Saturday, August 9, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

My last meal before getting my wisdom teeth out is one of my go-to easy meals: jasmine rice steamed with spinach (stir it in after cooking until it wilts), cubed farmer's cucumbers, sliced avocado, two eggs over easy (with garlic and smoked paprika in the yolks) and miso horseradish kimchi. I would also usually add a good amount of sriracha on top, and any other vegetables I have on hand.

Here's everything I prepped before my wisdom teeth surgery because I knew that I wouldn't feel like cooking much afterwards: frozen blueberries (local and organic from the farm), bananas, and fresh frozen watermelon for smoothies; my favorite Greek-style coconut milk yogurts; homemade chocolate coconut ice creamGF vegan roasted red pepper "mac"; organic cinnamon apple sauce; golden potato soup with extra nooch, smoked paprika and blended until it was basically liquid; Moroccan lentil soup. I'll probably also make some mashed potatoes with this easy GF V country gravy too.

This watermelon frosty is probably the best thing ever for sore, tender gums. Just be sure to freeze some fresh watermelon before your surgery! Or, if you're just a normal person, add tequila and call it a daiquiri. Sadly I could not add booze this time, but I will next time!

One of the first things I cooked a few days after my procedure was mashed white beans with garlic, spinach + lemon. As you can see, I mashed mine until they were practically liquid. These were so delicious and easy to make that I ate the entire skillet in one sitting. I'd love to make these again with a side of rice or roasted potatoes. Also, it takes less than 10 minutes, so it's a great weeknight meal!

Anddd more soft food. Seeing a pattern here? I was sort of confused when my dental surgeon told me to start eating normal food the day after my surgery. My only advice is to slowly build up to eating normally. Don't eat a potato chip three days after. I did lots of chewing after my procedure and now, about a week and two days later, I can eat anything, but I am still being cautious. Anyways, this was a lovely tofu scramble with tomatoes and lots of spices (minus the spinach) and a baked potato with smoked paprika and vegan butter. I am sort of obsessed with smoked paprika because it makes everything taste like bacon! But this scramble is fast, delicious, and full of flavor.

Work smoothie: 3 frozen bananas, orange juice + matcha powder.

Recently, my blogger friend Kara gave me The Heart of the Plate in a giveaway. I read the book constantly after my procedure and was completely in love. This book is immaculate and incredibly creative. Almost every recipe is vegan, if not easily adapted to be vegan. I can't wait to cook my way through it, and I started with something mushy (obviously): golden lentils with soft, sweet onions. I've been eating these for days and I'm not sick of it yet. I served mine with brown rice, and later some chopped local tomatoes. It would be wonderful with a balsamic reduction and a fried egg, or even balsamic roasted tofu/chickpeas on top. I love this book because it gives you "Enhancements" for each recipe: things to add to make it different from the first time you made it, or to make it extra special. I can't wait to continue sharing things I make from this book! Thank you again Kara!

Have you heard of this new craze called banana ice cream? Well, you better get on it. I can't share this recipe because it's from the cookbook I'm testing for, but just google "banana ice cream" and you will get tons of results. It's easy, healthy, creamy, and tastes like ice cream! And: no ice cream maker required! I added sprinkles to mine, which was inspired by this recipe for cake batter banana ice cream

Another recipe from the cookbook I'm testing: an anti-inflammatory smoothie with blueberries, green tea and turmeric! 

I got tired of mushy things, eventually, so I settled on making these vegan sweet potato + spinach quiches to take to work this week. These are delicious! My mom was convinced that they contained eggs. They were also fairly easy to pull together and didn't require any crazy ingredients/prep. I can't wait to try the broccoli cheddar version too, but I will be subbing nutritional yeast for the Daiya cheddar. I'll share that photo when I do so!

Well, I was almost in the clear for having a great surgery and recovery. Yesterday I woke up with an infection in one of my extraction sites, which is all thanks to me. Kids: learn how to use your irrigation syringe properly. I used mine after I ate anything, but wasn't going deep enough. That leads to nasty, incredibly painful infections and more antibiotics. Hooray! Lesson learned. If you're really unsure, here's a great video that helped me do it the right way. After all the soup I ate post surgery, I'm still not tired of it (somehow), so I made Isa's alphabet soup with a few changes: I used this pasta, subbed in 2 tsp herbes de Provence in place of the thyme/tarragon, and I used frozen edamame in place of the frozen peas. This is legit alphabet soup. The real deal. It tastes a million times better than anything from a can. So go and make some! This is definitely my new go-to "feeling crappy" soup.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This is an extra-long post because I am posting all of the things I've eaten before my wisdom teeth surgery, which is in two days! This blueberry cobbler smoothie will probably be perfect after I get my teeth out too, even though I made this last week. This smoothie is super easy, lemony and delicious! I've been using a lot of my local blueberries as much as possible lately, which I'm storing in the freezer.

