Meatless Monday Chronicles: Who Say’s Salads are Boring?!

Okay, I’ll admit it, I hate salads. Yes, I said it!! I was a ballerina for so long that I was forced to eat salads all the time. However, going meatless does not necessarily mean you HAVE to eat them all the time. It does mean that you can make them more fun!

I know I have been away for a while and I apologize if anyone is still out there!! I have another post that will explain my disappearance.

Salads, what do you use for the base? Well, anything that is green and leafy. You can use regular romaine lettuce, ice berg lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, and more yummy greens!!

Now, that you have your base, just sprinkle on the toppings!!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Base: I used Romaine Lettuce
  • Morningstar Buffalo Chik’n Patty cooked via package directions (this is the only item we are cooking which takes about 20 minutes)
  • Carrots
  • 1 Mandarin (Orange or any other citrus fruit)
  • Strawberries
  • Golden Kiwi ( I did not even know this was a type of of kiwi until last week lol!!)
  • Chia Seeds
  • Walnuts

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Agave
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Process

  • Cook the chik’n patty
  • Lay down the lettuce (or whatever green of your choice) in your bowl or plate.
  • Peel the mandarins and slice the strawberries
  • Add the walnuts, strawberries, mandarins, chia seeds, carrots and chopped chik’n patty.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk together.
  • Boooom! Just like that the salad is ready to assemble!!

 

I hope you guys enjoy the salad!! Let me know about any variations you decide wit the salad toppings!! Check out the pictures below!! Happy Meatless Monday!!

 

 

Meatless Monday Chronicles: It’s Grillin’ Time!

Most of the time people think grilling is only for carnivores. Well, that is not true! Anything and everything can be grilled. I absolutely love grilling veggies. It equals zero fat. No oil, no butter (if you’re just vegetarian or trying something new). It is literally just the fire, some water in a spray or squeeze bottle.

I know I have not been on in a week and I apologize! My life kind of took over and I needed to focus on some outside matters. Trying to get my posts where there recurring frequently on their own! Woot woot, trying to be tech savvy.

Today’s menu: Grilled veggie skewers, grilled corn, smashed potatoes and a grilled veggie burger! Yum-a-licious and protein packed.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Broccoli and Cauliflower cut in big chunks
  • 2 ears of corn (or more if you’re doing a larger group)
  • 1/2 pound of petite creamer potatoes
  • 1 Boca Burger Veggie Burger
  • handful of small baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 wood skewers for shikabobs (Soaked in cold water- the longer the better!)
  • Dill weed (dry seasoning)
  • salt and pepper

 

Process:

  • Turn your grill on to medium/hight heat!
  • Turn the stove on and fill a large pot with water and bring to roaring boil.
  • Add the potatoes to the boiling water.
  • Meanwhile, take the ears of corns and peel the harder husk away, leaving a thin layer.
  • You always want to put the corn first on the grill because it takes a longer time to cook.
    • *cooking tip: If you are pressed for time, boiling corn is the fastest way to cook them!
    • *cooking tip: If you don’t have a grill, but still want to infuse flavor. Peel the corn entirely and coat with olive oil and some seasonings then wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes!
  • Now, grab your skewers that have been soaking in cold water.
    • *why!? to prevent the skewers from burning! Typically you want over 2 hours of soaking, but a good 15 minutes soak works as well.
  • Take your rinsed, clean veggies and stack them up on the skewer.
  • Now, put them on the grill, near your corn that is still cooking.
  • By now, you may be freaking out because the husk has caught on fire. That is OKAY! Just grab your spray or squeeze bottle of water and saturate it. This will also help with the steam effect to help cook the corn.
  • Also, great time to add your Boca Burger to the grill (spray lightly with cooking spray so it does not stick or fall apart when you flip. Make sure you use a spatula and not tongs-I learned the hard crumbly way lol!)
  • Don’t forget your potatoes that are boiling! (Isn’t cooking fun!)
  • Stab them with a fork to see if they are tender, if so, strain them in the sink! (Good way to get some anger out!)
  • Throw the potatoes back in the pan and get potato masher and just do a quick hard smash. Here, I added the dill weed with a little salt and black pepper. (you can add butter here if you want or some olive oil).
  • Cardio time! Run back out to the grill. Your corn, skewers, and Boca Burger should be done!
  • Best part…ASSEMBLE and Eat!!

 

I hope you find my recipe fun and entertaining. Yes, I do speak the way I type with excitement. It truly is my personality! Let me know how you like this simple, grilling creation.

 

Check out the pics belowwww!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Chronicles: What’s that Quinoa Thing?!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the late start, or late post. It has been one heck of a Monday! I have been a little under the weather, so my food is kind of like comfort food today.

Today,  I used quinoa. I know what is this weird grain thing that all veggie and vegan people eat. I literally put it in everything from, “fried rice”, pancakes, eggs, brownies, I mean pretty much anything. It truly is a fantastic grain. It has a lot of antioxidants, which are great for your skin and fighting free radicals in the body. There is also a lot of protein in this enriched, ancient grain. The ancient people of Peru utilized this grain.

