Vegan Diaries – Green Bean and Mushroom Stir Fry

 

green bean stir fry

A good stir fry is an easy meal. Grab what’s in the fridge and toss it in a pan! Green beans are great in a stir fry. The trick is to make sure they are steamed for a few minutes before they hit the pan. They stay crisp and soak up flavor.

 

 

Ingredients

  • green beans 1/2 lb
  • onion roughly chopped
  • shitake mushrooms 1 c sliced
  • fresh garlic minced 2 cloves
  • fresh ginger 1 T
  • scallions chopped 3 stalks
  • sesame oil 2 T
  • soy sauce (or Tamari) 2 T
  • veggie stock 1/4 c
  • water 2 T
  • juice from one lemon

Preparation 

  1. Steam green beans for 2 minutes (you can also blanch them if steaming isn’t for you).
  2. Set green beans aside.
  3. Begin to saute the onions and garlic in a pan with the oil stir for two minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms, ginger and saute for three more minutes.
  5. Add the stock and soy sauce. Cook for three minutes until the liquid reduces by half.
  6. Add the green beans and scallions.
  7. Add water (if necessary).
  8. Add lemon juice.
  9. Cook for two more minutes and serve!
I had mine with a salad and carrot ginger dressing (my all time fave dressing, seriously. If I were 6 years old, I’d marry it)
That said, serving this over brown rice or quinoa would be tasty too.
Try a veggie stir-fry for friday instead of ordering take-out. It’s cheaper, tastier and better for you!

What’s in your favorite stir fry? 

Namaste y’all!!!

 

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Vegan Diaries – Roasted Cauliflower White Pumpkin and Leek Soup

Roasted-Cauliflower

I have such a feeling of gratitude over how I get to eat. The past few weeks opened my eyes. It may be what kept me from acting like a damn fool in the grocery store. Though I did pick up some dark chocolate, because I could. And some Pumpkin Ale. It’s fall, had to.

With Autumn on my mind I went to my local Shop-Rite. I many have mentioned but they have a local produce section. It’s not huge, but the prices are good, food is fresh and I’m supporting local farms. Hat trick. Not to mention the reduction of my carbon footprint. Extra 3 points. I know, I mixed my scoring comparisons. It’s all good.

Anyway- I left with:

  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Mini White Pumpkins (2)
  • Garlic

At home I pulled out

  • Olive oil
  • Veggie stock 3 cups
  • 2 fingerling potatoes

Preparation

  1. I cut the head of cauliflower in half. I’m saving the other half for tomorrow (chickpeas, eggplant and cauliflower curry- say what?!)
  2. I gave it a rough chop and then got to work on the leeks. I only used the light green and white part.
  3. I moved onto the potatoes. You could leave these out, I was looking for a creamier texture. It was a comfort food kind of day.
  4. After peeling three cloves of garlic I put the veggies in a roasting pan. I tossed them with a tablespoon of olive oil and some sea salt and pepper.
  5. The veggies roast for 30 minutes at 425°
  6. I transferred the mixture into a dutch oven (or you can use a soup pot of big pot)
  7. I added another tablespoon of olive oil and sautéed the mixture for about two minutes.
  8. In went the stock and I brought the mixture to a simmer for 20 minutes. (I added another 1/2 cup of broth- but water would do fine- it just looked like it would be too thick)
  9. Then- very carefully I transferred the soup to my blender. I don’t have a vitamix- but my blender still got the soup smooth.

It was all I hoped for. Creamy (without the dairy reprucussions- lactose intolerant), hearty and smoky because I added a pinch of smoked chipotle pepper on top.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

In other weird Wednesday news. I found this strange fact about soup (check the vid below). Enjoy.

Namaste y’all.

photo-12

Vegan Diary Confessions 21 Meals $35 (Days 13-14 and Final Thoughts)

Hummus-details

I’m really happy to get back to my old food shopping habits.

I wanted these recipes to be so much better than they were. But I found myself avoiding having to cook. It wan’t fun. This isn’t normally how I feel about food.

Cooking relaxes me. I enjoy preparing meals and breaking bread with friends. This wasn’t merely a a situation of having to make do with what I had because I hadn’t made it to the store. Unwittingly, I found out for a few short weeks of what it’s like to not have what you want or need.

