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BBQ Veggie Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

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I was really looking forward to grilling some veggie burgers and fresh zucchini tonight, but it didn’t work out as I had planned.  I ended up baking everything, but it still turned out delicious.  So much so that I have to share the recipes with you.

 

recipe from ohsheglows.com

BBQ Veggie Burgers

from ohsheglows

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas

1/2 cup dry brown rice

3-4 Tbsp sunflower seeds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 cup onion, diced

1 small carrot, grated

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (or 4 tsp dried)

3 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp ground flax

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fine grain sea salt

 

Directions

Add 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer with the lid on until fully cooked (around 20 minutes).

(Optional:  Toast sunflower seeds in the oven at 300 degrees for 12 minutes.)

Prep all the vegetables: garlic, peppers, onion, carrot, and parsley.  Add to a bowl and stir in 1/2 tsp salt.

When the rice is finished cooking, add it to a medium bowl along with the chickpeas and mash them together.  You must do this while the rice is hot so it binds together.  The chickpeas take a while to mash, so you may wish to use a food processor (I have not tried this).  You want the rice/chickpea mixture to be mashed well but with some chunks left for texture.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the rice/chickpea mixture and stir in the vegetables using a wooden spoon.  Stir in the BBQ sauce, breadcrumbs, flax, sunflower seeds, red pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Form 6-7 patties.  You have 3 cooking options.  You could bake these on a greased sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (flip them over after 15 minutes).  You could also cook them in a skillet for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Or you could grill them.  If you grill them, you’ll need to pre-bake them for 15 minutes at 350.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

from simplyrecipes

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (about 3 Tbsp)

1.5 Tbsp Turbinado sugar

3/4 Tbsp kosher salt

1.5 Tbsp of your favorite seasoning mix (I like either cajun or Mediterranean mixes)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 and grease a large cookie sheet.

Wash the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends (you may wish to peel them as well, but I like the skins on).  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise (if they are really long, then cut them in half crosswise also).  Slice each piece into wedges.  Some of mine were wide, so I cut them in half lengthwise again so that all the fries were about equal size.

Put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, drizzle them with olive oil, and add in all the seasonings.  Mix well so all the fries are covered with the same amount of seasoning.

Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, and then flip the potatoes over and bake for another 10-15 minutes (until browned).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Party Food for Đầy Tháng

Saturday afternoon, we hosted a đầy tháng party for our new goddaughter (which happens to be my husband’s baby cousin).  A đầy tháng is the celebration of the first month of a baby’s life.  Infant mortality has historically been a major concern in Vietnam, so families would not celebrate a new baby until she had survived the first month of life.  Once one month had passed and the baby remained healthy, the family would host a party so that all their family and friends could meet the new baby.  This is when a baby’s name would be announced as well.  Traditionally, Vietnamese people believed it was bad luck to name the baby or say nice things about her (for example, “she’s so cute”), because that would draw attention from spirits, and if you caught the spirits’ attention, they might steal the soul.  They believed that once a baby reached one month of age, her soul was sealed inside of her and could not be easily taken.  Nowadays, Vietnamese families still celebrate đầy tháng, but in a more modern way.  People come to the hospital to see the baby and parents tell the baby’s name (sometimes even before the baby is born, although we know a lot of Vietnamese people who will not share the name, or sometimes won’t even choose a name, until after the baby is born), and while mothers still do not leave the house for a month, people can stop by the house to visit during those weeks leading up to the big celebration.  I guess you could say the modern đầy tháng is sort of like a baby shower AFTER the baby is born, because people bring gifts or money.

So, all that to say, I hosted a party, which means I made a lot of food.  When hosting a party, I think the best approach is to make as much in advance as possible, because once you see the to-do list (cleaning, cooking, baking, decorating, invitations, etc.) you realize there are a lot of last minute things to do and you don’t want to be stressed out the day of the party.

I started with the dessert.  I originally thought about ordering a cake, but vegan cakes from a bakery are pretty pricey; not to mention, EVERYONE has cake for these types of parties, so I decided to make homemade sugar cookies.  I had never made vegan sugar cookies before, but I found the most amazing recipe for them online (see recipe below), and they are seriously the best sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted.  They were a big hit at the party!

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I chose a butterflies and flowers theme for the party since the baby is a girl, so I bought some cute cookie cutters and decided to use pink frosting, but I didn’t want to feed people Red 40, which is well known for causing hyperactivity in children and possibly cancer in adults.  So, I used beets to add a natural pink color to the icing.  It’s so easy!  Just wash and peel a small beet, and then cut off a 1 inch chunk.  Cut the 1 inch chunk into little cubes or rectangles and microwave them for about 30 seconds (or until some juice starts leaking out).  Add the beet chunks to the bowl of icing and stir until you reach the shade of pink you desire, and then remove the beets with a spoon.  You can’t even taste the beet juice!  No one would have guessed I used beets to dye the frosting, and the color was perfect!

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Next, I moved on to salads.  I made a broccoli salad and my mom made a pasta salad.  Her pasta salad was very simple but delicious.  She used tricolor spiral noodles and added several different kinds of chopped vegetables and tossed it in an Italian vinaigrette.  For my broccoli salad, I used a “rainbow salad” mix (sometimes called “broccoli slaw mix”) and added raisins, green onion, and sunflower seeds with a homemade Veganaise-based dressing (see recipe below).

