Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Veganize It!

I loved Ali's Roasted Broccoli Soup because it is so easy and delicious. I'm trying to get away from meat and dairy products where I can so I veganized this soup. You don't miss the chicken stock, butter or cream for one second. It's delicious either way!

I usually roast the broccoli in the morning while I'm getting breakfast ready or lunches prepared. Then I make the soup right before dinnertime because it's so quick to make.

Vegan Roasted Broccoli Soup
Inspired by Ali's Roasted Broccoli Soup

3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1-2 T olive oil (to toss with broccoli)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T olive oil (to saute onions and garlic)
3 small shallots, chopped (1/2 cup at least)
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups veggie stock, preferably homemade
1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 t lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425. Toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over two cookie sheets so as not to crowd them. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss and return to oven. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss and check broccoli. Depending on how big or small you cut the florets, this may be enough time. You want them to be tender and a bit charred on the edges. Return to the oven if they need a few more minutes.

Pour oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 7-9 minutes. You want it sweet and soft and NOT brown. Then add garlic, cook for about a minute or two, being careful not to brown. Add the veggie stock and the roasted broccoli. Bring to a quick boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender or a blender (for the smoothest results try a Vitamix!), puree the soup until very smooth. Stir in the almond milk and lemon zest. Season to taste and serve.

You can also use a pinch of herbs from your garden or fridge if you have them. I used a pinch of lemon thyme but other herbs would be great too.

More Madhur Jaffrey

If I haven't already convinced you to buy  "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey" here is one more reason... Swiss Chard with Ginger & Garlic.  Super easy. Great flavor.

I served this with leftovers from the night before:

Rice Pilaf with Almonds & Raisins
Pan Grilled Zucchini
Red Lentils with Ginger

I chopped up the leftover zucchini and tossed it with the rice. Reheated the rice and the lentils on the stove and sauteed the Swiss Chard. A delicious vegan dinner in 10 minutes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Creamy, Brothy, Earthy, Hearty

Great soup inspiration from Mark Bittman. I love how he is really simplifying recipes like this and showing how easy it is to make delicious food without a lot of prep or ingredients.

The pathetic thing is that this article is from March 3rd and I literally just read it a few days ago. Could I be more backed up in my reading?
I did just clear out my veggie drawer this morning and made a delicious veggie stock to use for soups. Can't wait to try some of his simple ones.  
C's Homemade Veggie Stock
1 yellow onion, quartered
1/2 head of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
3 carrots, chopped large
3 celery stalks, chopped large
leftover fennel scraps (1 or 2 cups worth), rough chop
1/2 t whole peppercorns (only use whole peppercorns, never ground)
1 bay leaf
few sprigs lemon thyme
few sprigs parsley
Throw it in a pot, fill it with water, bring it to a boil, simmer for 1-3 hours.

Strain it through a fine sieve. I like to squeeze the veggies to release as much liquid as possible, then re-strain. Use, refrigerate or freeze.

Simple & Delicious Appetizer

My friend Amanda made this delicious appetizer. I can't wait to make it for myself, either for a light lunch or the next time we entertain, especially now that strawberries are in season and in abundance at the farmers market.
Amanda's Strawberry-Balsamic Goat Cheese Crostinis

plain goat cheese
1 pint strawberries – chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, enough just to coat the berries (use your good stuff)
1/8 cup fresh basil chopped
1 baguette, sliced and toasted

Cover the strawberries with balsamic vinegar but don’t drench. Let it sit for about an hour, then mix in the basil about 20 minutes before you assemble. In a pinch you could assemble it all at once but it really tastes the best if you have time to let the flavors come together. Toast the baguette slices, spread each with goat cheese and put the strawberry mixture on top. .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Almost Vegan Robbcakes


I just made Robbcakes with a few minor adjustments. I used coconut milk instead of milk and peanut butter instead of butter. They would be vegan if it weren't for the egg. They were healthy and delicious. They aren't your basic pancake so don't think you're getting some light and fluffy restaurant pancake. They are dense and healthy but for some reason my kids and I love them. The syrup makes them sweet so that's why the kids will gobble them up.

Almost Vegan Robbcakes

Buckwheat pancake mix
1 egg
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp honey
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup tolled oats
coconut oil
peanut butter

Mix first 5 ingredients until smooth, then add a handful of rolled oats. Cook pancakes on a hot grill with coconut oil. Top with peanut butter and syrup.

