Friday, June 29, 2012

Beans N' Greens

On my last trip to whole foods I picked up a couple heads of baby bok choy.  I have wanted to create a recipe with these cute little creations for a while now, and I finally jumped on the opportunity.

Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with White beans and a Lemony Vinaigrette
For Beans
1/2 can of white beans
2 T Olive oil
2 T White vinegar
2 T Lemon juice
½ Onion Chopped (left raw)
~4 leaves fresh basil
~2 leaves fresh mint
½ Stevia in the Raw packet
Drain and rinse beans and set aside.  Chop onion and add to beans.  In a bowl, make your vinaigrette by mixing the remaining ingredients adjusting seasoning to taste.  Add vinaigrette to bean mixture, toss and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

For Greens
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 heads baby Bok Choy, separated, and rinsed
~2 T Olive Oil
½ Cup Vegetable Broth (or water)
Since this was my first time cooking with bok choy, I found some wonderful instructions on the internet!
 Cut base of Bok Choy off, separate and rinse leaves.  
Heat ~1T olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, add garlic and fry until fragrant.  Add the greens and thoroughly toss!  Pour in veggie broth, immediately cover, and cook for one minute.  Season with a pinch of salt
Toss beans n’ greens together in a bowl and serve!

This dish gives the beans a very light and summery feeling, as opposed to a spice laden vegan chili which is equally delicious, but not so nice with the rising summer temperature. 
Happy Vegan Challenge!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Evolution of Chili

When I first moved out of my parents house I only knew how to cook two things.  The first was an easy dish involving a box of cooked pasta, and entire container of ranch dressing, sliced grapes, and a cut up pieces of a rotisserie chicken.  The second dish I knew how to make was chili.  I can hardly even call it that, because it was more like ground beef + taco seasoning topped with Fritos. Not vegan, not healthy, and not very creative.

Fortunately, my journey to wellness has included an interest in healthy cooking and the desire to cut animal products from my diet.  My chili has come a very long way in the last five years, and I am proud to say this is one of my FAVORITE dishes! 
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Cup of Frozen Fire Roasted Corn (or one can)
1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Juices
1 Can Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 T Smoked Paprika
1 T Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chile Powder
1 tsp T Oregano
2 Bay Leaves

In a pot over medium heat, sauté garlic in ~1T olive oil until fragrant.  Add onions and continue to stir until they become translucent. 

Add in broth, pumpkin, tomatoes + juice and bring pot to a low boil.  Add in spice mixture reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.

I served my chili with store bought corn muffins (vegan) and homemade corn tortilla chips!

Easy Tortilla Chips
Corn Tortillas
Olive oil Spray

Pre heat your oven to 325, spray tortillas with oil, and sprinkle with salt.   Cut the tortillas into what ever shape you want, and place them in the oven on a greased+foiled cookie sheet.  These chips literally only take minutes!  Rather than set a timer I just plopped myself in front of my oven and watched them crisp up.

Day TWO of the vegan challenge is a success!! 

Weekend in Boston

Friday and Saturday I was a good vegan, but Sunday dissolved into a to-die for pescatarian sandwich! 
Here are some stand out pictures from my weekend in Boston with my brother!

Lunch on Friday! Simple dressing of equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil, drizzle of honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  So easy it doesn't even require measuring.  Massage dressing into kale leaves, and top with segmented orange and raw fennel.

Normally I would pack Greek yogurt and honey in addition to my salad, but since I am thinking about becoming a vegan, I bought some soy yogurt instead.  I was hoping this would serve as a good protein source, but I was wrong!! Only 6 grams compared to over 20 I would be getting from Greek yogurt.  AND it had both fat and saturated fat when the Greek yogurt I buy usually buy has none! 

Friday night the bro and I headed to one of the local beaches for a picnic.  I packed a teriyaki tofu sammi and a crisp apple, which I ate in the car because the second we got there it started to rain!  Fortunately we stumbled upon the bar from Good Will Hunting, and we waited out the storm with a Sam Adams in true Bostonian style.  

On Saturday we headed into the city to walk the freedom trail, and do some sightseeing.  We stumbled upon a fabulous market in the North End, and snacked on fresh fruit as we trotted around the city. 
Unfortunately we got caught in ANOTHER down pour, and made a dash for the closest restaurant.  Cold and wet, we were happy to sit down for big bowls of warm Vietnamese soup.  I had some sort of curried pho with tofu, while the bro had an AMAZING fish stew with pineapple.  Sounds strange, but the sweetness made for an interesting flavor combination.
On Sunday we headed to a Red Socks game!  My other brother was nice enough to get us tickets, and we had a blast! Thanks Luke! 

After the game, we headed to Boston Beer Works.  I couldn’t decide what beer I wanted, so I opted for a tasting flight.  Blueberry, watermelon, Boston red, and bean nut brown were my flavors of choice and they were all fantastic!  I was torn between the Blueberry and the Boston Red as my favorite!

I also devoured an incredible scallop Po Boy, and since my vegan streak had been broken, I ate the last of the ice cream in my fridge as well.

After my not so vegan weekend, I am officially announcing the beginning of my 10 Day Vegan Challenge!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vegan for a Day

After becoming a vegetarian (with pescatarian tendencies) a year and half ago I have decided I want to try becoming a vegan.  Over the next month I am going to slowly transition to a vegan lifestyle.  For the record I will NOT be saying no to ultra fresh seafood while living so close to the ocean,  I will eat sushi at least once, and will occasional eat eggs, dairy , and yogurt.  This transition is meant to be slow, but I hope to be a full blown vegan when I move to Colorado to start graduate school! 

Yesterday marked my first attempt at actively being vegan.  All in all I had a great day, despite the unbearable heat wave that has overcome the city of Boston.  

Yeah, this was the temperature INSIDE my apartment.  

I normally go for a bowl of oats in the morning, but opted for (unpictured) overnight oats instead.  For some reason it just did not hit the spot for me! I put all the goodies in my jar, but I felt something was missing.  There is just nothing better than the warm creaminess of melted nut butter on my morning bowl of awesome oats.  

Luckily lunch was much better.  I am officially really bad at this blogging thing because I have no evidence of my meal, but I guess that just means it needs re-created!  I splurged on some baked teriyaki tofu at whole foods recently, and packed up the fixings' for some lunch time tofu tacos! 

Evening came, and I made possibly the easiest dinner I have ever had.  I was in no mood to slave over a stove in this heat (wish I had a balcony for a grill!) so I sliced a spaghetti squash in half, tore out the seeds, gave it a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and placed it in my oven at 350 degrees.  I then ran away to my bedroom and sat under a fan for the next 30 minutes.  

After a half hour fan session, the squash was soft enough to be pierced with a knife, and I took a spoon to scrape the insides into a bowl.  This was my first time making spaghetti squash and I didn't realize it was so easy!  For some reason I thought I was going to have to create strands with a fork or something, but all you do is scrape the insides out with a spoon an instant veggie noodles!! I seasoned the strands with a little more oil, salt, and pepper, until it reached the flavor I wanted. 

Seeking a protein, I went to my pantry and found some vegetarian baked beans.  I already felt like I was inside at a barbeque, so it seemed pretty appropriate.  I dumped the can into a bowl, threw it in the micro and added the beans to my squash.  So simple, so delicious.  

I avoided the dairy ice cream hiding in my freezer, and snacked on some frozen berries throughout the rest of the evening.  

My first successful day as a vegan!