Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Feeling a little chocolate craving coming on? I have one at least once a day.  But everybody who knows me knows I love a healthy cookie recipe.  This time I came up with this recipe all on my own.   I added a little of this and a little of that and a yummy healthy cookie recipe was invented.  The kids and the hubs all gave it a thumbs up.

2 Cups Almond Flour
1 Cup Oats
2 Chia/Flax eggs (2 T chia/flax mixed with 6 T warm water)
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cocoa powder
1/2 agave
2 T honey
1 cup chocolate chips (ok, so these are not that healthy but they make healthy cookies taste great)

My friend gave me a bag of chia and flax that she blended in her blendtec and that's what I used for my chia/flax eggs.  I am sure that if you had just chia or just flax, it would also work.

So the first thing you do is mix the "eggs" with the agave and honey.  Next you add your almond flour, oats, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Throw in the chocolate chips and stir.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop spoonfuls of dough.  Cook at 375 for 13 minutes.  Makes 12 cookies.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Veggie-licious Sandwich

Summer is on it's way and so are beach trips, vacations, and lots of fun in the sun.  I just made a delicious sandwich with things that I had on hand.  Who says you need lunch meat to make a delicious and satisfying sandwich?  Well I don't.  I took two pieces of Ezekiel Sprouted Wheat Bread toasted it nice and toasty, then spread some veganaise on it, topped it with one piece of roasted red bell pepper, a few slices of yellow pepper, four slices of tomato, four slices of cucumber, and a small piece of swiss chard.  The sandwich was very, very yummy, filling, and satisfying.  Now when you pack your lunch for the beach, you can pack a sandwich that is good for you and your waistline. Enjoy.

Ingredients:
Ezekiel Sprouted Wheat Bread
Veganaise
Roasted Red Pepper
Cucumber
Tomato
Swiss Chard (other green leafy vegetable would work also)
Salt and Pepper


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good starter veggie recipes

Lots of my friends wonder what I eat if I don't eat meat.  They want simple recipes without weird ingredients. This recipe for taco soup fits that description.  Some black beans, brown rice, salsa, tomatoes and spices and you have one super easy and delicious veggie recipe. No meat needed! :)  Check out Mary's recipe http://mygreendiet.com/green-diet-plan-recipes/taco-soup/ When I make the soup I do not include the jalapeno since we don't like a lot of spice.

On March 14 also known as Pi day for the mathematical number 3.14.  I made a delicious potato pie.  This pie or tart did call for some ground beef substitute which I know my meat eating friends would not have but it is so delicious I bet you could just exclude it and it would be just as yummy.  Now this is no foofy veggie dish.  This is a hearty and delicious recipe that even the husband liked.  :)  Check out this delicious recipe on Kristi's blog http://www.veggieconverter.com/2011/04/vegan-meat-and-potato-pie-recipe.html.  I added some seasoning salt and celery to ours.  Also, use this recipe for the crust it's phenomenal!

2 Crust-Pie
2/3 cup plus 2 T butter, salted
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t salt
5-6 T cold water

First I cut cold butter into small squares.  Then in my standing mixer I added the flour and then a little at a time added the small butter squares and salt.  I let it mix on low until the butter and flour were well incorporated.  Then one tablespoon at a time I added the cold water until it formed into a dough.  Form a large ball and cut in half.  I refrigerated mine for a little bit because I made it ahead of time.  I don't think that is necessary.  Then just roll into a circle and line the bottom of your pie tin.  Put your filling in and top with remaining dough.  Eating the pie again for lunch. mmmm!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hawaiian Black Bean Balls


One of my kids favorite meals is Waikiki meatballs.  Since I don't eat meat I decided to try an alternative and see if they went for it.  I started with a really basic black bean burger recipe and formed them into balls instead of patties.  Then I made the sauce as usual and served over brown rice.  The result was good not great.  The balls stay kind of mushy or bean like in the middle.  Next time I think I would form them into small balls and then flatten them a bit so they get more crispy.  The cool thing about these is that they actually look like meatballs.