* I usually make Robbcakes with bananas but I didn't use them today. They weren't as sweet but they were still good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Five Things I'm Obsessed with This Week


1. The Garlic Cilantro Buddha Bowl from Thrive (sans taco "meat", avec kale) - I'm OBSESSED!

2. Magenta Love juice from Thrive

3. Bracelets online at Totokaelo

4. Turkish Delight cocktail and the cucumber water at Poppy

5. Justin Beiber Never Say Never (yes, you read that right. I not only watched his movie, I LOVED his movie.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vegan Nights


Here are two of my vegan dinners courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey (recipes I previously blogged about here). Basically the same dinner, served slightly different. I couldn't resist showing both pictures.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Virtues of Vegan Grilling

The June issue of Food & Wine magazine offers an article on "The Virtues of Vegan Grilling" with several tasty looking recipes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Your Homework for the Weekend

Whether you're an adult in therapy, or an adult who isn't in therapy because you don't think you need it but maybe you really do, or an adult who thought they had a perfect childhood but has some emptiness now, or if you're a parent to a small child that you'll probably screw up, or a parent to an older child who you've already screwed up, here is an interesting article for you. (And I say this with humor because no one is perfect and we all have our issues that could use some therapy, right?!)
"How to Land Your Kid in Therapy"

(Thanks for sharing Clare!)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No More Dirty Looks

My friend Michele sent me this great site called No More Dirty Looks which is full of health info that's right up my alley. Great Tips for Eating Vegan and a fun 30 Day Vegetarian Challenge among other things... recipes, inspiration, beauty product info and more. 

Photo for the day... The Vegan Food Pyramid.

(Thanks for sending my way Michele! Thinking of you!!!!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Funny Video: Whole Foods Parking Lot


It gets funnier as you watch. I like when he goes into the store.

(Thanks Al for sharing!)

Coll's Grilled Chicken Tacos

Like I said, I'm leaning into the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle so we're still eating some meat. Tonight I made these grilled chicken tacos for the second time and I'm really enjoying this new preparation....

The grilled chicken is great with the marinade. There's no cheese and just a touch of sour cream so they're really light. The toppings make the tacos taste fresh and offer a bit of crunch. The sauce is packed with flavor. They're easy to prep and fast to assemble.

I served these tacos with grilled broccolini and asparagus and a green salad.

Coll's Grilled Chicken Tacos

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Marinade & spicy cilantro sour cream sauce, recipe below
Flour tortillas
Green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled into strips
2 radishes, sliced paper thin
Cilantro leaves removed from stems

Rinse the chicken, then scrub with a good amount of kosher salt and rinse again. Cut each chicken breast into 3 or 4 thin strips. Pat dry, then toss with marinade and sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

When you're ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 350. Combine the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. Set out in an assemblyline next to radishes, cilantro leaves and sour cream sauce. Fire up the grill to high heat. Loosely wrap tortillas in some foil and place in the preheated oven. Once the grill is hot, lower temperature to medium and grill chicken until cooked through. I like to have some good grill marks on each piece. Remove and let sit for a minute. Slice into large bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Pull out tortillas and layer your tacos...

Warm tortilla
Cabbage/carrot slaw
Grilled chicken slices
Cilantro leaves
Spicy cilantro sour cream sauce

I like to make the tacos for guests so they look pretty and have everything layered in the right order. Having them layered in this way helps prevent the tortilla from getting soggy and they look pretty with all the colors.

Marinade & Spicy Cilantro Sour Cream Sauce
Inspired by these Chicken Fajitas

3 cloves garlic
3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (roughly one cup)
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded & roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/3 cup lime juice (roughly 3 limes)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream

Mince garlic, then sprinkle with kosher salt and smash into a paste with the edge of a large knife. You now want to mix the garlic, green onions, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro into a sauce. If you have a Vitamix, use that and add it all at once, then mix until smooth. If you have a mini Cuisinart, add the green onion and jalapeno first to mince. Then add the cilantro, then the lime juice and garlic. Either way, finish with salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Divide sauce among two bowls. Mix half the sauce with the cumin and olive oil. This is your marinade. Mix the other half with the sour cream. This is your spicy cilantro sour cream sauce for the top of the tacos. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made the day ahead.