The dark truth of quinoa’s ever growing popularity, is that this food source was once a staple in Peru. However, today this grain now costs more than rice in their country because it is of only high demand in the United States and other more advanced countries. This has hurt the populations because they now lack access to their own natural food source. How do you make the right choice? Look for free-trade brands when you are shopping. It is the best for the environment and the surrounding people. Remember this is all our planet and we all deserve the riches she provides.

Enough of my soap box. What do you do with quinoa?! Well, you can cook it as the package instructs with water. This is best when you are going to use the quinoa for some other purpose. Such as pancakes (I’ll teach this recipe soon!)

For today, I used it in its normal form, a grain or a starch for my meal. Let’s start!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa 1 cup
  • Vegetable broth 2 cups
  • 3 big Idaho potatoes (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of a diced onion
  • half a bunch of asparagus

Seasoning for Potatoes (Perfect side as wedges/fries)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • you can always add more if you prefer more flavor!

 

Process:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees for the potatoes.
  • Cut the potatoes long way to make nice even strips or wedge shape.
  • To prevent from turning brown, place potatoes in a bowl of ice water. This helps remove a lot of starch and helps in the cooking process.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Place your wedges on the sheet and add the seasonings.
  • Mix them up with your hands and then throw in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip and return for 15 minutes.

 

  • While the potatoes are cooking let’s move on to the rest.
  • Chop your onion and throw in a medium sized skillet.
  • Peel the carrots and cut on a diagonal and cut the ends off the asparagus.
  • Then rinse the carrots and asparagus.
  • Bring the onion to a nice sauté and then add the rest of the veggies.
  • Meanwhile, in another medium size saucepan. Heat some olive oil.
  • Add the 1 cup of quinoa to the pot and let it get toasted, like you would pasta or rice. Gives it an extra earthy flavor.
  • Then add the 2 cups of vegetable stock. This also adds new flavor to the quinoa, which is a lot like a sponge and absorbs what ever flavors you put in it.
  • Let it boil and then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.

 

Serve:

  • Throw the quinoa at the bottom of your dish.
  • Add the veggies on top and the potatoes, there is your quick and easy  beginner quinoa meal!!

 

Check out some photos of the process. Let me know what else you like to put quinoa in!

 

 

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Meatless Monday Chronicles: Butternut Squash Soup!

I am still figuring out this whole blog website thing…however, I want to create a recipe corner! (Just not sure how to make the menu thingy work). I am always concocting new creations. I have been obsessed with the kitchen since I was five. My mother said the first thing I learned was to push the dining chair into the kitchen and get to the counter. She would catch me peeling and stuffing boiled eggs in my face.

Then elementary school summer break came along, guess who loved reading books of all kinds?! Yup, cookbooks too. Very first, unsupervised thing I made was fudge. Boy was it delicious! My mom was impressed, yet terrified because I was cooking and boiling hot sugar…of course, I did not do that unsupervised again. I did learn to be really messy in the kitchen, which did not go so well with mom either. What can I say, I live by organized chaos! (I’ve learned to clean more haha).

My inspiration for this recipe is my mom. She has been vegetarian for over 30 years, maybe longer. As I got older, I perfected meat dishes for my dad (do not cook meat anymore), but I wanted to create unique things for my mom too. So, I combined a lot of my favorite orange things and thus called it soup!! Yup, as creative as it gets sometimes lol.

My mom is from the beautiful small island of Trinidad and Tobago, so, making a “Butternut Squash Soup” was definitely not a normal thing, but she was excited to try it! I have been making it the same ever since!

# of ingredients: 5

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Butternut Squash (1/2 pound)
  • Sweet Potatoes (2 medium size)
  • Carrots (3, peeled)
  • Veggie Stock (homemade or store bought – 3 cups)
  • Olive Oil Spray (or mister if you have one)

 

Directions:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots into similar size chunks.
  • Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Place all the orange veggies on the sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Use a long wooden skewer to pierce the veggies. If it goes through, they are ready to come out of the oven.
  • Heat a pot with 1 1/2 cup of veggie stock and bring to a boil.
  • Add all your veggies, (here, you can add some other fresh veggies like onion or fennel to give a different flavor!)
  • Bring to a nice simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn the stove off, and get your blender ready! I have a NinjaChef, which was an awesome Christmas present!
  • I used the soup setting first and yes it will look like small lumpy mashed veggies, that is okay!
  • Don’t forget that reserved vegetable stock! Start to add that liquid to your veggies to help them move around the blender.
  • I do it in half portions to not exceed the “hot liquid” warning and to ensure smooth soup texture!
  • Once, all has turned into mush, add the last 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to the blender and put on the puree setting!
  • It is like magic, no more mushy, just silk smooth soup!
  • You can store in a freezer proof container for up to a month! I always divide my portions for lunch, dinner, and a lazy day in the future, i.e. freezer.