Black-Bean Balls
2 cups black beans, can use 1 can or 2 cups homemade which is what I did
1/2 cup- 3/4 cup ground oat flour (place 1/2 cup or so of oats into food processor)
small handful of chopped cilantro (doesn't really need it but would be good as a burger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 chia seed egg (1 T chia seeds and 3 T water)
2 T BBQ sauce
1 T nutritional yeast (optional)
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Place the beans in the food processor and blend until smooth then add the cilantro, salt, garlic, and BBQ sauce. Mix well then add the flour a little at a time.  I may try it with breadcrumbs in the future.  Then refrigerate for 30 minutes, that makes it easier to roll into balls.  Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or oil of choice) and heat in a large pan then add the balls.  Fry until crispy on both sides.  I think it will work better with smaller balls. Then pour Hawaiian sauce over them.


Hawaiian Sauce
1 can pineapple tidbits (13 1/2 oz) reserve juice
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 T soy sauce

Mix cornstarch and sugar.  Stir in reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Add pineapple tidbits and pour over meatballs.

*The picture shows pineapple chunks not tidbits because I didn't have any.  My kids prefer it this way though.

The Verdict: 2 out of 3 kids liked it.  Veggie mom and dad thought it was good but might need some tweaking in the future.  I will definitely make this again.  Good source of protein! The green beans were cooked in some coconut oil with a dash of seasoning salt and the kids just thought that was great.  They even asked for more.  They will be veggie kids before we know it. :) Good luck!



Collard green wraps with homemade hummus

So I am doing a 6 week challenge to get fitter and healthier.  I decided I would eat at least one salad a day and usually that is at lunch.  But today I didn't feel like salad and I wanted to try something different.  I was perusing one of the many blogs I follow and I got the inspiration to make these collard green wraps.  The original recipe called for an almond mayo but I didn't have any soaked almonds nor did I have the time to wait for the almonds to soak.  So I set out to make some hummus.  I love hummus, I really need to start making more of it.  This is a great way to get all your servings of veggies! Enjoy!!


Collard- Green Wrap Serves 1
2 collard green leaves, washed and stemmed
2-4 T homemade hummus (recipe below)
1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1 yellow pepper, mine were the small kind you can buy in a bag 
1 red pepper, small, sliced into matchsticks
1 avocado

Wash and cut the stem off the collard green leaves.  Then spread a couple tablespoons of hummus on each leaf, top with veggies and roll them up. This would be good with a variety of different veggies but this  is just what I had on hand.  Cucumbers would be good. Next time!

Homemade-healthy Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons garlic salt (or regular salt, I just didn't have any)
2 T olive oil 
1 T ground flax-seed
1/8 t cayenne
pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Adjust salt as needed. Mine was pretty salty but I like it that way.  I didn't have to put any salt on the veggies.  




Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lettuce Boats

Not sure what to call these but this is the best I got, Taco Boats. :) This isn't really a recipe but more of a healthy dinner or lunch idea.  On Monday I made awesome homemade refried beans.  The sad part was that I only had one cup of dried beans so it only made enough for one meal.  I also realized later that I had used the same amount of seasonings that I would have for 2 cups of beans, so the beans had lots of extra flavor.  I recommend increasing the amount of seasonings if you like super flavorful beans.   So this is what you do for a super healthy meal.  Instead of using tortillas I used romaine lettuce leaves and topped it with the homemade beans, brown rice, tomatoes, and avocados.  Voila! Easy, low calorie, full of good for you vitamins, fiber, and protein.  I served some raw veggies on the side.

My kids and husband still ate their tacos the traditional way. :)

Butternut squash

I had two butternut squashes the other day and I had no clue what to do with them.  My mom gave me a great idea on what to do.  I got to say it was delicious.  The recipe is so simple and full of flavor.  My kids aren't fans of any kind of squash and this was no different nor a surprise.  But my theory is that if I keep introducing them to healthy things eventually they may want to try it and realize that they do like it or grow to like it.  Either way I feel as though I am making progress on the road to healthy eating.

Roasted Butternut squash
1 med-lg butternut squash or 2 small
1 onion, roughly chopped
4-5 garlic, cut in half or sliced 2-3 times
2 T approx. of olive oil
salt and pepper


Start by peeling your squash (I used a potato peeler) then cut the squash into small squares.  Chop your onion and garlic and add it to a large bowl with the squash, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Mix together to coat all the veggies with oil and seasonings.  Place in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  All ovens vary so check on them at about 20 minutes and if the outer pieces are getting toasted just stir a bit and move the pieces around.  They are done when a fork pierces easily through the squash.  I served over brown rice.  It was delicious.  I ate it again for lunch the following day.  Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sweet potato crescent rolls

Oh these rolls were so good.  They almost tasted like a dessert.  I found the recipe on http://blog.superhealthykids.com/2010/03/scrumptious-sweet-potato-crescent-rolls/.  I didn't make many changes.  The only thing is that it called for bread flour of which, I had none.  So I added 2 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten to it.  I also used whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour in equal amounts.  I hope your family loves these rolls as much as mine did.

