Tag Archives: vegetarian

Vegetarian Grilling: Vegetable Tofu Skewers

One of my go-to dinners for summertime is grilled veggies. There are so many great vegetables to choose from and they taste amazing over an open flame. As summer winds to a close and fall puts that nip in the air … I can’t help but want to wander out to my grill and give it some more love before it’s too cold to use it. (Though, I’m not afraid to grill year-round.)

Being constantly busy with work and school, I need quick healthy meals to keep my body in working order. Here’s a little diddy I came up last night. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. (No leftovers! Ha!)

What you will need:

  • 1 pkg. of baked tofu
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 container of mushrooms (I chose crimini)
  • 3 skewers
  • spices
  • salt & pepper
  • oil/butter/non-stick spray

Serves two. All ingredients are organic.

Note: Tofu tends to stick, so make sure it’s properly oiled before putting it on the grill.

Let’s get started!!!

  • Pre-heat the grill.
  • Wash the zucchini, and slice into 3/4 inch thick rounds.
  • Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp cloth to get the dirt off, cut the stems off.

  • Open up the tofu and cut into about 1 inch chunks (I got 8 chucnks out of mine).
  • Sprinkle mushrooms and zucchini with salt, pepper, and your favorite grilling spices. I used pepper, garlic salt, and McCormick’s “Savory” blend.
  • Skewer your items in whatever order you choose.

  • I melted a couple tablespoons of butter mixed with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to brush on my veggies so they don’t stick to the grill grates. You can use whatever you want to keep it from sticking.
  • I turned my grill all the way to low beause it runs hot, but probably somewhere between low to medium will be perfect for cooking these.

  • Turn every 3-5 minutes, so they get a little char on them, but don’t burn. Brush them again with the buttler/oil mixture,
  • Remove after about 15 minutes and serve!

They are tasty on their own, or you can dip them in teriyaki sauce. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite food to grill?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

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Goat-Cheese Mushroom Tart

Oh boy is this a decadent treat! This mushroom tart I only whip up on special occasions … since it’s pretty fattening with the butter, cheese, and pastry. Everything in moderation  right? Right! However, it is a wonderful dish to serve at a vegetarian dinner party.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Sue Ashworth.

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces frozen filo pastry, thawed (I used puff pastry because it takes less butter/fat)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 T hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 ounces of mixed mushrooms, such as buttons, cremini, oyster and shiitake.
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces of goat cheese, softened
  • salt & pepper
  • springs of parsley for garnish
  1. Cut the sheets of filo pastry into pieces about 4 inches square, and use them to line 4 individual tart pans, brushing each layer with melted butter. Line the pans with foil or baking parchment and baking beans. Bake is a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 6-8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove the tart pans from the oven and take out the foil or baking parchment and beans carefully. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. (In the alternative, use whatever kind of crust you want or prefer. I use puff pastry. I simply thaw it and cut it to the size of my tortilla bowls and bake until golden brown.)
    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacks

    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacksSee! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

    See! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

  2. Put any remaining butter into a large saucepan with the hazelnut oil, and fry the pine nuts until golden-brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. (I just cooked them in with my mushrooms – I was being lazy!)
  3. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.117119
  4. Spoon an equal amount of goat cheese into the base of each cooked tart. Divide the mushrooms between them, scatter the pine nuts on top.120
  5. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to heat through, and then serve the, garnished with sprigs of parsley. Serve with a small side salad … or in my case a side of Creamy Baked Fennel.125

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Eco Emi January 2013 – Unboxing

Check out what I got in this month’s Eco Emi box!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

Sprouted Breakfast Oatmeal (No Cooking Required!)

Raise your hand if you actually wake up and prepare breakfast for yourself before leave the house in the morning… … … If you’re anything like me, your hand is not raised right now. I’m so busy that I need to get as much sleep as possible, and unfortunately, that does not mean waking up early to make a healthy breakfast. I had to come up with a solution I would eat. I turned to oatmeal.

There is nothing more bland and tasteless than oatmeal. I’ve never been a huge fan of it … a hot bowl of slimy goo that I was supposed to like because it was flavored and covered and sugar. Not for me. I’ve tried, in vain, for years to like oatmeal … but no success, until now!

