Family posts her own meal planning ideas. During the month of July, she is posting meal plans and ideas from other bloggers. All recipes and meal plans are plant based and vegan. I am thrilled to be a part of it! You can find my post on her blog TODAY. Check it out HERE.