Below are some pictures from my Meatless Monday Chronicles! Tune in next week for another fun creation!

Remember, there is nothing to being an amazing home chef! Healthy meals are quick, simple, and low maintenance ingredients, they also do not have to break the bank!

Notice, there was no salt or sugar in this recipe! You get all the natural sweetness from the sweet potatoes and the carrots. Also, the butternut squash gives you amazing flavor and texture. This is a sure fire healthy meal, whether you are on a diet, trying to be vegetarian or vegan, or just want to try something new!

 

Hope you enjoy!! Come back for more Meatless Monday Chronicles!!

 

~Elizabeth Gosein-Vasquez

Amongst the Hustle and Bustle…Life is Created

Even with the constant movement in our mundane lives, life is being created. Spring is the time of rebirth. For all the beautiful plant life and vegetation, the sun is out longer and new plants have a chance to blossom. With the revival of the fauna, it is also time time for LIFE!

In our little yard, we noticed some perfectly made holes in our fence post. Of course, we thought woodpeckers! Interestingly enough, it was definitely birds, but not the ones we thought. We have in our fence post multiple holes in multiples posts and they all seem to be form the same birds! They have blue upper bodies and a red breast area. They are called Eastern Bluebird. If you click on the link you can see the type of bird I am referring too, unfortunately, I did not catch any good photos of the birds, but I see them everyday!

However, I have pictures of something even more precious. Important Note: Never touch wild eggs or wild babies. The parents will no longer recognize the scent and they will then abandon their eggs or young. This is a common problem of humans always feeling the necessity to touch what does not belong to them.

When we took our picture, we made it quick and brief and did not linger long so or scent would not perfume the air. The parents kept a safe distance as we captured a quick photo! Do you see the beauty?! Five beautiful small colored eggs, you could not ask for a more special Easter Surprise! We can’t wait to see the little birdies learn to fly. ❤ Happy Easter!!

Dire need of Food!

Well, it’s great to be back from Pensacola, Fl!! FYI, it was a six and half hour trek from Orlando with way too many stops for gas!! Meanwhile, Mr. Tolkien got to enjoy a lot of sleep time. Bless his heart for putting up with me! Lol. He was fantastic though and I definitely hope to be able to bring him on more work trips!

Now, the best part of being home, is food! Not spending money on something you think might be good, but just being able to make it and know it’s good ingredients!

Here’s a fast and simple sandwich type meal.

Ingredients:

Morning Star Chik Patties (or any brand of nonmeat patties-there’s a lot!)

Stonefire Roasted Garlic Naan

-Cheese slices (farmers market quality, humane dairy farm aka local, or vegan cheese)

Yasss, three ingredient, protein packed meal!! Say whaaaat.

I grabbed Morning Star Original Chik Patties. These are vegetarian must haves ! Grabbed one out of the freezer and threw it in a small nonstick pan. (No oil, but you can add some olive or coconut oil). Pretty much cooked at medium heat for 3-5 minutes each side, color depends on your preference. I like toasty lol.

Next, I heated the Stonefire Roasted Garlic Naan on another skillet with no oil or butter. ( You can add these things if you want more flavor.) Additional note: I am Indian and I could technically make the Roti, Naan, Bake etc by scratch, but this is an awesome quick go to!! They’re found near the bakery or deli areas of supermarkets!

Then I grabbed my cheese sitting at room temperature. (Tip: have the cheese or vegan cheese sit out to room temperature, this helps make it melt easier when on warm food!)

I’m a cheesy gal, so, I used two slices. I cut the heated Naan in half. Placed a slice of cheese down, then my Chik Pattie, and then my other slice of cheese and the half of Naan! Now, I got me a Naanwich!! Now, this recipe can totally be spruced up with more ingredients: tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, hummus, pesto… I can go on forever lol!

Extremely flavorful in a short amount of time. Good for you too!

Cravin’ Asian!!

It really isn’t that hard to come up with great vegetarian dishes that require absolutely no meat!! This was really inexpensive and easy to make! I cooked regular pasta, then sautéed the greens with some sesame oil and soy sauce and seasoning, then added the pasta. Set that aside. I had the vegetarian meatballs bake in the oven. As this was going I made a sauce from vegetable broth, pepper jelly, and some soy sauce. Brought it to a boil added my gorgeous eggs and medium poached them. Afterwards, added the meat balls and then serve over noodles! Hope you guys enjoy this! Please let me know how it goes!! 😀

Homemade Asian Noodles! Delicious pasta, soy sauce, sesame oil with kale, spinach and red chard, vegetarian meat balls and poached egg!
Homemade Asian Noodles!
Delicious pasta, soy sauce, sesame oil with kale, spinach and red chard, vegetarian meat balls and poached egg!
Looks even more decadent when you crack open the poached egg over the noodles!
Looks even more decadent when you crack open the poached egg over the noodles!