I made Kara's delicious vegan omelette last week, which I stuffed with a smoky balsamic mushroom and spinach filling. I love how ridiculously filling these vegan omelettes are and they only have a few ingredients, minus the fillings! It kept me full for more than a few hours. For the filling: I just sauteed some thinly sliced cremini mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil until lightly browned. Then I added a heavy splash of balsamic vinegar and a few drops of liquid smoke, then stirred in some chopped spinach, until everything is soft and flavorful!

Probably my favorite recipe I've tested for the cookbook: spicy almond butter noodles with edamame, ribbons of cucumber and carrots, steamed broccoli and peanuts.

Another delicious blueberry smoothie! This one has vegan yogurt and GF rolled oats for some extra sustenance. 

I made some very flavorful deviled eggs as a snack last week using sriracha, hard-boiled egg yolks, some vegan mayo and leftover homemade garam masala hummus. I then topped each one with a Thai basil leaf. These were amazing!

I LOVE trying new variations on Caesar dressings, and this one from Veganomicon is incredible because it's made with silken tofu and finely processed almonds. The best part of this salad was definitely the roasted garlic croutons, which I made GF by using Udi's GF whole-grain bread. I also added chopped cucumbers, chickpeas and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast to make one delicious and filling salad!

A mushroom, green onion and thyme omelette I made for breakfast!

I made a very quick and filling smoothie at work: one green superfood chocolate packet, 3 frozen bananas, a heaping spoonful of peanut butter and a few splashes of hot water. I loved this chocolate superfood packet and I can't wait to try the other flavors!

I haven't had a samosa in years, so these samosa-stuffed baked potatoes were a great substitute (since I can't have the pastry dough)! They didn't take too long to make, but I certainly wouldn't cook them on a week day. The flavors of the samosa filling were absolutely delicious and very authentic! I'd recommend this for anyone who loves samosas, but doesn't want to go through the process of making samosas. This recipe originally comes from Veganomicon

I recently snagged some local okra from a produce stand, so I finally broke down and made these okra fritters again! I made them GF by using Bob's all-purpose GF flour and added some Cajun seasoning in order to add a little more flavor. I made these years ago, and they are still delicious and very easy to make! I topped mine with some vegan mayo and a few more sprinkles of Cajun seasoning.

I haven't made banana bread in a while, but this summer squash banana-oat loaf with an almond streusel really caught my eye! I have never used summer squash (except zucchini) in desserts. I used local two-tone summer squash. Of course, I also love that this recipe is already gluten and dairy-free, so no substitutions needed! I also can't believe I've never baked anything with a streusel topping before this! This loaf was super easy to make and very lightly sweetened, which I really love. 

I made another wonderful recipe from Veganomicon this morning, which was this corn and edamame sesame salad. It took only ten minutes to make and is a great lunch served with some rice crackers! I love anything that is flavored strongly with sesame, and anything with edamame!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

One of my favorite dishes I've recipe tested so far: pasta e fagioli "stew" (original recipes calls for groats!).

I can't quit this granola (minus the orange juice). I've been snacking on it all week, even though I made a batch for my Dad (originally). If you've never tried making your own granola, the time is now! Store-bought GF granola without refined sugars, dairy-based fats, etc. is expensive and really not worth the money. A while ago, I bought a case of GF rolled oats, so I am never out of them and I never have an excuse to not make my own granola/oatmeal. The flavors of this granola are vibrant with orange zest, crunchy with nuts and large coconut flakes, and sweet with raisins (subbed in for currants).

Another recipe I tested: almond butter cocoa! My favorite part was using the leftover cocoa to make a "vegan Frosty" with a frozen banana.

Every year in July, since I was a kid, we get blueberries from a farm somewhere in Kernersville. They are the best blueberries around and I can't wait for them every summer. I felt lazy on the prospect of making a pie, so I made this super easy blueberry coconut crumble for breakfast this weekend. It was so simple, delicious, and tasted just like blueberry pie. And I'm sure it would be even better with some vegan vanilla ice cream!