Mama's Eggplant Parmigiana

What to make? What to make? I looked in the fridge and there was a beautiful, shiny, purple, eggplant on its last day. :( My mom makes an awesome and easy eggplant parmigiana.  The cool thing about this recipe is that the kids can't really tell what's in it and they gobble it up.  I paired it with a green salad and homemade sweet potato rolls.

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
1 med-lg eggplant
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
olive oil
flour
mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor or blender or smash them with a fork. In a small saucepan sautee the garlic in a little bit of oil then add the tomatoes and spices.  Then simmer on low until ready to use.  Peel and slice the eggplant in 1/2" circle.  My mom taught me that you should sprinkle each slice with salt and place in a colander in the sink for about 10 minutes.  You will notice that a brownish liquid will be draining from the eggplant.  Doing this rids the bitter taste that eggplants sometimes have.  Then rinse the salt off and place each piece of eggplant in flour.  Coat both sides of eggplant with flour.  It doesn't need a lot.  Then in a large pan, place a couple tablespoons olive oil and place eggplant in there flipping once when browned.  This shouldn't take very long, it only needs to be slightly browned on each side.  Place a little bit of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Layer the eggplant, a little sauce, and mozzarella, then repeat until all the eggplant is used up.  Top with mozzarella.  Cook for 30 minutes at 350.

The verdict: I love it of course.  Juliana and Dean both ate it all up.  Nolan found out that it had eggplant in it and he wouldn't even try it.  Ahhhh!! Steve liked it but he's not a man of many words.








Monday, February 20, 2012

Steel-cut oat Cream of Wheat

Steel-Cut Oats
Who loves Cream of Wheat? I do, I do, and so does Nolan (one of my picky eaters).  I don't remember where I saw this recipe but it is awesome.  Do you like steel-cut oats? Well, I do, (not surprising since I love pretty much anything)lol.  Anyhow, it takes about 20 minutes to prepare steel-cut oats on the stove.  I don't always have that much time in the mornings.  My kids aren't big fans of it but oh how I wish they would love it and eat it.  Imagine all the whole grain goodness that they would get right before going off to school.  But I found the solution! Steel-Cut oat cream of wheat! The first thing you do is put a cup or so of steel-cut oats into your blender, any blender should work. Turn on the blender and on high speed blend for about 30-60 seconds.   The oats should turn into an almost sand consistency.
Not sure you can tell the texture from the picture.  But this is the steel-cut oats after being put through the blender.

There will be a couple of pieces that aren't completely like flour but that's ok as long as most are.  In a small saucepan heat 1 cup milk of choice (I usually use soy or almond milk) whisk to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pan.  When it starts to boil dump about 1/2 cup of steel-cut oat flour into it and whisk until liquid begins to absorb.  I like mine a little lumpy so I add 1/2 cup + 1 T of the oat flour.  Remove from heat.  It should be nice and smooth.  If it's a bit dry and thick, like I make it, I just add another 1/2 cup or so of milk.  Top with your favorite toppings.  I topped mine with 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 T shredded unsweetened coconut, and a tablespoon or so of sliced almonds.  Sometimes I add chia seeds or ground flax seeds.  The possibilities are endless.  Nolan just likes a little bit of brown sugar.

What are some of your favorite oatmeal or cream of wheat toppings?
Cream of wheat with blueberries, coconut, and almonds.



Fluffy, healthy pancakes

I love pancakes! I have tried lots of healthy pancake recipes lately but they all come out chewy.  They aren't gross just not your super yummy fluffy pancake that we are use to.  Today I found the perfect recipe.  Hooray, hooray, happy day.  The original recipe came from www.picklesnhoney.com.  I changed it a tiny bit because I didn't have flax seeds or unsweetened almond milk.  All in all it's still basically the same recipe.


