Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Weekly Eating – Jan 25 – Feb 7

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Well, sorry about not posting for a week, there’s kind of a bit going on right now… We bought a(nother) house!

The Triangle real estate market is completely out of control right now, houses are on the market for literally a few hours and already contingent. So when the totally perfect gem came along, we had to act fast. I’ll tell that story some other time, but for now just know the next few months are gonna be HECTIC, so, apologies in advance if I slow down and/or disappear for a little while.

Anyways, 2 weekends ago was chill, just grocery shopping and chores around the house. Kiddo had a bit of a hard day with fussing, and also four outfit changes… at least we know he is well hydrated! And then on Sunday, I went for a long hike with my bestie. It is so very good to get outdoors into nature, get some nice workout time in, and spend time just talking about life with people you love.

Sunday night, sister-in-law’s boyfriend was in town so they came over for a few hours to play games and hang out. He works with patients, so he got his vaccine, second one in a few days. This is so so exciting to me, as someone who loves people, to know there’s a light at the end of this year long, lonely tunnel.

And I made a penne bake that was amaaaaazing and actually pretty healthy! The “meat” sauce was tempeh, mushrooms, and onion, but I did cover it in cheese. What can you do with two Italian loving men, ya know?

The following weekend was so great for my soul, because I got a lot of friend time. I went to Costco with some friends to mooch off their membership! We are doing a card churn with Citi to get bonus miles and need to hit a minimum spend. But, to my dismay, I found out in the checkout line that they no longer take American Express, only Visa! Tragic.

I still saved on things we would have bought anyways, but it was a bummer. Bestie also works in healthcare and has both vaccines now, so she was able to come over and play with the baby! It was the first time a non-family person was in the house in… like a year. Which is insane.

And finally, we had a distanced outdoor bonfire with another set of friends who had a baby boy just a few months after us. So it was cool to get to see how big he had gotten, and compare notes. Oh and then we bought a house.

So, anyways, here are 2 weeks worth of meals in review! (Also side note blog is not allowing photos to upload right now… sorry you can’t peek at all the deliciousness, but I’ll figure it out)

Monday:

Breakfast – banana bread with honey butter, then a ham egg and cheese breakfast bagel

Lunch – giant salad, 1 taco and a southwest salad

Snack – roasted chickpeas, and apple/peanut butter

Dinner – creamy mushroom & potato soup, and a homemade burger & fries with grilled mushrooms/onions and bleu cheese, yum!

Tuesday:

Breakfast – breakfast skillet bowl with potatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tofu sausage, and peanut butter toast + banana

Lunch – grain bowl with barley, roasted veggies, tofu, and hummus, and roasted veggies salad

Snack – popcorn and nuts

Dinner – leftover pasta bake and garlic bread, and chickpea curry with rice

Wednesday:

Breakfast – peaches & cream oatmeal, and peanut butter toast with fresh blueberries and raspberries

Lunch – giant bagged southwest salad and blueberries, and leftover burger/fries plus steamed broccoli & carrots

Snack – tea & shortbread cookies, and popcorn

Dinner – tofu & chickpea tikka masala, and salmon with roasted root veggies

Thursday:

Breakfast – potato and egg burrito

Today was NC’s first snow, and kiddo’s first snow ever! He was mostly not impressed haha

Snack – shortbread, a clementine, and tea

Lunch – giant salad

Dinner – leftovers

I also got my first Produce Box in a while, they had some great deals on root veggies so now I’ve got beets, sweet potato, carrots, kale, and more.

Friday:

Breakfast – peanut butter toast and a banana, and a green smoothie

Lunch – giant salad with strawberry vinaigrette, and a giant salad with salmon, roasted veggies, and edamame

Snack – kind bar, and apples and crackers

Dinner – burrito bowl with turkey, rice, roasted veggies, salsa, guac, and mushroom soup

The Weekend

Whooo boy, so basically all free time is now thinking about moving, and preparing for moving. I need to find a mountain of boxes, cause we have been burning ours in bonfires (oops) since we had no plans to move so soon. We will have about a 3 week overlap, and hope to have our current house rented out by April 1, wish us luck!