* Marinade is also great for prawns. Spicy cilantro sour cream sauce is also perfect for these delicious Cajun flavored fish tacos.

Monday, June 13, 2011

All Eyes on Seattle

While you sit around, inside of course, complaining about the weather in Seattle, why not take a moment to read about some of the reasons why we continue to suffer through it...

This past Sunday's New York Times Travel section highlights the Seattle food scene, and what a great food scene it is. We are so lucky.

"Seattle, a Tasting Menu"

And stay tuned for my two cents on eating at Lummi Island's Willows Inn, along with some great photos of our meal.

A Vegan Home Run

Friday night I made three new dishes from my new fave cookbook "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey" and WOW! - what a meal! It was such a flavorful dinner that everyone had huge second helpings. This entire meal was 100% Vegan and 100% delicious. We all commented that you don't miss meat or dairy when you're eating food that's this good. Can't wait to try more from Madhur Jaffrey.

The three dishes I made from her cookbook on Friday were:

Rice Pilaf with Almonds & Raisins
Pan Grilled Zucchini
Red Lentils with Ginger

All three were great and complimented each other well. The red lentils with ginger were the star of the show. I also made grilled asparagus and broccolini which couldn't be easier. Toss both with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to toss the broccolini with a few red pepper flakes as well. Throw on a hot grill for 3-10 minutes (depending on thickness) and you have a delicious veggie course in minutes. I especially love when the broccolini gets a little charred on the grill. It makes for some great flavor.

Eating vegan doesn't have to feel like you're depriving yourself. It all depends what you put together. Try it once a week and see what you think!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vegan Night Chez Moi

My friend Ali recommended the cookbook "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey". She raved about the author, her cookbooks, and her recipes. After hearing more of the details and recipes from this book specifically, I was convinced I needed it. Upon receiving the book I went through every recipe and dog eared the ones I wanted to make. Never have I owned a cookbook with so many dog eared pages. Hooray - something new and exciting. So now that I've gone through Gwyneth's book and tested a ton of recipes, I'm moving on to Madhur's book. First order of business was trying out a vegan night.

Last night I made Madhur's Spicy Chickpeas with Potatoes and her Basic Basmati Rice. I served these two dishes with grilled asparagus and Ali's Spinach Salad with Fennel & Apples (I always make enough dressing to serve this two nights in a row).

This was such a fantastic dinner. If eating vegan is this easy then why wouldn't I lean into it more?! I would be happy eating a meal like this any night of the week. My husband said the same thing. Packed with flavor, colors, textures, and spice. Loved this meal. I'm off to eat leftovers now and couldn't be more excited. Ciao for now!

My "Ali" Meatless Night

I'm on a new mission to find great dinner recipes and menus that are meatless. My friend Ali told me about this great roasted broccoli soup that she makes. She raved about how easy it was, and come on - who doesn't love the taste of roasted broccoli?!

I served this soup with Ali's amazing Spinach Salad with Fennel & Apples for a fantastic and completely satisfying meatless night dinner. 

Instead of milk or cream to finish the soup I used almond milk. It was a great substitution. It made it creamy and delicious without using dairy. Next time I will skip the butter and use veggie stock instead of chicken to see if this soup can do more than just lean into it. Can it really go all the way vegan and not disappoint? Stay tuned to find out!

Ali's Roasted Broccoli Soup
Inspired by Creamy Broccoli Soup

3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1-2 T olive oil (to toss with broccoli)

1 T butter
1-2 T olive oil (for sauteing)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk, cream or yogurt (I used 1/2 cup almond milk)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over two cookie sheets so as not to crowd them. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss and return to oven. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss and check broccoli. Depending on how big or small you cut the florets, this may be enough time. You want them to be tender and a bit charred on the edges. Return to the oven if they need a few more minutes.

In a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Add onion and saute for 7-9 minutes (leeks would be really nice too, or shallots). You want it sweet and soft and NOT brown. This is key, as that sweet onion flavor is the base. Then add garlic, cook for about a minute or two, being careful not to brown. Add the chicken stock (or veggie stock!) and the roasted broccoli. Bring the broth to a quick boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender or a Vitamix, puree the soup until very smooth. Stir in the milk. Season to taste and serve. 