Fluffy Pancake Recipe:
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 3/4 C. Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond milk) dairy milk would also work
  • 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 chia seed egg (1 Tbs. Chia Seeds, 4 Tbs. Water) (can use a regular egg also)
  • 1 Tsp. Canola Oil
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Prepare your chia seed egg by combining 1 Tbs. chia seeds and 4 Tbs. water.
  2. Set aside for 3-5 minutes, and allow to thicken.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add  flours, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add non-dairy milk, vanilla, canola, and flax egg and mix until just combined.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray and pour pancake batter onto pan. Cook 1-2 minutes per side.
  7. Plate with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Notes
Feel free to add a touch more non-dairy milk to achieve your desired consistency. If you don't have chia seeds you can also use ground flax seeds mixed with water.  
My daughter was afraid they were going to be gross because they had almond milk and whole wheat flour in them.  But she was wrong, she loved them.  So did my son, the pickiest of the bunch.  Try them, I don't think you will be disappointed.  


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Super Easy Saturday Enchilada Casserole

Can I just tell you that I absolutely cannot stand cooking on Saturdays.  It's not really the cooking I guess as much as the cleaning up after I am done.  But it's not always realistic to go out on Saturdays if we just went out on Friday.  Sometimes we have leftovers or go to a friends or family members house but sometimes there aren't any leftovers and we have no plans. Bummer! That means the mommy must make something nutritious for her little family.  So here is what the Veggie Monster came up with, drum- roll please.... The Super Easy Saturday Enchilada Casserole.  This recipe can obviously be altered in so many ways.  So feel free to add or substitute any ingredients that you have available at your house.


Super Easy Saturday Enchilada Casserole
3 Ezequiel Sprouted Wheat Tortillas
1/2 can tomato sauce
3/4 cup salsa (can substitute one can enchilada sauce for the salsa and tomato sauce)
1 red bell pepper (I sauteed it first in a pan, not sure it is necessary)
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
1-2 cups shredded cheddar (or Daiya shredded Cheddar for Vegan option)
Optional:
Avocado
Cilantro
Sour cream

1. Spread some tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Place one tortilla on top.
2.  Top with some pinto beans, corn, salsa, bell pepper, and cheese.
3. Place another tortilla on top and repeat step 2.
4. Place last tortilla on top, pour remaining salsa, tomato sauce, and cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

See who says vegetarian food has to be complicated and expensive.  This is a super easy and inexpensive meal.  Complete with protein, fiber, whole grain, and veggie power of course. Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Also, if you try some alternate things that work well in this dish let me know.

The verdict: The hubs liked it.  I know it wasn't anything fabulous but he got fed, lol. The boys just ate bean and cheese burritos because they were so hungry they couldn't wait the 30 minutes.  My daughter liked it but thought it was a bit spicy.  If you are very sensitive to spicy I would recommend using a mild salsa, mine was medium.  The avocado on top definitely helps off set the spicy taste.  I bet sour cream would have also but we didn't have any.  Did you all know that instead of sour cream we have been using Greek yogurt?  It almost tastes the same without all the added fat and calories.  Plus, you get tons of protein and healthy bacteria.  My husband who loves his full-fat sour cream now prefers the Greek yogurt.

My husband promised the kids a movie and ice cream sundaes. Not exactly healthy, I know.  We are still a work in progress. ;)


Friday, February 10, 2012

Tempeh Mushroom Enchiladas

My daughter loves creamy white chicken enchiladas.  So I invented something that tasted creamy and meaty without the meat of course.  I have to say they came out really well.  She really liked them as did everyone in the family.


White Enchiladas Recipe

Homemade Cream of Mushroom  (you can make the cream without the mushrooms)
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. Tempeh
1/2 T chili powder
1/3 cup salsa
10 corn tortillas (can use any kind)
1 small pkg. mushrooms

Prepare the tempeh by simmering in 2 1/2 cups water with 1/2 cup soy sauce for 20 minutes.

Homemade cream of mushroom
3 T butter or oil
3 T cornstarch or flour
1/4 T salt
1 1/4 cup soymilk, broth, or stock (I used plain soymilk)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
2 T chopped onion
1 8oz. cube of cream cheese (or cheese of choice)

Melt butter or oil in saucepan. Cook mushroom and onion. Stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add liquid slowly, stirring with wire whisk to prevent lumps. Cook until thick. Makes 1 cup or 1 can of condensed soup.  It was too thick so I added about 1 cup of the soy sauce water from the tempeh. I also added 1/2 cup of medium salsa and cream cheese to the cream of mushroom.  My daughter said it was pink sauce not white.