Also having another bonfire with different friends. It’s so great to finally be seeing people again regularly. And so many updates. Marriages, houses, babies, adopting dogs… good to know life is still going on out there. Oh, and the Super Bowl. But it starts at 6:30, we are not about that late night life, so I’ll just find out on the news on Monday who won. #Iwasagrandmabeforebecomingamom

Food Total: $162 + 206

Yikes… and this is without adding the amount spent on wine and formula… A bottle for baby, a bottle for mommy! lol Plus the Costco stockup trip where I got berries, spinach, salad, a pillow sized bag of broccoli, assorted spices, chicken, salmon, and pork chops, and so much more.

Kiddo eats real food, I still feed him 3-4 times per day, and he takes 2-3 bottles as well. We were lucky enough to have a friend gift us several boxes of formula their kid just went cold turkey and stopped drinking, but now that supply is gone. I also lucked out that there was a brand that must be discontinuing soon because it was on clearance, and was a ‘breastfeeding supplement’ anyways, so we are going to try that one and see how he likes it.

There were also just a lot of staples on sale that I took advantage of to restock some supplies. We got canned beans, tomatoes, corn, pasta, sauce, tortillas, granola, oatmeal, bagels, granola bars… along with lots of produce markdowns like $3 off bagged salad mixes and pints of mushrooms for 0.29! Of course now that we are moving in like a month I am kind of regretting the full pantry…

 

Lessons Learned

Opportunity truly is where patience meets action. We have been talking about what we want in our long term house forever, basically since we first moved here almost 5 years ago. We have been stalking the market all along, with alerts set for certain criteria.

A few tempting ones had come along over the years, but none that checked basically every single box like this one. So, when it’s right it’s right! And we gotta just go for it so we don’t miss our chance.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – Jan 17, MLK week

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Over the weekend I made a big batch of falafel patties with chickpeas, fresh turmeric root, flax, and barley. These are a great thing to have for quick sandwiches and wraps. I also made a big batch of roasted chickpeas for snacking, and buffalo cauliflower. And of course a batch of carrot cake muffins!

Oh, and I got the boy hooked on the “tortilla hack” now, he is really good at it! Basically you cut halfway across a tortilla. Put fillings on each quarter, and use cheese or a dip on one end to “seal” it. Fold a quarter up, then over, then over again to create a triangle with all the fillings inside, and fry on both sides until warm and crispy.

Monday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins

Lunch – leftover falafel in a wrap with veggies and cashew cream

Snack – roasted chickpeas

Dinner – baked potato with chili and guac and tofu sour cream

Tuesday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins & a matcha latte

Lunch – leftover falafel in a wrap with veggies and cashew cream

Snack – choc chip Clif bar

Dinner – oyster mushroom risotto

Snack – popcorn of course, since it was national popcorn day!

Wednesday:

Kiddo had to have a procedure reeeeeeal early, so today was expected to be a sleepy day. I had breakfast sandwiches ready to go so we would have something at least and not have to order food there or on the way.

Breakfast – ham and egg bagels

Lunch – we ended up ordering from a local Italian place. Neither of us had energy to cook and we like to support local. We got the biggest Hawaiian pizza they had, and a veggie calzone for me.

Dinner – while we were ordering anyways we just got both lunch and dinner, so philly sandwiches from the same place

Thursday:

Breakfast – carrot cake muffins

Snack – smoothie with frozen berries, flaxseed, and turmeric

Lunch – beans and rice with salsa

Dinner – leftover veggie calzone

Friday:

Breakfast – a vegan skillet with potatoes, peppers, onions, and these amazing sausage tofu crumbles! It tastes like the real deal.

Lunch – leftover risotto and a salad

Snack – roasted chickpeas

Dinner – haluski, which is noodles and cabbage. It is a Slovak dish, that my family has made and loved for generations. Kiddo was a big fan!

The Weekend

This weekend will be chill, just hanging out at home. A hike on Sunday, and maybe some game time with the sister in law.

Food Total: $79.68

This weekend I journeyed to Li Ming’s global market, my very favorite asian grocery store in the area. Asian diets are extremely healthy, even with the excess of white rice and sodium, because of their focus on fresh veggies, lots of greens, and soy. Which in turn means little or no meats, dairy, and extremely processed junk.

Asian markets are the best place for tons of fresh produce, much of which you cannot find, or if present is very expensive in other supermarkets. For example, I got beets that were almost as big as my head for $2 each, but at Harris Teeter I’d pay $5 for three that together didn’t even weigh as much as one of these monsters.

