Meatless Monday – Confessions Dressed with a Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

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Meatless Monday was on hiatus primarily because I was over thinking it. Stymied and frustrated I wallowed in self-pity because I wasn’t creating recipes that I deemed ‘blog-worthy’. Then I called bullsh*t on myself.

The thing I loved about Meatless Monday was that it was supposed to be easy and fun, Part of living a mindful life in being in the moment and accepting what is. I stopped doing this when it came to posts. This week I decided throw myself into the fire and whip up whatever I had handy.

This was inspired by a book I love, Culinary Artistry its a cooking concept book that talks about flavors and the science behind what foods and spices marry well. I’m not a cook who loves to follow a recipe to the letter, so this appealed to me. The result is what is this week’s Meatless Monday recipe.

The farmers market had asparagus on the cheap. In my fridge I spied a head of cauliflower, capers, lemons and spring greens.

Warm Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad with a lemon caper vinaigrette

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Asparagus
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Capers (2 ounces with juice)
  • 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
  • 1 TSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • handful parsley chopped
  • one small onion sliced

 

Directions

  1. Steam florets and asparagus for two minutes until just tender.
  2. Quickly sauté veggies with garlic and sliced onions for three minutes with one tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Plate veggies on spring mix and dress with vinaigrette.

For the Vinaigrette

  1. Whisk shallots, mustard, lemon juice, capers, remaining olive oil and parsley

 

 

 

It was easy and delish. Next time I might add quinoa or brown rice or mushrooms for some heft, but a really big serving of this left me very satisfied.

Sometimes you have to step away from something to know you really want it.

Happy Meatless Monday!!!

Namaste y’all.

 

 

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Meatless Monday – Comfort Food Lightened Up

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Today was rainy and chilly. I love a warm meal on a cold evening. But it doesn’t have to be loaded down with things that aren’t good for you. I took a variety of cubed squashes and golden beets tossed them with greens and some homemade dressing and had a great dinner that was satisfying.

Ingredients

  • Mix of your favorite root veggies – I used butternut, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot and golden beet
  • Olive Oil mister (
  • Fresh spices your choice (I used sage and thyme)
  • Salt & fresh black pepper
  • Salad greens- (use the beet greens too! )

Salad Dressing

  • This is my basic salad dressing recipe and I love it.
  • Olive oil
  • Quality balsamic
  • Dash of honey
  • Dollop of dijon mustard
  • Garlic**
  • Splash of soy sauce (this is the secret umami ingredient)
  • Blend or whisk everything*

* To save time I make my salad dressing in my wooden salad bowl and then toss with everything. I also cuts down on having to wash one more thing. I know. Lazy yogi.

** Rub a clove of garlic around the wooden salad bowl a few times for some flavor. (I learned this from a now cancelled cooking show Master Chef)

Happy Meatless Monday!!

Namaste y’all.

Kale Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Kale Chickpea Salad

I had kale, chickpeas and onions and a jar of tahini dressing I scored from Food 52.

May I present one of the easiest weeknight dinners.

 

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas – one can
  • Kale – 3/4 lb finely chopped
  • Garlic – 3 cloves minced
  • Red onion – thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup liquid (your choice I used lemon juice and veggie broth)
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin – large pinch
  • Dried coriander or cilantro (really whatever is handy)
  • Lemon juice – one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Prepare chickpeas in pot. Add cumin, a smidge (splash) of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook chickpeas until liquid is almost gone.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Sauté garlic, cilantro  and onions until translucent.
  4. Add kale, liquid and sauté until kale is cooked through.
  5. Toss with chickpeas.
  6. Garnish with dollop of tahini dressing

Easy and tasty. It’s not a huge meal, but after the holidays it’s nice to have a light, warm meal.

 

Hope you enjoy!

 

Namaste y’all.

2015 ‘The Year of Living Mindfully’

zen proverb

Happy New Year!

I’m dubbing 2015 the year of living mindfully. 

What does it mean to live a mindful life? It’s not about being serene or having an unrealistic vision of a state of constant peace. Living mindfully is about living in the moment- it’s about staying aware and present. When we can be with what is happening and allow things to be as they are, we can be open to anything. Maybe it’s making a change. Maybe it’s being more connected with other people. Maybe it’s simply a way to find a sense calm.

This year, I’ll be posting about meditation, therapeutic yoga and mindful eating. In addition stay tuned for videos and podcasts about living in the present moment. Each month with have a theme and focus.