In a pan I sauteed the rest of the onion and the rest of the mushrooms in 1T oil. Then with a fork I mashed the tempeh and mixed it all together. I also added the chili powder here.  It was a little spicy for my kids, I would reduce the amount of chili powder next time. Then I poured about 1 cup of the soy sauce water into the bottom of my 9x13 pan.  I rolled the tempeh mixture into the tortillas, placed them in the pan seam side down, then poured the white sauce over the top, and topped with sliced black olives.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Top with avocado slices.  Everything is better with avocado on it! Well, almost everything. :)

The kids actually ate it and liked it.  They couldn't even tell there was mushrooms in it.  Nolan who complains about everything ate every single bite. Progress? Maybe, just maybe I am making some progress. Steve had a cold and he couldn't really taste much.


Quinoa patties

I had quinoa cooked and ready to make some quinoa patties.    I combined the quinoa patty recipe with a falafel recipe and the outcome was terrible.  :( I think the problem was that I pureed the quinoa (as I would have done with the chickpeas for the falafel recipe) and it turned into mush.  Regardless, I hate throwing away food so I scooped it onto parchment paper and baked them.

The verdict: Juliana didn't like them, Nolan ate them with ketchup and said they were good, Dean wouldn't try them, Veggie Monster ate them but didn't care for them, and Steve didn't have a comment (I know what that means).

The following day I was at Trader Joe's and they were sampling Chicken-less Orange Chicken and some fried rice.  The kids absolutely loved them and begged me to get them.  It was late and I agreed and bought them.  There wasn't very many in the bag so I thought I would just eat the leftover quinoa patties.  But then I had a fabulous idea, I pan fried the patties with the "chicken" pieces and then drizzled the orange sauce over them.  Woohoo!! They were yummy this time.  Below is the recipe for the quinoa patties.  My recommendations are to not puree the quinoa and definitely fry them.


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
  • 4T ground flax seeds, mixed with 9T water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • handful of parsley
  • handful cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup panko Japanese bread crumbs

1. Mix all ingredients together. This is where I pureed my ingredients. 
2. Form into balls and fry in 1-2 T oil (I used coconut and loved the taste but any oil would work)
3. Cook until crispy and flip them.  Pour orange sauce over them.  I used the kind that came in the chicken less orange chicken from Trader Joes. I am sure you can just make your own.



The green beans were cooked in a tiny bit of coconut oil too and they were mmmm delicious!

The whole family liked them this time.  No leftovers :)







Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade salsa and "refried beans"

I absolutely love this easy and delicious dinner.  Homemade refried beans with no added oil or fat, can it be true? Yes, yes, yes it is absolutely true and way better than the full fat version.  This recipe is full of flavor.  Beans are inexpensive and a good source of protein and fiber.  Here is what you do...

Put all the following ingredients into a crockpot
2 cups pinto beans
5 cups of water
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1t coriander
2 bay leaves
2 T tomato paste (I had some diced tomatoes from the other night, I used those instead)
1 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook on low for 10 hrs or on high 5-6 hrs.  When the beans are soft remove the 2 bay leaves and mash them with a potato masher. I got this recipe from my friend Morgan's fabulous blog littlehouseofveggies.com the only difference is I don't add the olive oil.  I have tried it both ways and it doesn't seem to make a difference.  We put the beans on crispy tostada shells and topped with homemade salsa, lettuce, and avocado. Oh yeah baby!!

Now for the salsa. My mom shops at Cardenas Mexican market and they were having a sale on roma tomatoes 5 lbs. for a $1.  So she bought me 5 lbs. of tomatoes. We don't like spicy at our house so I didn't use a jalapeno but my mom always does.  For the fresh and tasty salsa you will need...

3 Roma tomatoes, (boiled, about 3-4 minutes until the skin splits)
1 small onion, or half or a quarter of a lg. onion
2 cloves of garlic
sm. handful of cilantro (about 1/4 of a cup)
1 or 2 t of salt (depending on how salty you like it)

Place all ingredients in your blender. Use the chop button and let it spin for 20-30 seconds. Not too long because you don't want it completely blended.  My salsa was a little spicy because of the onion.

The verdict: The beans were a big hit with everybody.  Steve asked where the salsa came from and was very impressed with it.  This is one of my favorite meals to make and eat. :)


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies


I love cookies.  I love cookies even more if they are a little healthier than your traditional cookie.  My kids needed something for their lunches, so I made these last night.  I took a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and changed the ingredients to healthier options.  I love the result. Give them a try!