Staples $22.02 Fruit/Veg $44.11
Chili fermented hot sauce 2.99 turmeric root 4.61
can jackfruit 3 5.37 cabbage 2.17
relax tea 3.99 mushrooms 3.5
silken tofu 2 3.38 cauliflower 2.49
huge pack firm tofu 6.29 napa cabbage 3.38
oysters 2 7.41
bok choi 1.81
edamame 1.99
mini oysters 4
garlic 5 1.99
beets (GIANT) 2 3.59
red onion 1 1.27
purple yam 2.39
sweet potato 2 2.2
zucchini 2 1.31

 

Lessons Learned

It definitely pays to shop around. And it is definitely worth checking out ethnic markets. You never know what delicacies they may have, that are dirt cheap in their home country but way overpriced at your local superstore. Speaking of, it might be about time for a trip to the Indian spice store I love… I’m nearly out of sesame seeds and ginger paste.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Peanut Butter Banana Power Smoothie

 

This has quickly become one of my absolute favorite breakfast recipes! Just one ‘dish’ to wash when you’re done. Smoothies are amazing because they are so versatile, so quick, and so healthy! Of course, that last part does depend on what you put into it.

Many stores and fast food options that claim they have “healthy smoothies” are really not so healthy. They are calorie and sugar packed health bombs masquerading as health food. Just because it has a teaspoon of spinach powder or banana puree does not excuse a smoothie with 118 grams of sugar and over 500 calories!

Peanut butter banana oat smoothie ingredients

So why not blend one up at home? Far healthier, super fast and easy, and way healthier for you.

This recipe takes your typical banana base, and adds several other super health foods such as peanut butter powder (for all the flavor with a tiny percentage of the fat!), gut-helping yogurt, healthy fats from coconut milk, fiber packed oats, and the ultimate tiny nutrition powerhouse: chia!

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp PB2 or PBFit
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend on high until well combined.

You could optionally add in a scoop of protein powder if you need it, or a cup of ice cubes if you want a different texture.

This recipe makes enough for 2 good sized glasses of about 16 oz each, so share with a friend or save the second serving for later, maybe after a good workout!

Healthy PB Banana Smoothie

 

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Quick & Easy “Cheater” Pad Thai + Peanut Sauce

 

Sometimes you just want something different, but also cheap, and sorta healthy. Oh, and really easy to make. Sounds like so many recipes you know right? If you’re laughing like I was while writing that, you’re in the right place. Finding recipes that hit the “sweet spot” of the trifecta: price, time, health, is a tall order.

Luckily, this recipe is one of them!

Pad Thai is probably the most famous dish outside of Thailand, and for good reason. Thailand is snack in the middle of the indochina peninsula, with a tropical climate and a lot of ocean front property. (Which comes with a lot of hurricanes and water damage, so don’t jump on that time share just yet…) This warm climate and water access combines to create a very healthy ethnic cuisine based around coconut, fish, rice, chilies, tons of spices, and tropical fruits like lemons and limes.

Authentic Pad Thai involves homemade rice noodles, hours of stewing and many ingredients common on the mainland but sometimes difficult to find and/or pricey elsewhere. This recipe is for the “cheater” who loves the flavors of Thai but doesn’t want to shell out for take-out, or spend hours in the kitchen.

You can expand this recipe to include other protein sources like tofu, chicken, or shrimp. You can also add any fresh herbs like mint or cilantro or basil, or change up the vegetables to ones that you like. You can add chilies or Thai chili paste or Sriracha to get to your preferred level of spice.

This recipe is the simplest you can make it, multiply the ingredients by the number of people you want to feed. You can easily cook for one, or for twenty. Take this bare bones recipe, try it once or twice until you’re comfortable, then make it your own! And tell me all about it in the comments.

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients (per person):

  • 1/4 package rice or soba noodles (or linguini)
  • 1/4 small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 egg, scrambled or not
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce and/or fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice or vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil / coconut oil
  • Optional: green onion, cilantro, sriracha, chopped cilantro, chilie slices, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce and Egg

Step 1: Cook the noodles according to the package, rinse and drain and set aside.

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

Step 2: Shred the carrot and cabbage, and add to a frying pan with a tbsp olive oil and/or stock. Cover and cook on low for 10-15 minutes, until cabbage is wilted and opaque.

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

Step 3: In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice. Cook the egg as you like, whether you want it scrambled or with the yolk still dippy.

Step 4: Put some noodles on a plate, add a scoop of cooked veggies, and drizzle with the sauce. If you like, add optional toppings, and your egg. Enjoy!

How do you make this recipe yours?

