Archive for September, 2010

5 more questions

This seemed to be a hit last week so I decided to go for round 2.  Feel free to answer on my blog or at Vegetarilin on Facebook.

1. What is your favorite source of protein? I love tofu.  It’s so versatile and soaks up the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

2. What’s your favorite prepackaged vegetarian product? I don’t eat many of these but I enjoy Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers from Costco.

3. Do you personally cook or allow meat products to be cooked in your home? Meat is almost always grilled to keep the smell out of my house.  I respect my husband’s decision to eat meat but I don’t want to smell it.

4. If you have pets are they vegetarian? Not totally, but we’re working on it.  We switched over to a veg variety but we (not me) mixed the veg variety in with the old dog.  I need to have them finish this current mixture and then buy another bag and try this again!

5. Is your entire household (humans not pets) vegetarian? As stated above no.  Currently half my household is vegetarian and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Peace, love & greens Lin

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Break Time

For those of you who read this blog regularly I apologize for posting so little lately.  I was on a roll of cooking a lot and posting 5+ times a week.  I am finding that is pretty much impossible to keep up with so I’ve decided to scale down a bit.

There’s a couple of reasons for this.  First being my hectic home and work life.  As I’ve said before I work 4 days a week until 8pm and I absolutely don’t cook on those days.  It’s just too much.  I also seem to be so busy trying new recipes that I tend to neglect family favorites.  Last week I made Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese with all the gluten.  Sadly 1 lb of pasta was devoured in about 36 hours.  I wasn’t counting on that!

Also, my family structure has changed and I’m still working out the kinks.  My niece recently moved in with us and I’m surprised at how much I’m loving having another female in the house again.  It’s all good but she’s not a vegetarian and she’s a picky eater.  She does not enjoy the level of spice my family is accustomed to.  It’s taking some work.  I’m also pretty sure that at this point with 2 young adults in the house they should take some of the responsibility for preparing meals.  I don’t have high hopes on this one.

I’m hoping to have 1 recipe post a week and then just post anything else of interest I find along the way.  I think my “5 Questions” post last week was a hit (minus a little animosity) so I’ll continue that.  We’ll see how it goes.  If anyone is interested in writing a guest post please let me know.  My email is linjohn65@gmail.com.

I have 2 more days of work and then I’m off to Disney for the weekend!  I’m really looking forward to it.  We’re having a girl’s weekend celebrating my mom’s birthday.  The last time we went I was pleasantly surprised that the resort we stayed at offered a reasonably good veggie lasagna with veggie sausage!  Hopefully I’ll fare as well this time.

Peace, love & greens, Lin

Fruity Vegan Corn Muffins

I have not cooked anything new for some time now.  I find the one difficulty with having a food blog is that I’m so busy trying out new recipes that I don’t have time to cook some old favorites.  I guess it’s all about balance.

This morning I got up ridiculously early so I decided to bake some muffins.  I can’t even remember the last time I did that.  My plan was to try a vegan cornbread using applesauce in place of the egg.  To my surprise my applesauce is all gone.  Of course I discovered this after assembling 3/4 of the ingredients!  I did a quick look around and was happy to see an aging banana on the counter.  Next to the banana were some organic apples that aren’t as pretty as waxed chemical filled apples so they’re not being eaten.  For the record I’m eating them but no one else is.

The end result is a sweet healthy muffin made from good simple ingredients.  I ended up with 9 muffins using a cupcake pan and they’re an appropriate sized muffin.  I have no clue as to the calorie count but they are way better for you than the mega sized fat and sugar filled muffins that you can buy pretty much anywhere these days.  I used to love store-bought but I just can’t eat them anymore.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat white flour (or ww pastry flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  each baking soda & baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • 1 small apple grated
  • 3/4 cup soy or rice milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Lightly grease cupcake pan

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; add in the soy milk, banana, oil and agave nectar.  Mix using a potato masher to break up the banana

Peel the apple and add into the bowl giving a gentle stir

Distribute the mixture into the pan

Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned approximately 20 minutes

5 Questions

I recently saw this on an RV blog I read and found the questions and answers very interesting.  I was thinking about the questions people usually ask me about being a vegetarian as well as my own personal thoughts on the subject.  I’d love to see what you thoughts are on the subject.

1. What’s the most annoying question people ask you? “You can eat fish right?”

2. Do you miss any specific meat? At this point I don’t miss meat at all but I absolutely missed a good barbecue early on.

3. What do you order when you end up in a restaurant with no veg options? This happened to me the other day.  I had a salad and 3 sides.

4. Why or why not vegan? I have 2 reasons.  First I love cheese and it’s hard to give up.  Second, my husband is not a veg and it’s difficult enough working around our different diets.

5.  Do you ever knowingly cheat? I haven’t in over a year but I used to occasionally order vegetable pad thai which has fish sauce.  My rationalization was that it was just a minor ingredient, I wasn’t eating the entire fish or anything!

6. For the non-vegetarians: If you’re reading this you’re obviously interested in a vegetarian diet.  What stops you from going veg?  (no judgement here!)

Peace, love & greens, Lin

Escarole Bean Soup

My sister Sandy makes this soup all the time so I decided to give it a try.  The recipe she gave me was really just a list of ingredients so I really created it with just a basic idea.  I am really impressed with the results.  It’s a thick, hearty soup full of delicious vegetables and it’s super nutritious!