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 T honey
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave
2 T flaxseed mixed in 6 T water (or 2 eggs)
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Mix ingredients together. Put tablespoon size balls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes. Try not to eat all the cookie dough like I did.

Debbie's Pad Thai


I was shopping at Sprouts the other day with my kids and they saw these Asian rice noodles and they just begged to have them. Don't ask why, I guess they just looked cool to them.  Anyhow, I ended up buying a box that said Pad Thai and another box of rice noodles that says Maifun. Pad Thai I have heard of but Maifun, no clue.  It has been a really long time since I have had pad thai but I remember I really liked it.  So I set out to find a recipe for pad thai.  The recipe inspiration came from here http://vegetarian.about.com/od/thaifoodrecipes/r/veganpadthai.htm.  Although my version is quite a bit different since I didn't have all the ingredients, surprise surprise.

Pad Thai rice noodles 8 oz. box cooked according to box directions, drained
1 orange bell pepper, cut anyway you like, I cut into strips and then cut the strips in half
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced and cut
2 T oil, I only had canola but sesame would be better
1-2 T cilantro, optional
2 T sliced almonds, optional
diced Tempeh (I used Tempeh), tofu, or chicken

Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 T peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 t red pepper flakes, more if you like spicy

Whisk together sauce ingredients.

In a large skillet saute the onion, peppers, and garlic in the oil.  When it starts to get soft add the chopped cabbage (the cabbage doesn't take long to cook) for another couple of minutes.

Add the noodles, sauce, cilantro, and almonds.

Serve hot.



Veggie Monster approved, children not so much. Steve liked it but said it needed more sauce.  So I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.  The noodles really soak up all the sauce quite fast.  My daughter liked it but said it was more of a side dish and Steve said he would have to agree.  The boys scrunched up their faces and ran for the hills lol. Nolan did end up trying it at least but he just shook his head no. Oh well, I tried.
Needless to say I had plenty of left overs for the next day and the next.  I ate it cold on top of a beautiful green salad. MMM good!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pear-Kiwi Monster Smoothie

I was craving something, something sweet and delicious.  I thought about making cookies or just eating some chocolate chips with peanut butter.  But I knew I shouldn't because I have been actually doing really well about putting healthy things into my body, so why go and ruin that.  So I took some inventory of the things around my kitchen and came up with a fabulous smoothie.  Pear sounded so weird to put in a smoothie but I have seen some other recipes that called for pear so I thought I would give it a try.

1 ripe pear (cored)
1 kiwi
1 clementine (cutie, I love that name)
2 cups spinach (mine was frozen but fresh is fine too)
2 T lemon juice
1 T ground flax seeds
1/2 cup water
a couple of ice cubes if you like it super cold

I was so pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was! Go Veggie Monster.  Hopefully that was just the pick-me-up that I needed.

Tofu Fajitas

The other night I made the lentil quinoa loaf which was quite a process.  So last night I wanted something quick, easy, and delicious.  We love fajitas.  Obviously, I am a new blogger and don't quite got the hang of it down therefore you will have to use your imagination because I forgot to take a picture.  My pictures don't come out so great anyway.

Tofu Fajitas:
1 red, yellow, and green bell pepper sliced into thin strips
1 19oz pkg. firm tofu (drained and pressed dry)
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil (or any kind)
salt and pepper to taste
tortillas
cheese
sour cream
avocado

In a large pan add 1 T olive oil and crumble the tofu into it. Saute for about 15 min.  Add taco seasoning and salt and pepper. We like our tofu to get nice and brown, make sure to stir so it doesn't stick and burn to the bottom.  In a different large pan add the other tablespoon of oil and the sliced onions and pepper.  Saute those until soft. Mix the peppers/onions with the tofu crumbles and add salsa and additional salt and pepper if needed.  Serve on a warm tortilla with cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

The verdict: My husband said, "is this meatless? It's really good." Really, really, did he just say that! I was so happy he liked it.  My 9yr. old wouldn't come to the table because she said she knew it was t-o-f-u. lol.  She eventually gave in, tried it, and liked it.  My 7 yr. old ate it with cheese and sour cream but no veggies and liked it and of course my 4 yr. old wouldn't even try it (he doesn't like tortillas). Such a fast and easy dinner and super delicious and nutritious.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf/Roasted Broccoli/Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

I follow a bunch of different recipe blogs and I get new posts on my facebook page.  This morning I saw a post for Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa loaf  by Emily Malone of dailygarnish.com.  I thought it sounded a bit weird but I had all the ingredients (mostly).  So I set out to attempt this while the baby was napping.  You can find the original recipe on her blog but below is the way I made it.