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Mushroom & Asparagus Barley Risotto

 

As summer is winding to a close, I am still in denial.  I don’t want to let go of the beautiful unfolding of spring, the delicate greens and fragrant blossoms, the heavy fruits ripening on the vine, the cornucopia of riotous color at the farmer’s market.  Spring and summer make this farm-loving, healthy-cooking, veggie-eating foodaholic girl’s heart sing.

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So when I saw some end of season asparagus and some shiitake mushrooms on sale, I had to nab them.  For a fleeting taste of spring, summer & autumn all rolled into one, this risotto is earthy and vegetal, and completely delicious.

And the best part is, if you use canned mushroom & frozen asparagus you can make this all year round!  A well-stocked fridge/freezer/pantry can bring any season to your plate.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Optional add-ins: diced tomato, garlic, onions, spices to taste

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Step 1: Rinse your asparagus and wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms. Dice them into bite-sized pieces.

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Step 2: Put the barley in a pan with 1 cup of stock or water. (This can be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water in place of the chicken stock). Bring to a boil, and then simmer.

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Step 3: Let the barley cook, watching the liquid level. When it gets low, add a few more tbsp of stock and stir. Continue for 20-25 minutes, until barley is chewy and nearly cooked through. Add the diced veggies for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking.

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At this point, you can season to taste, I only used a little garlic salt. This tastes amazing on its own, or you can add any of the option mix ins suggested, or anything else you happen to have laying about.

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This recipe makes about 2 cups worth of risotto, enough for 4 small side dish servings or two full meals.

 

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 246.8
  • Total Fat 2.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol 3.6 mg
  • Sodium 178.2 mg
  • Potassium 399.9 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 49.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
  • Sugars 3.8 g
  • Protein 9.3 g
  • Vitamin A 4.2 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 15.2 %
  • Vitamin C 8.0 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 3.9 %
  • Calcium 2.6 %
  • Copper 32.9 %
  • Folate 17.0 %
  • Iron 10.8 %
  • Magnesium 13.9 %
  • Manganese 41.1 %
  • Niacin 25.7 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 15.0 %
  • Phosphorus 17.2 %
  • Riboflavin 15.5 %
  • Selenium 44.6 %
  • Thiamin 13.2 %
  • Zinc 12.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

 

For those who do not know, late summer is when the garden bounty is rolling in, including tomatoes and herbs like basil. Home gardeners are likely giving away baskets of fresh veggies and herbs to friends, family, and neighbors. Those who know how and have the time & inclination are putting up the excess for the long, cold winter ahead by canning, drying, and freezing.

basil (1)

I planted a few basil seeds in late April, and had no idea they would take off so well! They were tiny seedlings when I had them in a pot in the window, but when I put them outside they just flourished! Now I have a basil bush just outside my front door. It is wonderfully convenient to just run out and grab a few leaves.

This tomato soup recipe is stunningly simple. Don’t let its simplicity fool you though, it is also amazingly delicious. There is nothing quite so amazing as fresh, local produce simply prepared. Orange goo in a can doesn’t even come close.

With only 3 ingredients, this soup is so easy a five-year-old could probably make it. And, honestly, you don’t even need the basil, you can just make a simple creamy tomato soup by leaving it out. I added it because you can only eat so much pesto in one week. 🙂

tomato (2)

And the final bonus, it is both vegetarian and vegan, as well as gluten free! If you just blended it all, I bet it could be made raw too! It is very healthy, as well as Paleo and Mediterranean. There isn’t a diet I know of on which you cannot eat this soup. If you don’t have or don’t like coconut milk, you can omit it for a regular tomato soup, or use cows milk, almond milk, etc instead.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can coconut milk (6-7 oz)
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • Optional: olive oil, salt & pepper

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Step 1: Open the coconut milk and mix it up with a spoon. Pour half into a pot and begin heating. Dice up your tomatoes into quarters and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes.

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Step 2: You can stop here if you don’t mind your soup a little chunky and don’t want to add basil, it has a nice rustic texture at this point. Would be great served with some whole-grain bread. But if you want it creamy and smooth, pop it into the blender and give it a whirl.

tomato (1)

Step 3: Add the handful of basil, and blend again.

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(Note: be sure to have the lid on the blender firmly. Otherwise, you end up with a hot, orange mess all over your stove. Not that I would know from experience…)

tomato (3)

Pour your hot, finished creamy tomato soup into 2 bowls, top with sea salt & black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if you like. This makes a little less than 1 quart of soup, and can easily be doubled to use the whole can of coconut milk. Simply add more tomatoes.