I'm finding myself using leftovers in more creative/useful ways lately. Mike had some leftover crushed tomatoes from a can, so I made a very "improvised" version of shakshuka. I used fresh garden banana peppers as the base, crushed tomatoes with basil, eggs, and the herbs sprinkled on top are thyme, oregano and rosemary. It was a hearty, delicious breakfast!

So I started a new job last week, which is very exciting, and I'm having a great time working. One of my goals after everything was finalized was to make homemade snacks for work each week. I keep kicking myself for buying store-bought hummus, because it just never tastes as good as homemade. I hate buying larabars too because they're a waste of money. So these were my snacks from week 1: the easiest chipotle hummus recipe, chopped cucumbers, carrots and celery, and hard-boiled eggs. I will definitely be making this hummus recipe again!

There is nothing quite like having an easy stir-fry for dinner. This one has cabbage, red bell pepper, tofu, ginger, and a few more delicious things to make a delicious weeknight meal. I added Thai basil on top, because it goes well with any stir-fry, and served it with quinoa. I really loved how the ginger and garlic cooked with the red cabbage, along with the soy sauce. And of course, don't forget the sriracha!

Work snacks week 2: garam masala hummus and 3-ingredient energy bites. I made these last night in about 10 minutes, so all I have to do today is chop some vegetables. The hummus came together beautifully, and I love the gradients of the toasted sesame seeds on top! Garam masala is probably one of my favorite spices, so I loved using it in this hummus. I was also feeling a little lazy and didn't want to purchase dates just to make fake larabars. So I settled for the 3-ingredient energy bites instead, which only have: coconut, peanuts and vegan chocolate chips. They took less than 5 minutes to make and they are delicious!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

I'm not sure how it's taken me this long to stuff a vegetable. If I remember correctly, I've never made stuffed vegetables. How strange is that? Well this taco tempeh stuffed zucchini was a great place to start and it was incredible! It has everything I love about tacos without the corn tortilla shells, which is great because GF tortillas don't taste that great. The best part is that you can eat the zucchini boat too! This makes a great meal paired with cilantro lime rice, which I make by just adding some salt, vegan butter, lime juice & minced cilantro to cooked rice.

Afraid of making spring rolls? Too hot outside to cook? Check out my recipe for fresh herb & tofu spring rolls!

These are both recipes for my recipe testing position so I'll be brief, but it was delicious! This is an oven baked tempeh sandwich with avocado, tomato & vegan mayo along with Mexican tomato soup. These were both super tasty and easy to make, plus I was able to freeze leftover tomato soup (always a plus)!

Mac & cheese is my #1 comfort food, which is funny considering I almost never ate it before I was diagnosed. But now I love it, and like everything else, I love different variations on it! This is a simple spicy vegan mac & cheese with NO cashews or blending of any kind, which automatically makes it a winner in my book! It also uses pantry items only, so you can be sure that you probably always have ingredients to make this on hand! I added some cooked green peas for color but I'm sure any vegetables would be great (especially broccoli).

This is a recipe I wrote down sometime last year, but never got around to making it. But last week, these cumin chickpea fritters with parsley chutney were calling my name. They take a little more effort than most fritters because of the amount of prep, but they are totally worth it. I love toasted cumin seeds, and paired with this vibrant and zesty parsley chutney, it's a true match made in heaven. I will also say that you should at least try this chutney recipe. It's quick and goes well on everything. I put leftover chutney on some grilled salmon from the Fourth and it was amazing! The flavor is so bright and fresh that it would probably also do well on eggs, cooked potatoes, or stirred into rice with some vegan butter.

There's always a big salad planned when we visit Mike's parents! This has a bunch of ingredients but it's basically lots of lettuce, garden vegetables and peppers, fresh chopped herbs and some balsamic vinegar. We also threw in some chopped sprite melon, which was actually a very nice addition!

This is why I really have to stop buying sorbet and ice cream: this cantaloupe sorbet only has TWO ingredients. That's right, just cantaloupe and vegan organic cane sugar. Not to mention all you do is chop the melon, blend it with sugar, then pop it in your ice cream maker, and that's that! I'm on day three of it being in the freezer and it still tastes great. If you're feeling boozy: scoop some of this sorbet into a bowl and mix in a shot of Campari. Trust me.