So what changed? The oats. The method of preparation. The ingredients.

The method is simple … you make it the night before and BAM!!! – breakfast to go in the morning. No more waking up early to make yourself something. No more stopping on your way to work for something “quick” and unhealthy. This recipe makes enough to last us all week – we each take about 1/2 cup about 3 times per week. This breakfast gives you sustained energy to get up and going for the day.

What you will need:

  • a medium glass bowl
  • 1 cup of oats (I use steel-cut – but rolled is fine, too)
  • 2 cups of cashew milk
  • a few tablespoons of molasses or 1/2 cup of dates
  • a tablespoon or two of cinnamon
  • agave nectar, optional (for added sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup of fried fruit – we use cranberries but cherries or anything else will do fine.
  • nuts or seeds

The method: Do this the night before.

  1. Put the cashew milk in the blender, add the molasses or dates and cinnamon. Blend.20130127_180050
  2. Taste the mixture to see if it is to your liking – if you prefer a little more sweetness add a tablespoon or so of agave nectar.
  3. Put the uncooked oats into the glass bowl. Pour the cashew milk mixture on top. Stir to combine. Add dried cranberries. (I also threw in 1/4 c. flax-seed).20130127_18003920130127_180110
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours). The next morning you will have either a solid mixture if you used rolled oats, but if you used steel-cut you will have a slightly soupy mixture.

Personally – I prefer the slightly soupy mixture. I just scoop enough in my to-go container and bring it with me to work. I eat it cold. Sugar prefers to warm his up by microwaving it for a few minutes at work.

You can also vary this by adding nuts, seeds, other fruits, other spices … the sky is the limit.  Make your own custom flavor by changing the spice, sweetener, and add-ins.

How do you feel about eating sprouted oatmeal?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Creamy Baked Fennel

This is the recipe for the side dish I made on New Years Eve for myself and Sugar. In all honesty, I’ve never had fennel before, let alone cooked with it (somehow I missed the fennel bus when I was younger). I was looking for something different and tasty … and when I saw this in my cook book – I thought I would give it a swing. This recipe is adapted from Sue Ashworth’s recipe in her book “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” which Sugar and I picked up at a used bookstore in Grass Valley, California, last summer.

This is the original recipe as it is out of her book. I did make some substitutions such as using non-dairy cream cheese and cashew milk as I tried to avoid any dairy in the process. I also used panko bread crumbs in place of traditional bread crumbs. Substitute or not at your pleasure.

Baked fennel tastes fabulous in this creamy sauce, flavored with caraway seeds. A crunchy bread crumb topping gives an interesting change of texture. 

Serves 4

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. low-fat soft cheese (I assumed this meant cream cheese)
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the lemon juice. Slice the fennel thinly, and add to the saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes to blanch, and then drain well. Arrange in a buttered oven-proof baking dish. (I used coconut oil spray)090 091 093 094 096
  2. Beat the soft cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream, milk and beaten egg, and whisk together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the fennel. 097 101 102
  3. Melt 1 T. of the butter in a small skillet, and fry the caraway seeds gently for 1-2 minutes, to release their flavor and aroma. Sprinkle over fennel. 104
  4. Melt the remaining bread crumbs, and fry gently until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the surface of the fennel. (to be honest and admit my lazy ways – I cooked the caraway seeds in with the breadcrumb topping.)118
  5. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
  6. Serve, garnished with sprigs of parsley. 124

I served this fennel alongside a goat-cheese and mushroom tart (recipe coming soon!).