Enjoy!

Italian Cucumbers & Tomatoes

 

In the summer heat, with the garden beginning to produce bumper crops, there is nothing better than a refreshing side dish you can pick from your own yard (or farmers market or grocery store) and have ready in under ten minutes. This can be served room temperature or refrigerated, and is easy to make ahead for a party later or the next day, but fast enough to be ready like, now.

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Cucumber has cooling properties, and tomatoes have tons of trace minerals and compounds. Put the two together, and you’ll always get something delicious with a side of healthy. Feel free to mix it up with whatever herbs you have handy. I had chives, but dill, parsley, mint, or basil would also go nicely here. You could also add in feta or goat cheese if the spirit moved you.

Oh, and if you don’t have or don’t like bottled Italian dressing, feel free to quickly whip up your own vinaigrette. Combine one from each of the following: 1/4 cup (white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice) + 2-3 tbsp (olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, palm oil). Optional additions: mashed or diced garlic cloves, fresh/dried herbs, salt and/or pepper, and infused oils or vinegars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or 2 large, diced)
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped herbs
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing (affiliate link)

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Step 1: If using cherry tomatoes, cut in half. If using large round tomatoes, dice into quarters or eighths. Rinse the cucumber well, and cut half into small cubes.

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Step 2: Dice your herbs, feel free to combine more than one kind too. Mix it all together in a bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Toss to coat.

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This awesome side dish has graced many a backyard barbecue over the years, and will continue to do so for a very long time. It can be left in the refrigerator overnight, and up to 3 days. The longer you leave it, the more water will come out of the veggies though, so by the third day it gets a little soggy. I bet you’ll finish it all in one sitting anyhow. 😉

Below is the total nutrition information for this dish. It makes about 4 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition Facts

 

User Entered Recipe
  1 Serving 
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 281.4
  Total Fat 18.2 g
  Saturated Fat 1.6 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 903.2 mg
  Potassium 261.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 25.4 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
  Sugars 12.1 g
  Protein 1.2 g
  Vitamin A 27.7 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 3.6 %
  Vitamin C 99.1 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 0.7 %
  Calcium 2.7 %
  Copper 3.0 %
  Folate 6.5 %
  Iron 6.7 %
  Magnesium 4.8 %
  Manganese 6.8 %
  Niacin 1.9 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.9 %
  Phosphorus     4.6 %
  Riboflavin 2.4 %
  Selenium 0.1 %
  Thiamin 2.7 %
  Zinc 2.2 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Vegan Banh Mi Bonanza

 

If you love veggies or are looking for a way to get more into your diet, this is a perfect solution. Unlike a typical sandwich containing nitrate-laced and high-sodium sliced deli “meats”, this is a fabulously healthy way to satisfy the most hard-core sandwich craving while doing your body a favor!

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese word for ‘bread’, which was imported by the French during its colonial period. The banh mi is different from the traditional French baguette in that is it made with rice flour as well as wheat flour, typically has a thinner crust, and is ‘airier’ or ‘lighter’. Typically the fillings included meats of all kinds, like pork belly, sausage, pate, pork floss (what even is that?), grilled chicken, canned sardines, meatballs, head cheese, fried eggs, or tofu.

Accompanying vegetables typically include fresh cucumber slices, cilantro (leaves of the coriander plant) and pickled carrots and daikon in shredded form. Common condiments include spicy chili sauce, sliced chilis, mayonnaise, and cheese.

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This particular creation was made using the veggies I most enjoy, and had available. I encourage you to do the same, but also try some new things. If you’ve never had sprouts, give it a shot. Try making your own hummus, it’s super easy! Hummus is also a great way to add extra bulk and protein to vegan meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large soft hoagie bun
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large beet
  • 1/4 cup sprouts
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp hummus (try black bean hummus!)
  • 1-2 romaine leaves and/or spinach
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Step 1: In a frying pan, cook thin slices of zucchini until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. (Grilling would also work. Other veggies you could use include: onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, carrot).

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Step 2: On one piece of bread, spread your hummus. (Guacamole would also be delish here). On the other slice, drizzle the olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

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Step 3: Layer all the veggies onto the bread. I roasted my beet in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes then peeled it. You can do this ahead of time, or use canned & drained beets to save time.

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Here it is with the sprouts & sliced avocado. Then just try to mush the two halves together without losing most of the fillings.

