Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kale, Carrot, Red Cabbage & Fennel Slaw

I love a good slaw in the sumer. In the past I stuck to pretty much your regular varieties. Now as a vegetarian, I feel inspired to try different flavors and textures. This slaw is super simple and super delicious!

Kale, Carrot, Red Cabbage & Fennel Slaw


- 1 fennel bulb sliced and cut into approx 1 1/2" pieces
-1 carrot (I used a regular carrot and used the peeler to make the ribbons, but you could use bagged shredded carrots,)
-1/3 medium red cabbage, shredded
-1 medium bunch Kale
-Mayonnaise or veggie alternative to taste
-Kosher salt to taste

1. Combine and enjoy!
Measurements can vary depending on how much you are making or what particular flavor you might want to highlight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Polenta & Spinach with Creamy Onion Gravy

I thought I would be safe to simply switch from brown or turkey store-bought gravies to mushroom varieties. I was wrong. I was a bit surprised to find beef-stock or some other animal ingredient listed on the label. Maybe this is a common mistake made by vegetarian newbies...maybe I'm just a Dodo bird. 
In any case, I have started playing around with alternatives. 
If you love garlic and onions this should be a good one for you. 

1 package Trader Joe's pre-cooked organic polenta (or your choice)

1. Coat frying pan with Trader Joe's olive oil spray (or your choice)
2. Slice to approximately 1/2" slices. Heat according to package directions (I like them slightly browned). Set aside in oven set to warm.

Creamy Onion Gravy

2 cups rice milk (or preferred milk substitute)
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 medium onion, chopped

1. Melt margarine in saucepan on med-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
2. Lower to medium heat and add remaining ingredients, whisking continuously.
3.Whisk for 5 minutes until gravy thickens. For thicker gravy add more flour after 5 minutes. If too thick for your taste, add milk substitute until desired thickness is achieved.

Creamy Spinach with Garlic & Onions

1 lb bag baby spinach
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup rice or soy milk (or preferred substitute)
1 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt margarine over medium heat and sauté garlic and onions until fragrant.
2. Raise heat to high and add flour, whisk well then lower heat back to medium.
3. Add spinach and mix. 
4. Cook until spinach is wilted.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good Vegan Company

So voluptuous Latina bombshell Jennifer Lopez has recently announced she's gone vegan.

This is awesome news, sure...but I wonder how this will affect her status as a fashion icon. I hope it does. Does this mean no more mink lashes or leather Louboutins for Jenny?

Pesto Caprese Sandwich with Balsamic Asparagus

This easy-breezy sandwich is both refreshing and full of flavor. Perfect for summer dinners (or lunch) after a long day of gardening (hopefully growing your own veggies!) and yard work under the sun.

Pesto Caprese Sandwich

Fresh Mozarella Cheese (or vegan substitute)
Roma Tomatoes
Pesto Spread of your choice (I use Trader Joe's Genova Pesto)
Fresh green or purple Italian Basil leaves (Mine came straight from my garden!)
Rolls (Ciabatta are ideal, but I happened to have some fresh Keiser ones in my kitchen so I used those. Save money, use what you have!)

I won't provide directions on how to put these ingredients together because if you can read my blogposts without assistance, you have the skills necessary to put a sandwich together on your own. 
I believe in you!

Steamed Balsamic Asparagus

1 bunch fresh Asparagus
Olive oil (to taste)
Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt (to taste)

Also super-simple! 
1. Wash and cut Asparagus stalks into two or tree pieces.
2. Steam until tender, but not soggy (about 5 minutes, checking frequently).
3. Drain. Combine and toss all ingredients in a bowl.
4. Let cool and serve at room temperature.


PS. Confession: While 1 serving is perfectly satisfying, I ate two sandwiches all on my own. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Red Pepper Eggplant & Arugula Salad

Red Pepper Eggplant


1 eggplant
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
Italian bread crumbs
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp rosemary
Trader Joe's Red Pepper Eggplant & Garlic spread
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. Bread and fry eggplant slices as you would when preparing eggplant parm.
2. Set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil. 
3. Arrange slices in baking dish in a single layer. 
4. Top each slice with a dollop of TJ's Red Pepper Spread and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Arugula Cucumber & White Bean Salad

1 bag arugula
1 can Trader Joe's (or your favorite) Organic Great Northern Beans
1/2 cucumber sliced
1 sweet red pepper sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp Kosher salt
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

1. Combine, toss well and chow down!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Quick & Easy "Pastelon" Bowl

Pastelon is a Puerto Rican dish that resembles a lasagna. Amarillos (sweet plantains) replace noodles and picadillo replaces the traditional Italian-style filling. The dish is a tasty combination of sweet and salty. Picadillo can also be served in a variety of dishes such as over rice or in tacos and burritos, to name a few. Pastelon can also be made as a meat "pie" by grinding the plantains. Later on I will prepare one of these for the blog (and my belly), but for now I thought I'd take a stab at putting together a simpler bowl-verision. It incorporates the predominant flavors in traditional Pastelon, but it comes together much faster.

Beefless Picadillo

2 12 oz packs of Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or your beef substitute of choice)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes 
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
a handful of manzanilla olives
1/4 cup Goya Recaito
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Goya Adobo Light (or to taste)
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive) or cooking spray

1. Coat the bottom of the caldero with oil.
2. Sautee onion, garlic and pepper until fragrant.
3. Add beef substitute and Adobo. Cook on medium-high for 3-5 minutes, stirring.
4. Add tomatoes, Recaito, oregano, olives. Once mixture begins to bubble, lower heat and cook another 5 minutes. 

Serve in a bowl with Goya frozen amarillos, cooked according to package directions.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Front Yard Veggie Garden

This weekend I finally got around to planting my summer veggie garden. I usually plant mid-April, but we've had some crazy weather in Northern Virginia this year. There is too much shade in our current backyard for me to succesfully grow any sun-loving plants so I have to do it out front, where space is more limited. I look forward to a much larger vegetable garden and more flexible warmer planting zone in the near future.

This will be a bit of a hectic summer for us so I kept things a bit simpler this time around. I planted 5 varieties of tomatoes; Roma, Pink Brandywine, Better Boy, Mr. Stripey and Lemon Boy. Herb-wise, purple and Thai basil are two things I can't go without.

I also can't go without cucumbers, but in years past they didn't do as well at this location so I opted to put them in containers this year. Aside from herbs I haven't done much container gardening, so it's a bit of an experiment for me. I rigged the containers to allow the vines to climb. I also planted yellow bell pepper in a pot.

Happy gardening!