Now don’t get me wrong, I in no way experienced what it is like for so many families to go without. But the malaise isn’t what I was expecting.

On the last two days I enjoyed ate my oatmeal for breakfast and had leftovers for lunch and hummus sandwich wraps for dinner.

This wasn’t the fun experiment I thought it would be. And the admission of this, makes me a little embarrassed. I realize now that I many have inadvenrtantly been trying to slum it- that makes me feel shitty because that wasn’t what I intended. Pema Chödrön says that everything we do is on the path to enlightenment. I figure this is a step in the right direction.

What I learned:

1. Eating healthy on near nothing is really hard.

2. That said (#1), you can find a healthier way to eat on near nothing. Frozen veggies, dried beans and and shopping the aisles of grocery stores provide opportunities to eat a healthy, tasty diet. It takes planning and some research (blogs and Youtube are GREAT help) but it can be done. Soup, yo. It’s the way to go. Soups and stews can be hearty, healthy and delicious. Better yet, they can be made in bulk, ahead of time and freeze well.

3. That is of course provided you don’t live in a food desert. I can’t help but wonder about the mixed message that we send to kids who live where fresh food isn’t easily available. We tell them about the food pyramid and send them home in neighborhoods that have nothing but fast food or in rural areas– nothing.

4. As a society, food deserts plague urban and rural environments. There are too many parts of the country where people are at least a mile away from a grocery store and don’t have a car.

5. It’s not hopeless. Communities can rally together to start food co-ops. Creating awareness about hunger through initiiaves like Hunger Action Month lets gets the message out. And lastly corporate citizens are stepping in to take responsibility. The CEO or Trader Joe’s is testing an idea that takes slightly expired food and bruised produce to the marketplace and deeply discounted prices. Food expiration dates ahve been debated because more often than not expiration date

I was reading an Old Rebelle wellness article that talked about the idea of Nutrition as an act of revolution.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

We should, no, we must realize that when parts of our country are hungry we are all hungry. There is too much food wasted and too many easy we can start to tackle this issue. This temporary change has permanently changed me. I cannot go back to thinking about food the way that I did.

Nutrition should be an act of revolution.

Check out this story from NPR. The CEO of Trader Joe’s is launching a test store that sells slightly bruised food and food that is past the expiration dates. Food will be sold at deeply discounted prices. Foods will also be prepared as meals and the most important part? It won’t be in a cushy ‘hood down the street from a Whole Foods, it will be in a neighborhood that needs it.

Bra-vo. Nutrition should be an act of revolution.

Namaste y’all.

Brussels Sprouts With Quinoa – Food Yoga

Derailed. My list is dust in the wind. That’s life though, right? Best laid plans and all that? Right now I have work to do and a hunger to quell.

Pish- no worries. In 20 minutes you too can prepare a tasty and nutritious meal for your family. This also allows you to play whatever music you want during dinner (see Annette Bening).

Ingredients

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Quinoa
  • Onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh oregano
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Gently pulse everything (except the lime juice) in your food processor.

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a dutch oven oven or pan
  3. Add sprouts mixture
  4. Add lime juice
  5. Gently saute for 2 minutes
  6. Fold in quinoa
  7. Gently saute for 3 minutes
  8. Remove from heat
  9. Slice cherry tomatoes
  10. All done!!!

Namaste y’all!!!

Vegan Diaries – 21 Meals, 35 Bucks (Days 6 and 7 and Recap)

Brussels sprouts with balsamic

This week didn’t turn out as I planned.

I wanted to repot that this was super easy and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be eating a yummy vegan life on the cheap.

It was hard. With my teaching schedule, practice, projects and the meager social life I try to have seamless transition aren’t the first words that jump out.

On Days 6 and 7 I grabbed a few apples for breakfast and lunch. I had soup on Day 6 and another hummus wrap on Day 7.

Dinners were easy and I think that was my biggest takeaway. Focus on one meal that will be the most satisfying. It doesn’t have to be the same meal, but one meal is the biggie nonetheless.

I’m an oatmeal girl when it gets cold so oatmeal that’s a no-brainer.

