Friday, June 29, 2012

Crunchy Wraps

My kids and I went to the Vegfest earlier this month. It was the first time for us, and only the second year for the festival. We loved it! Seeing so many veg-friendly people gathered in one place was very exciting! There were numerous booths and displays to check out, and several places offered samples. We watched a demonstration on making kale chips. Note to self - make those chips tonight! Afterward we tried a new-for-us vegan restaurant and then hit a grocery store to pick up healthy goodies!

Getting home late I wanted to make something quick and easy. This definitely fit the bill!

Crunchy Wraps

Vegan cream cheese
Flour tortillas (we used spinach)
Shredded spinach
Shredded red cabbage
Sliced avocados
Chopped tomatoes
Diced cucumbers
Diced red onion

Spread the cream cheese on the tortilla and top with a sprinkle of the each vegetable. Roll up the tortilla and enjoy!

Even my non-vegan hubby loved these! Win!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grilled Fruit, Anyone?

Father's Day was around the corner and hubby informs me he wants everyone home and he wants to grill. That's why I love this man - he's so easy to please!

Like always, he asks me what I'd like him to make. Choices, choices! My original plan was to make a mixed grill. That might have worked out if the soyrizo I bought couldn't be sliced, but only crumbled! Oh, well, quick change of plans!

I had some Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (this was before I made my very yummy Macadamia Chick'n with Mango Salsa) and hubby volunteered to make his version of potato salad. Of course I had to throw in a different cole slaw recipe to go along with it, but I also decided to try something new. Grilled fruit. I am very happy to report how well everything turned out!

With the scallopini, we kept it very simple. Brushed the scallopini with a mixture of olive oil, salt and pepper. It was so good we had to rush out to the store to buy additional packages before the coals got cold!

Caribbean Cole Slaw

1/2 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. stevia
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. orange juice
2 t. salt
2 t. pepper
One head of red cabbage, shredded
One head of green cabbage, shredded
5 navel oranges, peeled and cut in half
One bunch of cilantro, chopped

Throw it all together and stir well. Chill until ready to eat.

Yummy in the Tummy Fruit Kabobs

Wooden skewers, soaked for about an hour
1/2 c. apple jelly
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
Pineapple chunks (I bought mine fresh from the produce section)
One package strawberries
One nectarine, cut into chunks
8 kiwi, peeled and cut in half
One frozen pound cake, cut into chunks

Combine the jelly, lemon juice and cinnamon in a pot over low heat, stirring often until it is smooth and bubbly. Take the soaked skewers and thread on the fruit and pound cake. Grill the kabobs in a covered grill, turning often to avoid burning. Brush on the jelly sauce as they are cooking. When the kabobs are heated through, remove them from the grill and serve.

Everyone enjoyed the food, but they all oohed and aahed over the beautiful kabobs. Even my *I don't like cooked fruit* diners loved these kabobs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Solstice and the Living is Easy

I live in the South. Needless to say, our summers are HOT. Last year we had a terrible drought, and the temps were regularly in three digits. I'm so happy this year we've had a goodly amount of rain and only a few days of 100+ temps.

I've read about some wonderful solstice celebrations - all outdoors - and I think how I wish I could do that here. Now, if I had my own backyard pool, all bets would be off.  We'd be outside every day!

No matter. I've been eyeing these recipes for the first day of summer for a few months now. Fortunately, the day wasn't sweltering and I was able to talk the hubby into grilling. On a weeknight. Will wonders ever cease?

Macadamia Chick'n with Mango Salsa

1/2 c. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. olive oil
1 t. grated ginger
2 packages of Gardein Chick'n Scallopini, frozen
Mustard Sauce
Chopped macadamia nuts
Mango Salsa

Combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil and grated ginger in a ziplock gallon baggie. Add the Chick'n Scallopini. Move it all around to coat and put in the freezer. Periodically pull out the baggie and give it a wiggle to continue to coat. When the coals are ready - they should be about medium hot - grill the scallopini, turning, watching, and brushing with leftover marinade until they are done.

Mustard Sauce

1/2 c. Dijon mustard
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. pineapple juice
1/4 t. ground red pepper

Stir everything together, cover and chill.

Mango Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
One green pepper, diced
One jalapeno pepper, diced
3 T. cilantro, chopped
2 T. mint, chopped
One red onion, chopped
2 T. agave nectar
1 T. lime juice
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1/4 t. salt

Stir everything together, cover and chill.

To serve: Slather the Mustard Sauce on top of the scallopini. Sprinkle on some macadamias. Top with a spoonful of the Mango Salsa.