I’m not just talking about something to do for the month of January, I’m talking about taking small steps to change your life- forever. I hope you’ll join me.

The journey begins January 12!!!

Happy New Year.

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Butternut Squash with Kale Quinoa Sauté

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Happy Meatless Monday!!! I saw a recipe on MindBodyGreen for a warm kale quinoa salad and was inspired to mix it up and do my own!

Squash is a delicious, satisfying comfort food; combined with kale, quinoa and warm spices it makes a perfect meatless meal.

This recipe is simple and makes a perfect Tuesday lunch.

Ingredients

  • Butternut squash (cubed)
  • Kale one pound roughly (chopped)
  • Onion – one medium (diced)
  • Peppers (your choice) chopped
  • Garlic – minced
  • Lemon – juiced
  • Veggie broth – 1/4 cup
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Cumin 1/2 tablespoon
  • Ginger – one tablespoon (grated)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Quinoa- one cup cooked

Directions

  1. Place squash on a cookie sheet- dust with paprika, cumin and coat with olive oil.
  2. Roast squash at 350° for 25 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent.
  4. Add peppers and sauté for another five minutes.
  5. Add kale, ginger, lemon juice and broth. Sauté for another eight minutes until kale is tender.
  6. Toss squash, quinoa and kale in a bowl.

Serve immediately.

 

Namaste y’all!!!

 

 

Meatless Monday – Easy Peasy Pasta

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From the guardian:

Curbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change, according to a new report. But governments and green campaigners are doing nothing to tackle the issue due to fears of a consumer backlash, warns the analysis from the thinktank Chatham House.

The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming.

“Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little,” said Rob Bailey, the report’s lead author. “A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people’s lives and tell them what to eat.”

 

I’m not the government and I certainly am not interested in telling you what to heat. But….if you are interested in finding an alternative to meat even one day out of the week, keep reading!

Pasta is an easy meal and fresh pasta cooks up faster than dry and has a fresh taste! To create the meal in the photo I roasted some veggies and sautéed a few more, tossed the whole thing with lemon, olive oil et voila!

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • Cherry tomatoes (2 pints, sliced in half)
  • Eggplant (cubed)
  • Garlic (1/2 bulb, unpeeled)
  • Fresh spinach (one bunch, chopped)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Basil (two teaspoons, dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon (one whole, juiced)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh pasta for 4-6 people

Directions

  1. Toss tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil, basil, salt, pepper and place in roasting pan. place garlic in roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil until covered.
  2. Roast in preheated 375º oven and roast for 25-35 minutes.
  3. While veggies are roasting prepare pasta water. Remember fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook. Also sauté spinach and onions in a pan with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. When the veggies are finished remove them and place them on a large serving platter.
  5. Cook the pasta, drain and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh oregano and black pepper.
  6. Serve immediately!!

Mange!!

Namaste y’all.

 

Meatless Monday – Spinach Mushroom Soup!

 

spinach mushroom soup

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

There’s nothing like a cup of soup to set the world right. There are so many great things about soup:

  • It can be an entire meal
  • It can be rich and creamy
  • It can be slim and lean
  • It freezes well

This recipe was inspired by Veggie Belly! The trick of adding a pinch of baking soda to keep the spinach green.

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Spinach is delicious and so good for you. It has a healthy dose of vitamin A and is known for being high in iron. Remember Popeye the Sailor who got his super strength from spinach? Well, brain pickings.org had some interesting information about the cartoon hero. I always wondered why he ate so much spinach…

 

Popeye, with his odd accent and improbable forearms, used spinach to great effect, a sort of anti-Kryptonite. It gave him his strength, and perhaps his distinctive speaking style. But why did Popeye eat so much spinach? What was the reason for his obsession with such a strange food?

The truth begins more than fifty years earlier. Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, von Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach by an order of magnitude. While there are actually only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, the accepted fact became 35 milligrams. To put this in perspective, if the calculation were correct each 100-gram serving would be like eating a small piece of a paper clip.

Once this incorrect number was printed, spinach’s nutritional value became legendary. So when Popeye was created, studio executives recommended he eat spinach for his strength, due to its vaunted health properties. Apparently Popeye helped increase American consumption of spinach by a third!