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And there you have it! This gigantic, delicious beast tasted AMAZING and kept me full for hours. You would be surprised how easy to put together these are once you have whatever ingredients you want to use, and just how dang tasty they are. For more info and recipe ideas, check out VietWorldKitchen.

 

Avocado Beet Wrap

 

As spring kicks into gear and temperatures climb, we start looking for lighter, cooling dishes. It’s tough to enjoy a beef stew or thick chili when it’s 95 and humid. Luckily spring and summer bring a rotating buffet of delicious seasonal vegetables and fruits.

One of my favorite ways to use fresh produce is in a wrap. You can only have a bowl of salad so many times before it gets old. This way you can still have all the greens and good toppings but in a portable, desk-friendly format. Wraps are easily adaptable to just about any veggie or dip (such as hummus, guacamole, or sriracha ranch).

This wrap packs the healthy fats of avocado, the anti-cancer and inflammation-fighting power of beets, the hydration of cucumber and greens in one fabulous lunch. But feel free to sub in another type of green (spinach, kale, beet greens) or other veggies you have on hand. On average, you should eat about 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day, and a wrap should contain approximately 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 whole roasted beet (4-5 slices)
  • 1/2 cucumber, skin on if organic
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 head of romaine (or 1/2 c greens)

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Step 1: Cut up your avocado, cucumber, & beets. Spread the greens on the tortilla, top with veggies. Roll up and enjoy!

 

*Some time saver tips:

  • Use canned beets for the slices
  • Pick up pre-cut cucumber from a salad bar
  • Use packaged guac instead of an avocado

Kale & Wasabi Pea Caesar Salad

 

Are you getting in the spring of things? Have you begun a whirlwind of cleaning out rooms, old clutter, elbow greasing the bathroom, and sorting through wardrobes? Do you day dream about tender green baby lettuce, the first sweet juicy strawberry, or delicate spring peas that pop in your mouth? I know I am!

Spring is a time of freshness, rebirth, and growth. The world re-awakens after a long, cold, terrible winter.

Though it is hard to believe now, with the still-cold, hard earth brown and bare, soon rain will drench everything, sun will warm it again, and greenery will burst forth! Birds have begun singing, small furry animals are emerging from hibernation, and gardeners all over are just itching to get outside and play in some dirt!

Now might be a good time to assess your food preservation options. If you don’t have canning jars or could use some more, I recommend at least a case of pint jars (wide-mouth can fit more in easily, you can can or even freeze them), as well as a case of quart jars, and if you make lots of different flavored jams, jellies, or salsas, maybe a few tiny 4 oz jars too. These also make great gifts!

Don’t forget the lids, regular mouth lids and  wide-mouth lids. These cannot be reused (they lose their seal) but the rings you can reuse.

Even if you don’t have a garden yourself, canning is an excellent skill to begin learning. You can get steals and deals at the end of the day in farmer’s markets, pick-your-own bushels of fruits at an orchard, or on-sale in-season produce at the grocery store.

Canning is a great, non-electricity-using way to store these seasonal delicacies for the future dreary winter, that we don’t even want to think about yet. Read my earlier foray into canning beans for more information, directions, and especially important safety information to consider if this is your first time (or hundredth).

In honor of this season of green, here is a lovely salad recipe using fresh greens, wasabi peas, sunflower seeds, and other fresh veggies. Feel free to make it your own based on your tastes and what is currently in season near you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups assorted greens (romaine, kale, spinach used here. also try arugula, watercress, chard, or endive)
  • 1/2 cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 1/3 cup wasabi green peas (use fresh peas if you have them or don’t like wasabi spice/flavor)
  • 1/2 cup homemade croutons
  • 2-3 tbsp Caesar dressing (or Ranch)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Optional: grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

Step 1: To make croutons, cut 2 slices of old bread into cubes. Toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle on seasonings (I recommend Italian). Toast on a flat cookie sheet in an oven at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Or use store-bought, or omit entirely. Up to you.

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Step 2: Shred or slice the romaine, spinach, and kale, and pile on a plate. Top with cucumber slices, sprinkle on the seeds, peas, and croutons, and add dressing. Toss lightly to coat.

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I had this for lunch with an apple, a piece of homemade corn bread (with canned corn in it) and a big glass of water. Just a perfect amount of crunch and spring flavors to perk you right up. Now if only there was no more frost danger so I can set out my seedlings…

 

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