I tried the first scallopini with just the mustard sauce and the macadamias. I thought the sauce was a little too tangy for my tastes. On the second one I added the salsa atop, and it made quite a big difference. It softens the tang of the mustard while lending a slight sweetness. Much better, so I really recommend doing it that way.

Peanutty Pasta Salad

2 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced in half moon shapes
1 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. salt
One package angel hair pasta, cooked
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
6 green onions, sliced in diagonals
Dry roasted peanuts

Whisk all the saucy ingredients together, then pour over the pasta, cucumbers, carrots and onions. Mix together well, but gently. Chill. Serve with a spoonful of dry roasted peanuts on top.

Tropical Fruit Toss

2 navel oranges
One can pineapple chunks
One banana
One kiwi
1/2 c. red seedless grapes
Shredded coconut
Chopped macadamias

Peel and slice the oranges, banana and kiwi into bite sized pieces. Mix the fruit together in a bowl. Serve with a sprinkling of the coconut and macadamias.

Now, go enjoy your summer! Just keep cool!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meatless Monday

I've been vegan for awhile now, so the idea of a meatless Monday is just every day for me. This weekend, however, I attended a Vegfest with my family, and it really brought home to me the importance of making more people aware of the benefits of eating a more plant friendly diet.

Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their goal is to introduce people to a healthier lifestyle that helps them to reduce their meat consumption by 15%. Their website offers several items of interest - from health and environment benefits of going meatless one day a week to many, many articles worth reading to loads of recipes to help you get started.

It was of interest to me to learn that the idea of Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays were introduced to the American public during World War I. Other presidents promoted the idea, as well. It is now a global movement and spreading!

The reasons for going meatless are many and I could go on (and on, and on!) about it here, but I won't. However, if you need a single incentive to get you at least started, consider this. Going meatless for just ONE DAY A WEEK will save you an estimated $600 a year in groceries alone.

You needn't buy the expensive vegetarian frozen stuff. Not at all! It's as simple as making a salad. Do salads make you think of boring lettuce and some cut up tomatoes? Here's your chance to shake things up a bit. Use whatever veggies you like in your salad. Find a salad dressing you absolutely love and delight your tastebuds with it poured atop crunchy ingredients. Experiment with different lettuces if the only one you've ever had is iceberg. Throw in some nuts if it suits your fancy. I like to grind peppercorns over my salad, but you can play around with spices and seasonings.  I discovered recently how much I really like fresh chopped cilantro in a salad, and I've always loved fresh chopped dill. Instead of croutons, try melba toast. Chomp a bite of scallion with each bite of salad. Add some cut up strawberries or mandarin oranges. The possibilities are endless! You are limited only by your imagination and a little by your budget. You can make a huge salad with plenty of leftovers for not a lot of money.

So how about it? Try going meatless for just one day a week. Just one! See what a difference it makes!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Layered Crockpot Dinner

Today is World Environment Day, so it seems appropriate that I should make a dish in my crockpot. It's cheaper, and saves energy, right?


According to Does Crock Pot Cooking Save You Money?, maybe yes and maybe no. In my house, the answer is yes, it does.

Layered Crockpot Dinner

6 potatoes, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 c. green peas
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 c. corn kernels
2-1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 t. thyme
1 t. basil
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. parsley
1/4 c. tamari soy sauce
1 t. dry mustard
2 t. chili powder
1/8 t. sage

Layer vegetables in the crock pot in the order given. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Cook on high for six hours or low for 12.

When done, stir it, serve it, enjoy it!

I liked this dish but I'm on the fence about the addition of cinnamon. Even half a teaspoon was very detectable. I might try it again without the cinnamon just to see what difference it makes. This recipe also lends itself to adding any leftover veggies you have in the fridge.

You can easily double this recipe and invite friends over while you find ways to celebrate World Environment Day. There are plenty of suggestions on things to do here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

National Cheese Day

June 4 is National Cheese Day. As a vegan, I don't eat anything made with or from animals, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy cheesy goodness! There are so many varieties and brands on the market now for vegans, it's hard not to want to try them all!

Cheeseburger Rice

One package vegan grounds
One onion, chopped
2/3 c. catsup
2 T. mustard
1/2 t. salt
Daiya shredded cheddar
Cooked rice

Saute the grounds and onion until onion is softened. Stir in the rice, catsup, mustard and salt and mix well. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let start to melt, then stir and mix it well. Serve. Enjoy!

This was such a simple dish and really quite yummy. Reminded me of a dish I made as a young Girl Scout when we were working on our cooking badge. I remember coming home and cooking it for my parents and siblings with success. I wonder if I can find that recipe somewhere and compare?
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