Leaning Into It a Bit More

I'm learning more about more about the effects of meat and dairy on our health and it's freaking me out a bit. I'm not mentally prepared to go vegan right now, or even full vegetarian, but I am most definitely ready to take another step in that direction; to lean into it a little more. We've decided to eat less meat and dairy at home and when eating out, and to also make more of an effort with our kids who eat a ton of meat and dairy.

The beauty with "leaning into it", whether a slow lean or a heavy lean, is that there are no rules. I'm finding my own path, inspired by others, and hopefully inspiring a reader or two along the way.

Here are a few things I've done lately to eat less meat...

- I'm trying to serve every meal with two vegetables instead of one. This helps fill the plate with whole foods that are plant based instead of more meat.

- I had two thawed bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for dinner. Instead of making them for our main course, I roasted them and sliced the meat. I used the meat for Chicken Caesar Salads (using PCC's vegan dressing which I love) for two nights. Instead of those two chicken breasts feeding two adults I was able to stretch it for two adults and two kids one night, and four adults and two kids the next night. That's two chicken breasts for ten servings! Not bad. I did use parmesan in the salad and served bread with cheese (crostinis with cambozola - yum!) so I'm not cutting out cheese here either, but making baby steps to eat less. I also served the chicken caesar with two veggies instead of one so nobody left the table hungry or unsatisfied.

- This week I made my Ma Pa Tofu. I skipped the pork and used half chicken stock and half veggie stock. It wasn't as good as the regular recipe but it was good enough. Served with rice and two veggies and again, everyone left full and satisfied.

- I've been making fried rice and using extra veggies. I also use a bit more oil so I can use less butter. Finally I top it with sauteed kale instead of a fried egg.

- I've been googling and going through all my cookbooks looking for vegetarian options.

- I have my fridge stocked with various options for milk... regular for my kids plus coconut, almond, soy and rice. I use different milk for different needs.

- I'm trying to get away from making cheese quesadillas or grilled cheese as my go-to lunch for myself or the kids. Instead I'm doing more juice, smoothies, leftovers, salads and fruit.

- I'm going to prepare more ethnic vegetarian dishes because they're so packed with flavor. Who doesn't love a great green curry over rice. Just skip the chicken and add more veggies.

- I made homemade vegetable stock to freeze and use in place of chicken stock. If I'm not going to use the chicken stock, I might as well have a really great veggie stock since the store bought ones are never as good.

Are you eating less meat and dairy? Where are you skipping it, what are you eating instead, and where are you giving yourself the ok to cheat?

A Man with a Mixer

I never would have pegged my husband as the kind of guy who would get an itch to bake cookies but it's like clockwork and every few months he's googling for recipes. Ever since he bit into a warm chocolate chip cookie at Delancey, that had a sprinkle of sea salt on top, he's been craving it and talking about it. This week he finally did something to satisfy the craving. He found a recipe titled "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!" that has sea salt and was back to baking.

How were they, you ask? Delicious! Especially eaten a few minutes out of the oven so they're still soft and warm. They're a little hard and crispy the next day but still great.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More on Meat

"What’s So Bad About Meat?" is a short piece by Mark Bittman along with links to several other very interesting articles.

The article "Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler" is especially interesting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Smoothies 101

This one is for you J-Dub! :)

Any halfway healthy home in America should have enough of these ingredients on hand to whip up a healthy smoothie. You can go healthier for breakfast and lunch or make a sweeter one for dessert. For the most part I don't buy ingredients for smoothies. If I'm in the mood I just open the fridge and grab what I have that day - a base, frozen fruit, fresh fruit, a veggie or two and maybe a little something else.

I know a lot of moms are worried about including green ingredients, arguing that their kids won't drink it if it's green. I advise that as long as you use frozen blueberries and something orange or red, you will usually end up with a purple smoothie. Throw in straw and what kid wouldn't drink that?!

If you're new to smoothies, check out the website for Thrive or Healeo for inspiration on what type of smoothie to create. They have tons of great concoctions.

Coconut milk
Almond milk
Rice milk
Coconut water
Apple juice
Orange juice

Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
Mangos (fresh or frozen)
Peach (fresh or frozen)
Pineapple (fresh or frozen)

Spinach (fresh or frozen)


Flax seed
Frozen acai
Pitted dates
Almond butter
Coconut flakes
Protein powders

Agave nectar