I've been trying to figure out pantry meals that I can make easily, since school is coming back soon. These Cajun chickpea cakes with smoky Cajun mayo are a great option for any weeknight. There isn't a lot of prep time and I pretty much always have the ingredients for them on hand, minus chickpeas. I even made the homemade poultry seasoning to give it even more flavor (totally worth it). The result is an incredibly flavorful, spicy cake that has a lovely, creamy sauce on top. I highly recommend these. Sometimes I forget how great of a source Happy Herbivore is for healthy, quick meals! This originally comes from her second book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pantry Fried Rice

There are two things I always have on hand, no matter what: eggs (or any type of protein) and short grain brown rice (or any grain). When you take these two things and add vegetables, soy sauce, and other ingredients, you can create a delicious meal in less than 10 minutes! You can change the ingredients based on what you have or your preferences, just make sure you cook the longest cooking vegetables (like carrots + squash) in the pan before the shortest cooking vegetables (like garlic + green onions). You can also easily make this vegan by subbing crumbled tofu or edamame for the eggs!

Pantry Fried Rice
  • 2 eggs (for vegan: 1/2 C finely crumbled tofu or 1 C thawed edamame)
  • 2 C cold, cooked brown rice (or quinoa, millet, white rice, or jasmine rice)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced (or leave it out, if not on hand)
  • 1-1.5 C vegetables (I used leftover steamed kale but feel free to use whatever you have and chop it small! See note above about cooking times)
  • 1 TBS GF soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • sriracha for serving
  • additional add-ins: fresh herbs like Thai basil or cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, thinly sliced carrots, finely chopped steamed broccoli, finely minced ginger
  1. Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Add sesame oil and rice (I also added the kale here now to get it crispy and warm; add your long cooking vegetables now). Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until starting to warm and crisp up. 
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl until smooth with a fork (for vegan, just crumble your tofu finely or thaw the edamame). 
  3. Now add the garlic and green onions (if using; add other short cooking vegetables). Stir to combine and cook 1-2 minutes, until the green onions and garlic starts to brown lightly. Drizzle in the soy sauce and vinegar, and stir to combine. 
  4. If using the eggs, make a well in the center of the rice and add them in. Let cook for about 1 minute or more, until starting to set on the bottom. Stir into the rest of the rice (for vegan, simply stir in the tofu and edamame, until browning).
  5. Stir and flip the rice occasionally until the rice and eggs become lighly browned, about 3 minutes or more, until the eggs are cooked to your desired consistency. Serve with plenty of sriracha!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fresh Herb & Tofu Summer Rolls

 Lately I've been feeling uninspired in the kitchen, so I usually go back to eating things I love or want to eat more of: enter the spring/summer roll. They are fairly quick, easy to make, and can be made with whatever you want! I chose pretty simple ingredients, but you can substitute or change anything. My only rule is do not skip the fresh herbs. It makes a huge difference in eating a bland spring roll without them. I also want to say that I was afraid of making spring rolls for the longest time, which is silly because of how easy they are. Don't be afraid! You will be so proud and then kick yourself for ever thinking these were difficult (like I did).

Fresh Herb & Tofu Summer Rolls
Makes 12 (or more)

  • 1 package spring roll wrappers
  • 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed for at least 30 minutes and cut into thin strips
  • 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil/olive oil
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green onions, green & white parts, sliced
  • 2-3 cups of shredded romaine/iceberg lettuce
  • 2.5 TBS fresh mint leaves
  • 2.5 TBS fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2.5 TBS fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
  1. Make sure all of your ingredients are prepped before you start rolling. I like to put my filling ingredients on the largest plate I have, so I can easily grab and roll. Make sure you have a cutting board or plate to roll on too (cutting board is recommended).
  2. Preheat a large skillet on medium-high. Add about 1-2 tsp of sesame oil. Add the tofu strips and cook 5 minutes, until browned. If the tofu starts to stick, add a little more oil as needed. Flip, cook 5 mins more until browned/crispy and remove to a plate. Feel free to skip this step completely and leave the tofu raw.
  3. Fill a large skillet with enough water to submerge a spring roll paper. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer on low. 
  4. There may be a way to do this without slightly burning your fingers, but this is how I do it (mostly because my fingers are used to burns). Grab a spring roll paper. Place it in the water. When you notice the edges coming up, gently press them down into the water. Submerge for 10-15 seconds (or according to your package directions).
  5. When removing the paper from the water, gently try to stretch it out to its original shape, which you can do more successfully on the cutting board. Just be careful not to tear!
  6. In the middle of your paper (I tend to do middle but slightly more towards the bottom, leaving some space), put a small handful of lettuce. Top with 2-3 slices of tofu, then 1 slice of avocado. Add a sprinkling of green onions then place a few of each herb leaves of top.
  7. Gently fold the sides in towards the filling. Take the bottom of the wrapper and gently, yet tightly, roll upwards and over the filling until the spring roll is wrapped. You did it! Yay!
  8. Feel free to serve with Thai peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce or sriracha. These definitely get better after sitting in the fridge for a bit.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This is possibly my new favorite cocktail because it tastes like a sweeter version of a Negroni. I've been searching for different ways to use pomegranate molasses and this might be the tastiest way yet! If you've never tried Campari, I highly recommend it, but only if you like slightly bitter, strong alcohols. 