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups water (with 1 teaspoon garlic salt and some pepper)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds (I only had raw so I put some oil in a pan and let them brown a bit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons prepared salsa with 1/2 cup chopped pineapple bits (or pre-made fruit salsa)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then start by combining quinoa, lentils, vegetable broth, and orange juice in either a sauce pot or rice cooker. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, and the lentils and quinoa are cooked.
Meanwhile, finely dice the mirepoix vegetables – celery, carrots, and onions. Dice them evenly and as small as you can, because pieces too big will make it harder for the loaf to bind together. Sauté the vegetables in olive olive over medium high heat until they begin to soften.

In a small dish, combine chia seeds and 1/2 cup water, and let sit for five minutes until thickened. It should be gel-like after a few minutes, and will serve as an egg replacement. You can also use ground flax seeds mixed with water.  (If you prefer, you can also sub in 3 eggs.)


Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cranberries, sunflower seeds, and apple cider vinegar to the pan. Remove from heat.
Stir in the cooked lentils and quinoa once they are ready, along with the chia seed mixture, add salt and stir the mixture until well incorporated.
Press firmly into a greased loaf pan, making sure to push mixture flush against all the edges
Spoon salsa over the top to form a coating. I used Pace salsa because that's all I had and added chopped pineapple.  You can make your own fruit salsa or buy some pre-made.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Allow loaf to cool slightly before cutting carefully. 

I also made some roasted broccoli that was a nice change from your usual steamed broccoli.  


1 head of broccoli washed and chopped, dry well
couple tablespoon of olive oil
about 2 teaspoons salt, I just eyeballed it
toss to coat
put on a baking sheet and cook at 450 for 20 min
sprinkle with the juice of 1 lemon and some Parmesan cheese. 

Lastly, I made some mashed potatoes with cauliflower for some added veggie goodness and lots of vitamins. I just boiled six potatoes and added one head of cauliflower when the potatoes were almost done.  Then cooked until soft.  Then I drained the water and added 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1cup plain soy milk (can use regular), and salt and pepper to taste.  MMM!
So there you have it.  Dinner is served.

The verdict: I loved it.  The veggie loaf was delicious as was everything else.  The loaf didn't really stay together in loaf form, I might try adding some bread crumbs next time.  Hubby really liked the mashed potatoes and said the loaf was fine.  He also said broccoli is broccoli but he liked it more than the steamed version. He is hard to impress. My 9 yr. old liked it after adding ketchup to it. My 7 yr. old ate each bite of the loaf with a bite of pineapple and finished off his mashed potatoes and broccoli and of course my 4 yr. old wouldn't touch the veggie loaf because he could see it had carrots in it.  He did eat the mashed potatoes and the broccoli and some fruit.  Overall, I have to say this was a success for the veggie monster.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whole wheat rainbow pizza

Last night I made pizza.  Pizza is normally greasy and filled with calories, probably why it tastes so good.  I was on a mission to make a good and healthy pizza and I think I did just that.  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com

  • For the dough:
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
    3. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for a few minutes.
    4. Roll dough on a floured pizza pan and poke a few holes in it with a fork.
    5. Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved.
    6. Then top with favorite sauce and toppings. Cook 5-10 min longer until cheese melts.
    7. I used three different colored bell peppers and artichoke hearts.
    8. For the sauce I just used some tomato paste that I had left over from the night before and sprinkled it with oregano, basil, and garlic salt. 

The verdict: Hubby was pleasantly surprised by the thin crispy crust. He thought the peppers were too sweet but that's what I liked about it.  The kids picked off the peppers but at least they had a green smoothie with their pizza. Overall, I think it was a success.

P.S. The brown things on the pizza is seitan pepperoni (meatless).  I won't give the recipe to that since I don't think it was that great.  If and/or when I come up with a good meatless pepperoni then I will post.  