– Via brainpickings.org

 

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Ingredients

  • olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • onions – 1/2 cup chopped
  • garlic cloves – 2 peeled and minced
  • potatoes – 1 cup peeled, diced
  • spinach – 4 cups tightly packed fresh, tender  leaves
  • fresh oregano – 2-3 sprigs  (or freshly dried oregano)
  • baking soda – A pinch of  optional
  • button cap mushroom tops – 15 large
  • dried mushrooms – 2-3 soaking in 4 cups of hot water (for at least 30 minutes)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation 

  1. Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups mushroom water.
  6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potato cubes are cooked.
  7. Add washed spinach leaves, oregano and salt to the pot (keeping in mind you’ve already added a little salt to the soup in the previous stage).
  8. Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional.
  9. Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted.
  10. Turn off the heat. Using a hand/immersion blender, puree the soup till smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a regular blender and carefully puree. If the soup is too thick, add ½ cup water and blend again.
  11. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

It’s soup yoga!!!

Sometimes you have to hold it around your hands and take a big warm sip.

 

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Whole Wheat Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon

Pasta and Tomatoes

“When bananas blush, they turn brown, not red. And when tomatoes blush, you’ve probably said something really naughty.”
― Jarod Kintz99 Cents For Some Nonsense

 

Tomatoes are versatile delicious. Why not make them them the star of your Meatless Monday dish? Roasted tomatoes with pasta is simple, elegant and scrumptious. Since you are only using a few ingredients- don’t skimp and go for quality especially when it comes to the tomatoes and pasta.

 

Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs tomatoes halved
  • One bunch of basil
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves with the peel on
  • Freshly shredded cheese (optional)
  • Quality flaked sea and and fresh black pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • Whole wheat pasta- I used fresh whole wheat. But there are many great quality dry pastas that aren’t too expensive

 

 

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees . Stem the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. 
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and garlic. Separate one bulb of garlic and place 4 cloves still with peel on parchment, soak peel with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast the tomatoes until caramelized, about 20 minutes more. 
  3. Turn off the oven and leave the tomatoes inside for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely. 
  4. Remove garlic from oven and peel
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  6. While pasta is cooking chop a handful of fresh basil (thyme would also work nicely)
  7. Squeeze juice from one whole lemon mix and with peeled garlic using a fork. Set aside
  8. When pasta is done drain and toss pasta, tomatoes (include and juicy oil from roasting pan), lemon garlic mash and basil.
  9. Top with fresh black pepper and shredded parm or piave vecchico or don’t use cheese to keep it vegan.
  10. Serve with salad and crusty bread!!!

 

Namaste y’all!!

Meatless Monday- Meatless Meatballs!!!!

 

 

 

meatless meatballs

Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I must confess when I first thought about doing tofu meatballs I was skeptical. I’m not big on foods that try to be meat. You can’t call a carrot a burger, I won’t be duped. But always one to try anything once I plunged ahead and made these.

Yummalicious. Seriously. What they need is a publicist. Tofu meatballs just doesn’t work and Seasoned Tofu balls is just as absurd, but I digress. The Book of Yum had a recipe that was easy to prepare. The Book of Yum is a great blog dedicated to gluten-free vegetarian cooking.

  • 2 lbs firm tofu, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • one egg or egg substitute
  • generous amounts of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated vegan or regular cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup soy or regular yogurt whisked well
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, made in a food processor (I used panko)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • more freshly ground pepper
  • 2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Slice tofu horizontally and wrap in kitchen towels and put a cutting board on top of the wrapped tofu. Put something on top of the cutting board, like a pot, for additional weight. Leave it to drain for 20 minutes. Then wrap it in a clean thin cotton dishtowel, knead it and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.
  3. Knead the tofu in a large bowl for five minutes and then add the garlic, green onions,  salt, pepper, and cheese. Knead it for another few minutes. Whisk the egg and work it into the tofu dough.
  4. Combine the ground bread crumbs, spices and pepper in a large flat bowl or pie pan. Make small, walnut-sized balls out of the tofu dough and roll each ball in the dough.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast-iron pan on medium and fry your tofu meatballs on each side until golden brown.
  6. Top the tofu with some cheese and cook in the oven for abut 3 minutes

You could serve with a marinara and have a hero or hoagie because I’m from NJ and that’s what they are. I mean that’s what they should be called everywhere, because I’m from NJ and that’s how we roll.

I had mine on a salad.  I also roasted a slice of red onion and orange bell pepper drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

Namaste y’all.