Tag Archives: vegan

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

Coconut Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
  2. Blend about 30 seconds until smooth
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Eggplant

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:

Eggplant Pizzas

Eggplant Pizza 2

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. After 20 minutes, wipe the eggplant clean with a dry paper towel, removing the salt and water.
  4. Place the eggplant slices on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until just tender.
  5. While the eggplant roasts, make the Moxerella.
  6. 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.
  7. Put eggplant under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown.
  8. Devour!

Note:  The Moxerella recipe is so easy.  I know it sounds weird and you probably think it won’t work, but trust me!

 

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

Eggplant Meatballs

These were delicious and held together really well.

Spaghetti w Eggplant Meatballs

 

Basil Roasted Eggplant with Heirlooms & Balsamic Drizzle

Basil Roasted Eggplant

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.

Basil Roasted Eggplant 2

 

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

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!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Combine milk, water, smashed banana and millet in a pot.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until millet is soft, stirring frequently.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree until about 1/2 of the mixture is smooth (or until your preferred consistency).
  4. 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.
  5. Drizzle with a touch more maple syrup when serving, if desired.

Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens

Corn Chowder Best

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

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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

SmokyMillet&PintoBeanPatties

This was our favorite recipe with millet this week.  This kids devoured these patties two at a time!  

Makes 10-12 patties

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Whisk the flax meal and warm water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Smoky Millet Pinto Bean Patties Plate

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?

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:

Deli Macaroni Salad

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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!

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Summer Veggie Tart

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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.

Zucchini Bread

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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.

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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!

Lentils!

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

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These held together really well!  I did end up having to add a bit more chickpea flour, but ultimately, it worked out great.

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Delicious and the kids ate them up too!

Lentil Grape Salad

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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)

Masoor Dal Tadka

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.

Cheeze Lentil Rice Bake

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

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Ingredients:

  • 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.

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Cilantro Lime Rice w/ Kale

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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.

 

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Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

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This was probably my favorite kale recipe this week.  At first we just enjoyed this with whole wheat crackers.  Yum!

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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!

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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!

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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?

 

Kale Chips

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.

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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?

 

 

All About Cantaloupe!

This week’s plant based ingredient is: Cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe is really nutritious, high in Vitamins C, A, several of the Bs and K.  It is also high in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

We eat a lot of cantaloupe in this house.  It’s a favorite of the kids and they like to eat it in bite-size cubes.  The beginning of the week almost always finds a container of cantaloupe cubes in the fridge.  A mere 2-3 days later and the kids have licked it clean.  While we did enjoy a good amount of plain cantaloupe cubes this week, I decided to see just what else this juicy orange fruit might be good for.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good in pasta, smoothies, salsa and even bread!

 

Orechiette w/ Cantaloupe and Avocado

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I left out the mozzerella and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  I loved it.  A perfect light summer meal.

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

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  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 frozen bananas

Blend.  Enjoy.

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Cantaloupe Quick Bread

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I was intrigued by a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it contained eggs, oil, white flour and 2 full cups of white sugar.  Yikes!  I didn’t think it would be too hard to veganize and I was right.  I replaced the oil with smashed banana and because of the sweetness of the banana, I was able to cut down the added sugar to only 1/2 cup of maple syrup.  I replaced the eggs with “flax eggs” and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  Here is the new, healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pureed cantaloupe
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the flaxmeal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease 2 9×5 loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flax eggs, smashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and cantaloupe puree.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture and combine, but do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from loaf pans and enjoy.

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This bread is delicious and just sweet enough.  It has gone great with my morning coffee as well as acting as dessert.  The kids all love it too!  You can’t really taste any cantaloupe flavor, however.  This quick bread would be a great use for that overripe cantaloupe you let sit on your counter for one too many days.

 

 

Cantaloupe Salsa

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I’m a huge fan of peach salsa, so when I came across this recipe for cantaloupe salsa, I knew I just had to try it.  It’s light and refreshing…perfect for a summer appetizer.  We ate it with tortilla chips, but if you are an omnivore, check out the link to see how the original recipe was paired.

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And now for an exceprt from my girls’ favorite book (for the moment anyway), What Color Is Your Apple?:

“Fruits and vegetables come in many colors.

Each one a yummy treat!

Red, orange, yellow, purple, green.

Crispy, crunchy, sweet!

What is your favorite color food to eat?”