Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adventures in Cooking: Vol. 7 (The Vegan Edition)

As of Monday I took the plunge into veganism eliminating the dairy and eggs from my previous decision to become lacto-ovo vegetarian.  The decision came after some research, like most of my decisions usually do, and the The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet (which I of course picked up at my local library) sealed the deal.  Cooking without dairy can seem overwhelming but I can assure you it is easier then even I thought it would be.  Check out the recipes below that I either found or concocted myself.

Black Bean and Veggie Wrap
This is a very light and veggie packed lunch that I whip up while at work.  The black beans give you a protein punch and the avocado adds some healthy fat.  I wasn't even missing the cheese of a typical burrito. The more lime the better!  Add a dash of salt to the mix and you have a tasty and quick lunch that won't leave you wishing for a nap when you are done.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe's Filling
I found this recipe on My Veggie Kitchen.  I thought I would give it a try since my son is fighting the conversion slightly so I wanted to give him something meat like.  This filling was pretty good I must say, but my son didn't care for it much.  I highly recommend cooking the bulgar first, I wished I had done so to make it more tender.  These really aren't half bad and reheat quickly on the stove, just add a little water and warm through.

Fruit and Veggie Salad with a Kick
This is a nice salad that makes good use of the fresh fruits and vegetables abundantly available in the spring season.  I love pineapple and thought it would be great in a salad so I gave this one a shot.  I didn't care for the dressing much but then again I forgot to add the pineapple juice to the mix.  I served mine over greens, even-though the recipe didn't call for it, in an effort to get in some extra veggies.

Vegan Spicy Enchilada Casserole
Saved the best for last!  I previously posted my recipe for Chicken Enchilada Casserole, a go to dish for me in the past when trying to make my food dollar stretch.  I got a hankering for some enchiladas and decided it was time to come up with a creative way to make them vegan friendly.  Viola, this recipe was born!  The soy chorizo from Trader Joe's is the best I have had so far.  It has a nice spice to it and the enchilada sauce they sell complimented it well.  I made this stretch into 15 servings and got the seal of approval from two 12-year olds.  I even had a non-vegan friend fooled!

Happy Cooking Folks!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Spring/Summer Garden Update in Photos

Adventures in Cooking: Vol 6

Recently I decided to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian, a personal decision to eat healthier with less fat and cholesterol.  At this point I am still eating dairy and eggs, man I loooove cheese, but I am planning to switch to soy dairy all together once I get used to not eating meat and poultry.  That being said my latest adventures in cooking are all meatless recipes.

Potato and Soyrizo Tacos
I love chorizo, but I hate the fat that it contains.  I was a little leary about the soyrizo but was happy to be pleasantly surprised.  These were excellent!  My son and his friend gobbled them right up eventhough I offered a ground beef taco as well. I topped mine with some Wholly Guacamole I got at Costco, soy cheese and some fresh made salsa.  The leftovers were stuffed into a burrito with some canned beans and wrapped in a wheat tortilla. 

Strawberry Romaine Salad
This is a tasty salad with an easy to make homemade dressing.  I used frozen strawberries that I thawed out before-hand.  I added the juice from the strawberries as well as a few whole strawberries to the dressing mix and liquified in the blender. I subbed a baby lettuce mix for the romaine lettuce because that's what I had on hand. All around a delicious salad.  Would have been good with some blue cheese crumbles and some walnuts.  My son wasn't too keen on this one though.  He is new to eating salad though so the fact that he gets some leafy greens in his diet makes me happy so I made him an alternative salad with his favorite fixens.

Watermelon, Blueberry Salad with Feta
This is the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  I used a feta dressing I got at Trader Joe's for $1.99 in place of the dressing created in this recipe.  The feta dressing worked perfectly with the feta that was already in the salad.  Delish!  I will definitely be making this one again!

Green Monster with Strawberries, Banana and Peanut Butter
I made this smoothie in place of the usual one I make as a means to switch things up a little.  I used a chunky peanut butter with flax seed from Trader Joe's instead of the creamy one called for in the recipe.  The color of the shake isn't all that appetizing but it is indeed a tasty breakfast treat.  My son liked it better then our usual Green Monster. Sorry no photos for this one.

Veggie Greek Wrap
Costco has a fabulous tatziki (creamy mediterranean yogurt sauce).  For about $7.00 you get a huge container of goodness.  It is great with pita chips as a veggie dip and as a salad dressing, my favorite of all.  I created this quick fix lunch with the tatziki sauce in mind.  I even made hummus myself to use in the recipe.  If I want to cut calories I ditch the hummus and tortilla and make this Greek Side Salad.

Crisp Garlic Oven Fries
I look for every opportunity I can to use my Mandoline Slicer, it's my favorite kitchen gadget!  These oven fries, more like chips actually, were a breeze to make thanks to my mandoline.  In 10 seconds flat my potato was cut into perfectly sized round discs.  These oven fries cook up great and are very good.  My son and I dipped them into some ranch dressing, who doesn't love ranch and fries right!  The spices were just right.  I paired them with a dinner salad for a complete and  light evening meal.