So – how was my first fennel experience? It was tasty! The fennel was nice and tender in the creamy sauce and had a slight anise flavor to it. All and all is was savory and delicious. If you are like me, and have never had fennel before – this is a simple recipe to make and it makes a nice side dish to replace the “same old thing” in your routine.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

How to make your own cashew milk

Being one of those people who is allergic to dairy makes life tough. However, I feel so much better with cow’s milk out of my life – no more upset tummies! I love soy milk (even though there are reports out there that soy isn’t good for you), hemp milk, and sometimes almond milk … but those cartons are expensive ($4.98 for a quart of hemp milk!). When I found out how easy it is to make your own cashew milk … I about fainted. Not only is it quick and easy … it only requires two ingredients and will cost a fraction of what you’re paying for your non-dairy beverages. Get ready for your mind to be blown:

What you will need: 

  • blender
  • 1/2-2/3 cups of raw unsalted cashews (buy in bulk section of your grocery store)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 minutes of time

095Assemble your blender. Add cashews, water, and blend on high for 2 minutes. Bam! Cashew milk … not kidding you.098

This beauty will replace any milk or non-dairy milk. I use it to make oatmeal, my egg-less french toast, to dip cookies in, and anything else you like milk in. It has a light flavor and the taste of the cashew is nearly gone, but yet has a subtle richness. Try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

I made some cashew milk for hot cocoa the other night … it was a hit … everyone loved it. So, I challenge you to take out your blender, make some cashew milk, and tell me what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Easy Healthy Breakfast Cups

Hello Everyone! I hope your holidays were bright and filled with love!!!

Now that life has slowed down a bit, I can get back to blogging about the things I love and start developing new recipes to share with all of you. Here is one I whipped up last night for my Sweetie and my brother. I’m still on a no-egg kick … but these looked tasty … even that cats stole one off the counter! (Naughty kitties!)

I made this the night before for a quick “breakfast to-go” in the morning. Or you can make them up, not cook them, and then throw them in the oven when you wake up. Otherwise, make ahead, take two with you, warm them up at work and enjoy! No more eating crappy breakfast foods!

What you will need:

  • muffin tin
  • olive oil/butter
  • 6 slices of your favorite deli meat … I used tofurkey deli slices
  • 6 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • grated cheese – I used Romano
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin tin with oil or butter
  3. Line each cup with a slice of meat
  4. Crack an egg into each “meat cup”
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Top with grated cheese
  7. Cook for 20-30 minutes … or until the eggs are set. (check on them at 15 minutes and jiggle the pan to see if they’re still raw).
  8. Pop out of the tins and enjoy right away or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

785786What’s your favorite “breakfast to-go?”

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

 

 

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy: Vegetarian Style

One of my absolute favorite breakfast dishes in the whole-wide world is biscuits and gravy. My Dad would always make it for me on my birthday when I was little. He would even make it for my friends when I would have sleepovers. (What a great Dad, huh!?!)

When I moved out, I would still crave this comforting dish. Unfortunately for me, I found out I’m highly allergic to cow’s milk, specifically the protein casein. I’m not the typical “lactose intolerant” gal. The type of allergy I have wreaks havoc on my digestive tract days after consumption. This prompted me to find an alternative that was just as tasty as the original. Hence, this recipe was born.

My Sweetie now begs for this dish like I used to as a child. I smile with the thought that I have passed on my love for this dish that will always remind me of my Dad. Recently, when my family (Dad included) visited for the holidays, I made them my version, and everyone ate it up like the recipe hadn’t changed. Woohooo! I call that a success!

Serves two.

Adapted from a recipe by Chez Bettay, original recipe found here:

Biscuits:

Makes 4 biscuits.

Get out a food processor or mixing bowl (it can be done both ways – just be sure not to over-mix). 

Add the flour to your food processor with the coconut oil, sea salt, and baking powder. Pulse until slightly combined.

Add the goat milk to the flour mixture. Pulse to combine. 

Now add the apple cider vinegar to your soymilk to create a vegan “buttermilk.” Slowly drizzle this into the food processor to gently combine. Being careful not to over mix. 

Turn out onto a floured board.  If slightly wet, knead in some more brown rice flour. You want the mixture to be slightly wet, but not falling a apart. 

Pat dough into a 3/4in to 1 in thick. Slice into 4 parts. Take each part and form into a biscuit. Or use biscuit cutters.

Place onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with a little more melted coconut oil.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Sausage Gravy:

While the biscuits are baking we can start making the gravy.

Brown the sausage over medium high heat.. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium/medium-low. Add the coconut oil and flour to the pan and cook to make a roux. Cook slightly to get rid of the floury flavor. 