I actually made it a couple of days ago and brought a serving to work yesterday and will do so today as well.  I really need to get a good thermos for soups and such.  The soup is currently being transported in a glass bowl with a snap on lid.  I’m placing 50/50 odds on if the cover will stay on until lunch time!  The price of a simple thermos was pretty shocking to me.  This is old technology, why is a basic single serving thermos around $20?  I really didn’t want to spend that much.

Before I get to the soup we had a family dinner at my parents last night.  My mom made some family favorites which I will post about another time.  She made tzimmes and noodle pudding which I love.  My contribution was Mmmm, Mondel Brodt which was served for dessert and was a hit as always.

Ingredients

I large head of escarole

3 large onions halved and sliced thin

2 cans of vegetable broth,  2 cans of water

2-3 veg sausage links chopped (I used chorizo)

Or use cubed tofu in place of the sausage links

1 can of small white beans drained

A couple of chopped carrots

1 large pepper julienned

A handful of string beans halved

Olive oil as needed

A few cloves of garlic minced

Salt, pepper & seasoning to taste

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot  on medium and add onion, let the onion slowly wilt and brown stirring regularly, it should brown but not burn and will take about 15 minutes

Once onion is starting to brown add the sausage and let it cook in either slices or crumbles, as that cooks add in the other vegetables except for the escarole and let them saute for several minutes adding the garlic for the last minute, season as needed

Add the beans and broth to the pot and stir well, add in the escarole and let it cook down for several minutes, once it’s cooked down and is mixed in with other ingredients it is ready to serve

Peace love & greens, Lin

Veggie Lasagna

Let me start by telling you that I made a 9′ x 13′ tray of this lasagna Thursday night and it’s already almost finished.  This lasagna is so good it’s simply disappearing.  It’s a favorite recipe of mine because everyone in my house loves it including my husband who is still a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

This is a very forgiving recipe.  I tend to use a few specific veggies and then whatever is on hand.  Zucchini, onion, and broccoli are must have ingredients and then I alternate for the rest of them.  I love to use mushrooms but they were a little too costly this week so I left them out.  I seriously doubt anyone noticed.  I did add some carrot and yellow pepper which gave it great color!

The vegetables get saute’d in a pan and then roughly chopped in the food processor.  It creates a nice texture. Once assembled it’s quite weighty.  I make it with 4 thick layers of each lasagna noodles and filling.  It’s a pretty solid meal.

I served it with some home-made garlic knots which were really quick to assemble.  I purchased some pre-made pizza dough (not the kind in a tube) and sectioned it off.  I then made each piece a cord and knotted it.  I covered each knot with some fresh garlic and olive oil, baked it for 10 minutes at 350, brushed on more garlic oil and cooked another 10 minutes.  They were a great accompaniment to the lasagna.

Ingredients

1 lb box of lasagna noodles cooked according to directions

1 large container of ricotta

1 lb mozzarella (fresh if possible)

1 jar quality tomato sauce or home-made

1/2 cup veggie parmesan cheese

1 egg lightly beaten

At least 1 lb of fresh vegetables roughly chopped including broccoli florets, 1-2 zucchini, 1 large onion, 1 large pepper,mushrooms, carrots, or cauliflower

Salt, pepper and italian seasoning to taste

Directions

Take ricotta cheese and beaten egg and mix well, add in 1/4 cup parmesan, season well

Saute the vegetables in a pan until cooked but still crisp, season and then place in food processor and pulse until small pieces but not mushy

Spray a 9′ x 13′ inch pan with non stick spray and then place a little sauce on the pan

Place 3-4 sheets of lasagna on the pan

Add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture spreading evenly and top with 1/2 of the vegetables, top with just a little mozzarella

Add another layer of pasta and top with sauce and mozzarella

Repeat the with another layer of ricotta and vegetables, cover with another layer of pasta, mozzarella and cheese, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving.

Peace love & greens, Lin

Primo Pasta

This recipe actually came from the most recent copy of  Vegetarian Times although I’ve made a few changes to it.  It’s photo was the magazine cover and looked really good.  As I read the recipe I realized that it was listed under an article for meals with 5 ingredietns or less.  I love that type of recipe but I always end up adding extras.  It’s still a really simple recipe and has a lemony creamy taste.

Now I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I’ve made much better recipes and when we ate it for dinner we thought it was a good weekday meal but nothing fabulous.  Sunday I took a container of it to work for lunch and was pleasantly surprised at how well it lasted and reheated.  It made me like this even more.  Following the recipe as written it was a little to thick and sticky.  I fixed this by adding a little fat free half and half until it was a creamier consistency.  I also added some veggies making it a convenient 1 dish meal.  Feel free to add in or remove whatever veggies you like.  I had considered adding some cannellini beans but last minute changed my mind.  They would have worked fine.

Ingredients

8 oz dry linguine cooked according to directions

1/2 cup light cream cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon zested

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Approximately 1/2 cup fat free half and half  or milk

Parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste

12 oz bag of veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower florets

Directions

Cook pasta according to directions, during the last minute or two of cooking toss veggies into the boiling water

Drain pasta and veggies well, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water

In a large saucepan warm cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest until melted, add seasoning and pasta water

Stir in pasta and veggies and add half and half or milk until desired consistency, add additional seasoning if needed