Other things that made me hmmm:

1. Beans. This is going to be another post. Dried beans are the way to go. Sure they take time to soak, but they are hella cheap. And frankly, my hummus is better with chick peas I’ve made myself. This is also due to Nadia Zerka’s recipe, but I can expand on that in the beans post. Back to my point, beans are a great way to get protein into a vegan diet. As I also read in a NYT food blog, they are back in fashion. Beans are the new black and all that.

2. Eating well on a budget is definitely possible, but it takes time. I’ve mentioned the pantry issue. My pantry is pretty well stocked. I’ve spices, grains and though I dumped a lot of condiments when I moved, I slowly building back my stash.

3. I’m also fortunate because I don’t live in a food desert. I have access to farmer’s markets and big grocery stores that have great prices on fresh food.

4. I enjoyed eating more and was more mindful because I knew it took time and thought to prepare something good in a budget.

Day 6

Breakfast

2 apples

Lunch

Dinner

Brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic over brown rice

This was very tasty. But I used balsamic, not on the list and from my pantry.

The recipe itself is super easy.

1. Toss Brussels sprouts in olive oil, chopped garlic, balsamic. Add salt and pepper.

2. Roast in a 425° oven for 25-30 minutes. Toss midway through cook time.

3. Serve over a bed of brown rice.

Day 7

Breakfast

Apples and hummus

Lunch

Leftovers from dinner.

Dinner

I skipped dinner which is a terrible idea, but by the end of the week I was low on groceries and wasn’t inspired to make anything. Next week I’m planning on making soup. This should take care of skipping dinner because nothing is handy.

So there you go. It was harder than I thought.

Stay tuned for week 2.

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – 21 Meals 35 Bucks (Days 2 and 3)

photo-5

The quality of food definitely matters.

 

 

 

Day 2

Breakfast

  • Apples and hummus

Lunch

  • Soup and a half serving of the kale with chickpeas

Dinner

  • Salad with sautéed green beans and quinoa

I seasoned the green beans with a splash of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary. This was DELISH and be in regular rotation. Fresh green beans would be very tasty, but the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s worked and are just what you need to cook dinner in a flash. All told this took under 20 minutes. At 1.11 per serving you can’t beat it.

 

Day 3

Breakfast

  • Banana

Lunch

  • Soup with leftover green beans and quinoa

Dinner

  • Burrito with groundless beef, greens, black beans and quinoa (leftover from day 2)

photo-6

 

Stay tuned for Days 4 and 5 as well as a end of week recap.

 

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries- Roasted Veggie Wrap

Make Sandwich Night a wrap! That’s right, a wrap! You don’t have to abandon the idea of sandwiches on Meatless Monday either! Roasted veggies wrapped in a tortilla are delicious.

Roasted veggies wraps are also perfect for satisfying the veg heads coming to your July 4 BBQ.

Here’s what I used to make mine!

Ingredients

  • Grilled mushrooms (marinated in Meyer lemon juice for 30 minutes)
  • Roasted orange and green peppers
  • Lettuce (I used arugula and a spring mix)
  • Grilled onions
  • Hummus
  • Fresh chopped oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I know I’m always preaching about Maldon flaked sea salt- but try it! Seriously, you’ll thank me)
  • Good quality balsamic
  • Olive oil

To assemble

  • Spread a little hummus on the wrap
  • Layer veggies
  • Drizzle balsamic/olive oil
  • Sprinkle chopped oregano
  • Salt & pepper
  • Roll!

I like to roast my peppers. The Chopping Block has a great video on how to roast your own!

Namaste y’all!

Vegan Diaries – Roasted Veggie Salad

 

Here’s a salad to boast about! On some nights the problem is finding something to make that won’t taste run of the mill but is idiot-proof.

 

The solution? Roasting and grilling!

 

Roasting and grilling brings sophistication to veggies. Broccoli for example is boring and waiting for dip or hummus when it’s raw, but after a drizzle of olive oil and some heat it becomes something altogether different (and exciting)!

 

I looked like a cartoon character with my head in the frig and giggling like a maniac as I pulled out vegetables. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, corn sailed overhead and landed on the granite counter top like astronauts ejected out of the space shuttle…

 

A great salad has fresh greens and a light dressing in order to savor the individual flavor of each ingredient. The result was just perfect.

Crusty bread is a nice addition.