Add the soy milk, and whisk quickly to combine. One combined, turn up the heat to medium high. 

Add a ton of fresh cracked pepper (to your taste), add some salt and a little sprinkle of sage. 

Bring to a simmer and cook until thick. Add the sausage back in, and stir to combine. Check your gravy for seasoning … add more salt, pepper, and sage to your liking. 

Keep some extra soy milk on hand if the gravy begins to thicken too much. You will be able to thin it out by adding a tiny bit of soy milk at a time until you get the gravy consistency you like.

Slice open your biscuit, butter it, and then top it with heaping spoonfuls of gravy. Now eat up!

What is your all-time favorite breakfast? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

I will note that you can make your own “veggie sausage” with TVP by moistening the TVP with water or broth and then seasoning it with sage, salt, and pepper (which I did in this recipe since I was short on sausage patties). If you would like to know more about how to cook with TVP, please let me know in the comments section.  

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Hashbrown Breakfast Skillet

I hate a boring breakfast … that’s why I’ve created tasty-wacky creations such as my Cornbread Breakfast Skillet. This next recipe is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts. It can be changed up to be taco-style with salsa, cheddar cheese, and sour cream on top. Or it can be dressed up as gourmet with goat cheese and pine nuts. Here’s one of my basic recipes. I threw in the artichoke hearts in because I needed to use them up. Feel free to add or subtract any of the ingredients to fit your family’s taste.

Serves Two Moderately Hungry People

What you’ll need:

  • 6 small red potatoes, shredded
  • 2 morning star patties, crumbled
  • 2-3 ounces of mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 ounces of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 3-4 eggs
  • blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
  • butter/oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add shredded potatoes, boil for 1-2 minutes, drain into fine mesh sieve or colander. 

In a large cast iron skillet heated to medium, add sausage, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Fry until slightly brown and crispy. Remove from skillet and set aside for later. 

Get the skillet hot again. Add oil or butter of your choosing. Then add the shredded potatoes. Fry until brown and crispy on both sides, about 6-8 minutes on each side. Add more oil/butter as needed to keep frying the potatoes up nicely.

*Note* The trick to great crispy hash brown is not moving them around too much. If you move them around … the starch in them gets all gooey and that’s what gives you chewy potatoes. The blanching process we started out with helps rid the potatoes shreds of some of their starch so they will fry up nicely.

Next, layer the sausage, mushroom, artichoke mixture on top of the hash brown layer. Crack the eggs over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I like mine well-done. Top the skillet with a sprinkle of blue cheese and serve it up!

How do you overcome the boring-breakfast blues?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Chik’n Noodle Soup

Oh! How I love comfort foods! But boy! Do I hate being sick!

I have finally manged to catch the bug that has been floating around. No fun. While I spent most of my Sunday glued to my couch with a box of tissues and hot cup of tea, I did manage to peel myself up on Monday to make myself some delicious soup. Here’s my vegetarian version of the original classic:

What you will need:

  • 2 Quorn Chik’n Cutlets
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 bag of No-Yolks Eggs Noodlescooked, drained, and drizzled with olive oil (to prevent them from sticking together)
  • 1 lemon (optional)

Makes about 4 servings.

Get out your stock pot, give the bottom a turn or two of olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent. 

Meanwhile, sear the chik’n cutlets in a pan. Season the cutlets with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. This will add a great flavor to the chik’n. Once cooled, chop into bite sized pieces.

Next, add the vegetable broth, bay leaf and a few extra shakes of the poultry seasoning to the pot. Add carrots and chik’n. Simmer until carrots are tender, but not mushy.

Be sure to check your seasonings to ensure your broth is not bland. If it is, perhaps add some more salt and poultry seasoning.

Now it’s time to get out your bowl. Put a handful sized amount of noodles in the bottom and then pour your soup over the top of it. 

My favorite is to squeeze a little lemon juice over the top. It is optional, but I recommend giving it a try.

This soup is so good I found my Sweetie getting a late night bowl at 11 p.m. Haha! Busted! Totally busted!

What is your favorite soup?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon