A vegan lunch for old college housemates

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I really lucked out when I shared a house with two girls while going to college at the University of Arizona. I found the house on the dreaded Craigslist, met the owner of the house, but did not meet the girl who would be living across the hall and sharing a bathroom with me until after I moved in! Here we are today, graduated, doing big things, and still friends. What could have turned out to be a miserable year turned out to be the beginning of a great friendship and a bond created over both of our love for FOOD. Devynn Hawley, your the best!

On December 29th, 2012, we made plans to get together for lunch, coffee, whatever… we just knew we wanted to see each other. Sure, we keep in touch through facebook, etc, but there is nothing like an in-person hangout.

I decided I would cook lunch for my amiga – just like old times! We both wanted something light and healthy after overindulging over Christmas. So, what better than a nice, nutrient-filled, vegan lunch? I decided to make acorn squash filled with a whole wheat couscous mixture of cranberries, walnuts, parsley, and green onion. I paired this with my favorite spinach salad that I used to make for Devynn all the time at the old house. It consists of grilled or sauteed onions, spinach, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar and olive oil (oh, and salt and pepper of course).

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To wash it down, I made a mocktail of Trader Joe’s Cherry Cider, Hansens Diet Soda in Tangerine-Lime, and apple slices. For dessert, we had a couple of those no-egg chocolate chip cookies I made the night before.

A vegan lunch for old college housemates

It was awesome catching up and gossiping about boys and such. I made a friend for life while living in that house and at the core is, once again, food.

Let me know if you want any of these recipes and I will gladly post them!

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Chocolate chips cookies and a tip if you don’t have eggs

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“Good food makes everything better”
A quote from my brilliant son. It is so true! Tonight the bf is sick so I made a delicious dinner and finished it up with these bad boys here shown in the picture. Chocolate makes everything better in my world plus it’s national chocolate day so I figured, sure why not? Plus I still had a bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet.

I had just creamed the butter and sugars to perfection in the stand mixture when it occurred to me… I have no eggs! The recipe called for 2 eggs! What’s a girl to do? So, being the skilled problem solver that I am, I took from my experience with vegan baking and poured some apple cider vinegar into about a half a cup of milk. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and then beat it into the butter and cream mixture. I followed the recipe as usual after that.

To my relief the cookies came out amazing! I much prefer them without the eggs now.They are not as cakey and still slightly chewy in the middle. They also are a little thinner and I like them like that. This recipe could have easily been made vegan if I had Earth Balance available instead of regular butter.

So there you have it. Don’t be afraid to be daring and take risks in the kitchen. You might discover a new trick or shortcut for something you have made million times before.

If you want the exact recipe for these chocolate chip cookies, just let me know!

Manny’s hash browns

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Like mother like son. My son, Manny, loves to cook. Today he made his famous hash browns for an afternoon snack. He used three large russet potatoes, bell peppers, hatch chile, garlic, green onions,white onions and cilantro. We cooked them first with the top on the skillet and then the last few minutes with the top off to let them crisp up. I enjoyed mine with a Blue Moon and it was awesome.

Mom’s cinnamon roll French toast

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This morning, the day after Christmas, my mom made this delicious creation. It’s already made cinnamon rolls- you know the ones in the can that pops open- cut in quarters, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and egg. She topped them with sliced almonds and baked them at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes. When they were done, they were like a cross between French toast, custard, and cinnamon rolls. They were so good with our morning coffee! Thanks, Mom!

P.S. I have a lot of catching up to do on posting so stay tuned!

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin on the Food Network

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin on the Food Network.

Making these tonight! I always like how Ellie Kreiger makes lower calorie recipes but still uses some really good ingredients – like Gruyere cheese! I’ve never made Potatoes Au Gratin so I hope they turn out delish.

Does Giada di Laurentiis have a scalloped potato recipe? If she does I couldn’t find it (sad face).

Vegan Holiday Kitchen

Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

This is a must have for your cookbook collection – vegan or non-vegan.

The Shepherds Pie is sooooo good! I make it all year and it freezes really well if you wanted to put it in individual ramekins (?sp).

Post-run snack

Post-run snack

After a late run last night, I was craving something a little salty but light. I made a quick miso soup with mushrooms and green onions and it was perfect!

Recipes for Girls Night dinner at my place

I had two of my girlfriends over for dinner two weeks ago and they loved what I made so much that they begged me on hands and knees for the recipes! Ok, they didn’t beg but either way I thought I would share them with you, too. I literally copied and pasted my email entry to my friend and put it here, so that is the reason for some of the language (you’ll see what I mean when you read it).

Apple, Sweet Onion, and Toasted Walnut Salad

Ingredients:

Romaine lettuce

Raw Spinach

Gala apple – but Honey Crisp or Granny Smith would be good here, too

Sweet onion (like Vidalia), they’re at Trader Joes right now

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper

First I put the washed and chopped romaine lettuce and spinach in a big ass bowl.

Next I chopped some walnuts and put them on a skillet on medium high heat. You gotta watch these because they go from perfectly toasted to burned in a flash! They will be brown and you will smell them when they are ready. When they are done, put them aside.

Next, I sliced one smallish onion with my mandolin so they were thinly sliced – like ¼ inch. If you don’t have a mandolin, no worries just slice them with a sharp knife. Put the onions and a good amount of olive oil  – like 2-3 Tbs – in the SAME skillet that you toasted the walnuts and sort of stir fry on medium high heat until they are turning brown and caramelized, then add some salt and pepper to taste. Once they are cooked, put the skillet aside and let them cool.

Now you’re ready to assemble. Chop or slice the apple – however you want – and top the lettuce with the apple. For the dressing, add the juice to the skillet with the onions and stir a little bit with one of those rubber spatula thingy’s. Scrape the onion mixture over the salad then take tongs and toss the salad so everything is well coated. Don’t worry if everything falls to the bottom of the huge ass bowl because you’re going to plate these salads and everything will be on top again. Wait to assemble the salad until right before you are going to serve it because the lettuce will get too wilty otherwise. After you have plated the salad, top with the roasted walnuts.

*Tip* If you like blue cheese, crumble a little on top of the salad at the end. I would have done this but I just didn’t have any when you guys came over.

 

Rosemary Garlic Chicken

First, you should know that I took the chicken breasts and cut them in half so they weren’t so big and would cook more evenly.

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken breast – I used 6 half chicken breasts so adjust depending on how much you wanna make

Rosemary – I used the leaves from two long sprigs and chopped them (fresh!)

Garlic – two cloves, diced super tiny (also fresh!)

Olive oil – a few drizzles, depends on how much you’re making

Salt and pepper

I marinated my chicken in the rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper overnight in a ziplock bag in my fridge.

The next day, get your grill pan hot and put the chicken on. I cooked them about 4 minutes on each side. I think it helps to leave the chicken out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes so they are not super cold when you put them on the grill.

And that’s it!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Vegan Cumin Aioli

There is a difference between sweet potatoes and yams but for this just use the longish orangish potatoes that are usually called “garnet yams.”

Ingredients:

For the fries:

Sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into fry-like shape

Olive oil

Chili powder (not to be mistaken with cayenne but you could use that too to make them spicy – Yum!)

Paprika

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

For the aioli:

Veganaise (but you can use regular mayo)

Juice of half a lemon

Cumin – about 1 tsp or to taste

Once your sweet potatoes are all cut up how you like, get your baking pan ready with parchment paper or foil sprayed with cooking spray – you don’t want these guys to stick. Get your oven ready at 400 degrees so it is nice and hot and ready to go – just like your man will be after he eats these ;). Next, toss the potatoes in the oil (about one Tablespoon), and the spices. I used about 1 tsp of each spice but just eyeball-it. Once the potatoes are all coated and covered evenly with the spices, put them on your baking dish and put them on the middle rack of your oven. Timing is tricky because every oven is different so I would recommend checking them every ten minutes or so to see if they are done to your liking. Shake the pan every now and then to get them moving.

While the potatoes are baking make the aioli. Put the mayo (however much you want but I used about ½ a cup) in a bowl and add the juice and cumin. Stir and let sit. The longer you let it sit them better it will be. You could always make extra and use it for dip or a spread on your sandwich.

And that’s it!

PS everywhere I say “Olive Oil” I actually mean extra virgin olive oil

Yoga Tuesday

I did really good with my menu yesterday, except I sneaked (snuck? snook?) a handful of Kettle Cooked Jalapeno chips while I was making my salad for dinner. I created another menu for today that I have been following already – so far so good. Amazingly, I am not lighter (because I weighed myself this morning) but I feel lighter. On this track of feeling lighter, I am going to do yoga tonight and really push myself to let go of all my extra tension. If you have not already tried yoga, show yourself some love and give it a shot. It’s amazing!

I am also super excited about trying a new pose tonight, Parsva Bakasana (or side crane). I got some really helpful hints from another great blogger, standandfacethesun.wordpress.com, and want to try them out while they are still fresh in my head. The plan is to eat a light healthy dinner of miso soup, stir fried veggies and brown rice. Then, I will go relax and re-center at yoga tonight from 8 – 9pm. Plus, I have a really major interview tomorrow so I need to be at my relaxed best. Wish me luck!

Tuesday menu is as follows:

Breakfast: My favorite oatmeal of whole rolled oats, coconut milk, TJ’s golden berry mix, cinnamon, and raw walnuts.

Snack: Organic gala apple, almonds

Lunch: Greek salad made with romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, English cucumber, grape tomatoes, cannelini beans and parsley. All dressed with balsalmic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

***Tip: Babyfood jars are great for making and packing your own salad dressing. You just shake the little jar to mix it up just before putting it on your salad. I also use baby food jars to store spices that I buy in bulk.***

Snack: grapes and walnuts

Dinner: Miso soup, stir fried veggies (carrot, onion, mushroom, fennel, broccolini, spinach, celery, and edamame are what I have in my fridge right now) and brown rice.

Monday food plan

Good morning! I’m sad to say I did not wake up early enough to go on my run this morning but I did drag myself downstairs, pulled my yoga mat out, and did some poses and strengthening moves for about half an hour. I’m happy I did something!

I went ahead and planned out my day in meals last night and thought I would share it. So far, I have already eaten my oatmeal and am still working on my coffee.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal prepared with one cup unsweetened coconut milk, dried fruit mix, raw walnuts, and cinnamon.

Coffee with soy creamer

Snack: 1 organic pear and 1/4 cup raw almonds

Lunch:

1 cup Snap Pea, Edamame, and Radish Salad with 1 cup brown rice

Spinach salad with tomato and goat cheese crumbles, lemon for dressing

Snack: 2 cups green grapes, 1/4 cup walnuts

Dinner: Big ass Romaine salad with canellini beans, red onion, fennel, parsley, and my delish cumin, lemon, olive oil dressing

After dinner, I am going to stick to tea if I need a sweet fix. I love Good Earth’s Original herb tea. It is naturally sweet and decaffienated. It reminds me of the Market Spice Tea I used to get at Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

I’m going to try to go for a run this evening since it is finally starting to cool down at night. Now I just need to log my meals in myfitnesspal.com so I can really see where I stand. Happy Monday!