There’s a local pizzeria that sells organic baguettes- I’m pretty sure it’s made with rosemary infused oil. The outside is textured and crusty without being too hard. When you break a piece off the inside is fluffy and dense at the same time. Amazing, right?! And when you take a bite, you inhale.

The rosemary wafts in your nose and then….you chew. 

I call it magic bread. 

Ooops sorry- I digress. But yeah, bread with the salad. Go for it. It’s tasty.

 

Ingredients 

  • Brussels sprouts (sliced in half)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (cut in 1 in. pieces)
  • Fresh corn (cut off of the ear)
  • 2 T olive oil (or non-stick spray)
  • 1/2 T oregano (dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

For the salad

  • Spring greens
  • Cucumbers (sliced)
  • Red onions (very, very thinly sliced)
  • vegan feta or regular feta cheese (optional)

 

For the dressing
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon Juice
  • Salt and pepper

 

Preparation
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450-475 ( or heat grill, or use a grill pan- see so many many ways to dress this up!)
  2. In a bowl coat vegetables with olive oil and spices
  3. Place vegetable on a cookie sheet
  4. Roast vegetables for 35-45 minutes checking them every ten minutes and turning them after 20 minutes
  5. Combine vegetables salad ingredients
  6. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil
  7. Add salt and pepper and toss

 

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – The Perfect Bite

guac cucumber
One bite of guacamole love

Hunger not necessity is the mother of invention. Home from yoga (and starving), I was jonesing for a tasty snack but it was late. On the counter I spied an avocado that was dangerously close to getting overripe. Nacho chips and guacamole sounded good. Nacho chips covered in cheese topped with guacamole and sour cream sounded better.

That’s not where this party is headed so sorry in advance. But I did discover something  tasty, refreshing and satisfying using guacamole. A guacamole amuse bouche.

Traditionally an amuse bouche is one bite appetizer served with wine and is comprised of specific elements to complement the wine. The phrase translates to ‘mouth amuser’. I say it translates to ‘fun for my mouth because it’s tasty’ or ‘the perfect bite’ or ‘one bite of love’. A sufficient picture I think is painted.

But what makes up a perfect bite? The door was open at the fridge and I’m looking for inspiration. Dakota in her furry cuteness walks over to see what’s up. Once she realizes that there is nothing for her- she’s out. I pulled out a cucumber and bell pepper that needed to be used. Not nachos to be sure but I remain focused on my snack mission.

Presto! Guacamole with veggies.

I wasn’t moved. I said it again this time with feeling.

Guacamole with veggies!!  Nada. Veggies are a poor replacement for nacho chips. But I really wanted guacamole. Aha. Brain storm.

I roasted the pepper on my stove top. (If you don’t feel like roasting your own pepper the kind in the jar will do but I prefer the freshly roasted flavor.) Simply put the burner on medium and plop the pepper on top. As long as the pepper doesn’t touch the flame it’s fine. Check it every 2 minutes and rotate. As soon as the skin is blackened place the pepper in an ice bath for 3 minutes. Remove the skin.

I put the pepper on a white towel to dry and made the guac.

Aside from being one of the best foods on the planet avocados have quite a few benefits. Avocados have anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory properties, contain lutein which is great for eye health, are high in oleic acid which has been shown to assist in preventing breast cancer and is a vitamin e powerhouse. I had now convinced myself that if I didn’t eat this guacamole I was somehow putting myself and the planet at risk. My urgency grew.

Traditional guacamole doesn’t have a ton of ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Juice from one lime for each avocado used
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion for each avocado used
  • 1/2 tomato for each avocado used
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic mashed and minced
  • 1 serrano chile chopped (careful and don’t put your hands in your eyes)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Take care not to mix the ingredients too much. There should still be some chunks of avocado. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to stop oxidation if you’re not using right away.

Then assemble your perfect amuse bouche:

  • Slice cucumbers into bite-sized pieces
  • Slice roasted red pepper in small pieces and place on top of the cucumber
  • Add a dollop of the guacamole

You are done. *

* If you’re entertaining and would like an even more grown-up version marinate the cucumber in some high quality tequila and lime juice before topping with the peppers amd guacamole. Or you can marinate the peppers in vodka for flavor. (You don’t have to be entertaining…)

Namaste y’all!