Fruit and Yogurt snack/Smoothies

My 4 yr. old doesn't eat vegetables at least none that he knows of.  He usually gets his daily dose of a green vegetable through a big glass of green smoothie.  He loves fruit so today for lunch he ate a big bowl of blackberries, cuties, and bananas with strawberry yogurt.  Now his little body is filled with good stuff and he ate way more fruit than he would normally have.  So I don't have a picture of a green smoothie but you can picture it I'm sure.  It is vividly green liquid.  My boys favorite green smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1 cup frozen fruit (any variety) we use the kind from Costco with mango, pineapple, papaya.
1-2 cups milk (I like rice milk or soy milk)
2 cups spinach
1 T honey

Blend and enjoy.

My daughters favorite green smoothie recipe:
1 banana
1 cup milk
1 cup spinach
6 ice cubes
1 T peanut butter
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 T honey

Veggie Monster's favorite green smoothie:
1 cup Dark chocolate almond milk
1 T natural peanut butter
1 t cocoa powder
6 ice cubes
1 banana
1 cup spinach


Veggie Monster Ratatouille

I bought an eggplant the other day because I heard that it has ridiculous good vitamins.  Some of the ways I normally eat eggplant are eggplant parmigiana and an eggplant casserole my mom taught me how to make.  This time I wanted to try something different.  I found a recipe on a vegan blog but changed it since I didn't have all the proper ingredients.  You will learn that about me, I normally will sub stuff in and sub stuff out depending what's in my kitchen that day.  Another thing you will soon learn about me is that I am not a very good planner but I have gotten pretty good at substituting and still coming up with a great version.  So here is my version of a fast and easy Ratatouille.....

1 eggplant, cut into small chunks
1 green pepper, diced or 1 zucchini diced or whatever vegetable you have :)
1 can White beans, drained (can substitute any kind of beans)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbl. basil
1 t. oregano
1 t. thyme
1 Tbl. oil
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 t agave (honey will work also)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (can use tomato sauce and omit water)
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta

1) Heat a large skillet with olive or coconut oil spray (or just use a few tbsp water). Sautee the eggplant with the garlic till the eggplant is getting nice and brown (about 8 minutes).
2) Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste or tomato sauce, water, agave, basil, oregano, thyme. Heat through. Test for seasoning, and add more of whatever herbs you like.

The Verdict: Hubby thought it was good.  9 yr. old said, "not bad", 7 yr. old said,"ewww gross stay away from me with that disgusting ratatouille." I said he had to eat 2 bites, he shoveled the two bites into his mouth and then exclaimed, "not bad".  4 yr. old wouldn't even touch the stuff.  I thought the sauce should have simmered a little longer.  Not bad considering it was a super quick meal chock full of nutrition. 







Monday, January 16, 2012

Broccoli/Cauliflower Cheese Soup

I love making soup because it's so hard to mess up.  Chopped up broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge = broccoli cauliflower soup.  So this recipe is not exactly vegan because I used regular butter and then my daughter added cheese to her soup.  But like I said before we are taking baby steps.  At least she ate a big nutritious bowl of broccoli and cauliflower.  My hubby said it didn't need the cheese, it was already cheesy enough.

 Broccoli nutrition facts: The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2#ixzz1jftWSt5k

Cauliflower nutrition facts: The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6,                                                                                                     Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Manganese.
Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2391/2#ixzz1jftw95v9

So there you have it several good reasons to eat your broccoli and cauliflower.  I omitted the cheese and actually used nutritional yeast to give it the cheesy flavor.  Nutritional yeast is a good source of protein, low in sodium, and zero saturated fat unlike cheddar cheese which is extremely high in saturated fat and sodium.  

The verdict: The hubby said,"good soup, babe".  9 yr. old ate it and said mmm but then added shredded cheddar to her bowl.  7 yr. old had a scowl on his face licked the spoon and spit. 4 yr. old won't even get near it.  The veggie monster likes it of course and the baby well she's not old enough to enjoy this yet.  

Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup
1 head of broccoli and half a head of cauliflower chopped
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 cup nutritional yeast (can use shredded cheddar)
1 cup unbleached flour
4 T butter (or vegan butter)
8 cups water
1T + 1 tsp. salt 
pepper to taste
Steam your broccoli, cauliflower, and onion about 15 min. or until soft.  In a big pot add in your dry ingredients: butter (first let it melt) then add the nutritional yeast, flour, and salt.  Whisk in water and turn heat on med/high.  Put in minced garlic. Put in bouillon cubes and continue stirring until it thickens to desired consistency. Add broccoli, cauliflower,  and onion.  Mix and serve hot.