For  Father's Day last weekend, I decided to make dinner for my parents and Mike. I grew up eating lots of Southern food (minus the lard and ham hocks), like collard greens, fried cornbread, BBQ chicken and black-eyed peas. Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry encompasses everything I loved as a child, and more, minus the meat and dairy. If you love Southern/Soul food, I can't recommend this book enough. These are the first recipes I've made from it, but they were so easy and pretty much every recipe does not require "special" ingredients. For this dinner, I made Creole Hoppin'-Jean and Johnny blaze cakes (aka johnny cakes with jalapenos). I think I could eat this meal every single day and never tire of it. The texture of the Johnny blaze cakes were incredible, even though they were a little tedious and took a while to cook (it's totally worth it though).

Whenever I make pie, I always ask myself why I don't make pie more often. For dessert on Father's Day, I made this chilled chocolate pie with an oat-almond crust. I left out the strawberry compote and bought some rice whip instead (mostly because we devoured all of our local strawberries). This is probably the easiest vegan/GF pie I've ever made. The crust held up wonderfully and everything came together smoothly and quickly. My favorite part about this pie? The texture was incredible. Getting the texture right for a vegan pie filling is something I've had trouble with in the past, but this one was creamy, thick, and delicious. 

I made this Tuscan kale + tomato pasta this week, which actually ended up giving us two dinners. The sauce was very "soupy", which I liked in some ways. We omitted the Parmesan rind, which I'm sure would add a lovely flavor to the sauce, so ours turned out slightly bland. If going the vegan route, add some dried Italian herbs/oregano/salt when the sauce is finished and extra fresh thyme and basil leaves for serving. This sauce came together quickly and was very easy to make, but I think I liked it better the second night (see below).

I had a ton of leftover tomato sauce from the Tuscan kale pasta, but did not want to eat pasta again. Two pounds of pasta in two days (for both of us) is not okay with me, as crazy as that sounds. Suddenly I remembered the eggs in tomato sauce that I've been making for weekend breakfasts every now and then, and wondered if I could do the same thing here. Here's the beauty of this recipe: we left the tomato sauce in the pot we cooked it in, with the lid, in the fridge. For dinner, I just put it on the stove to boil, straight from the fridge, lowered the heat to simmer (covered) for 10 minutes. Then I cracked four eggs gently into the tomato sauce and cooked 5-7 minutes until pretty much set, then 2-3 minutes off the heat uncovered. We ate these eggs over buttered toast with extra tomato sauce, fresh thyme and basil. You could also serve this over Italian polenta for an extra delicious dinner!

The most abundant herb in my garden is fennel. I hate licorice candy, but I am a sucker for how fennel smells and tastes. Plus, the big, green fronds are so pretty shooting every which way from the middle of its pot. But what on Earth will I do with all of this fennel? Yes, I can take out the root and eat it, but then I will have to grow fennel all over again. Well I did find one way: potato soup! Fennel fronds are the perfect balance for a creamy, potato-corn soup. I used this recipe with these changes: I omitted the tofu bacon, used 4 fresh corn cobs instead of 1 cup, omitted the nutritional yeast and jalapenos. I also broke my corn cobs in half and added them to the soup while it simmered, then removed them before taking it off the heat to blend it. I think I used about 1/4-1/3 C of torn fennel fronds to stir into the soup. Also, this soup is a cinch to make. There is no sauteing, or oil, and it takes about 30 minutes or less with prep time included. Always a plus!

One thing I am trying to be better about is using leftovers from one dish for a completely different one in the same week. Earlier this week, I made this curry soup with jasmine rice and tofu croutons (not pictured because I have made it before). There was a ton of rice and half a package of tofu leftover. Last night I used both of these to make peanut butter + kale fried rice. I added broiled sesame tofu, Thai basil, sriracha and chopped peanuts. Sadly there are no leftovers because we ate all of it in one sitting. This is definitely going on my "too busy to care" meal rotation during the school year. The ingredients are simple and it takes maybe 10 minutes to pull together. The sesame broiled tofu is something I go back to again and again because of how simple it is. You can find the recipe in this post.