Finally, I prepped veggie burgers the night before.  This is one of our favorite veggie burger recipes, which I’ve written about before, although I’ve never shared the recipe on my blog.  I got the recipe from ohsheglows, and they truly are some of the best veggie burgers!  The only difference in mine is I add about 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper to the mix.

The party was a lot of fun.  Actually, I should say parties (*plural), because I hosted a party for D’s friends at our house in the afternoon, and then we had another party with family and Vietnamese family friends at a friend’s Vietnamese restaurant late at night after everyone was off work.

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Vegan Sugar Cookies  (recipe from veggie-kids)

1 1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup applesauce

warm water

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together Earth Balance and sugar with electric beaters.  Beat in applesauce and vanilla.

Using a large spoon, stir in baking powder and flour, starting with 2 cups of flour and then gradually adding the last 2 cups.  It may take several minutes to get the dough softened up, and you may even need to add about 2 Tbsp of warm water, but it will soften.

Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll dough onto a floured surface about 1/4 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters of your choice to make cookies, and place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.  Allow them to cool completely before frosting them.  I had to bake these in 2 batches.  This recipe made 42 cookies for me.

Sugar Cookie Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp Earth Balance, softened

2 Tbsp non-dairy milk (I used vanilla coconut milk.  You may need more or less milk depending on the consistency you want the icing to be.)

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

In a large bowl, use a big spoon to stir together the powdered sugar and Earth Balance.  Stir in vanilla and then the milk, adding 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach the consistency you want.

If you want pink frosting, follow the directions I gave above using beets.  I know there are other natural ways of dying frosting, but I have not tried them yet, so pink is all I can tell you for sure.

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Broccoli Salad

1 rainbow salad mix (sometimes called broccoli slaw mix)

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

For the Dressing

1 cup veganaise

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp white vinegar

In a medium bowl, toss together the rainbow salad mix, green onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds.  In a separate small bowl, mix together the veganaise, sugar, and vinegar.  Slowly add the dressing to the salad and mix well.  You probably won’t need the entire amount of dressing.  I usually end up using almost all of it, but there’s always just a little left in the bowl.


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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

My mom made this amazing vegan shepherd’s pie with a recipe she found online a few weeks ago.  I can honestly say it’s the best shepherd’s pie I’ve had, vegan or otherwise.  She gave me the recipe, which according to her printout, is from fatfreevegan.com.  Here is Fat Free Vegan’s recipe below along with pictures I took of it when I made it for dinner tonight.

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Ingredients

2 lbs yukon potatoes

1/2 cup almond milk

salt & pepper, to taste

1 sweet onion, minced

2 large carrots, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

8 oz. mushrooms, diced

2 cups vegetable broth

1 can kidney beans, drained

2 cups green beans, cut in 1 in. pieces

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 1/2 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp dried sage

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp water

Directions

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes.  Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.  Reserve a cup of their cooking water and drain.  Place in a large bowl, add the almond milk, and mash until smooth.  Add some of the potato water if you need to, though the almond milk should be enough.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and then set aside in a warm place.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling.  Add a little bit of oil to a large skillet on medium high heat.  Saute the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and saute for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs.  Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  There should still be a little bit of liquid in the skillet, but you may need to add just a bit of the potato water.  Add the spinach and stir until it’s completely wilted.  Mix the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl, and then pour into the skillet with the vegetables.  Stir until the mixture has thickened.

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Turn the heat off, and spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the filling and sprinkle with either rosemary or fried onions.  Serve immediately while hot.  This makes great leftovers as well!  Yields 6 servings.

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Grilled Asparagus Salad

We’ve been having gorgeous weather lately, so I really wanted to grill tonight.  Asparagus and strawberries are super fresh and delicious this time of year, so I decided to put them together in a salad.  It turned out really well!

 

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Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus

extra virgin olive oil

salt & black pepper, to taste

1 cup strawberries, cut in half and then thinly sliced

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 green onion, minced

strawberry basil dressing (see recipe below)

 

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Directions

Wash the asparagus and spread in a pan.  Brush olive oil on and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill the asparagus.

While the asparagus is grilling, cut up the strawberries and green onion, and make the dressing.

When the asparagus is finished on the grill, cut the stalks into one inch pieces and place in a medium sized bowl.  Add in the strawberries, almonds, and onion, and pour the desired amount of dressing on top.  Mix and it’s ready to serve!

 

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We grilled potato packets to go with our grilled asparagus salad.  Basically, you wipe a little oil onto a rectangular piece of foil (to prevent the potatoes from sticking), and then you fill the foil with thinly sliced potatoes, slices of onion, Earth Balance, and whatever seasoning you choose.  Fold all the sides in to make a little packet.  Put the packets on the grill and cook until the potatoes have softened.

Before giving you the recipe for the salad dressing, I have to admit that I actually made a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette from the Whole Foods website, but we did not particularly love the recipe, because the flavor of thyme was too strong in it.  However, we LOVED the salad and agreed it would be PERFECT with this strawberry basil dressing, which I have used for salads before.  The recipe comes from ohsheglows.

 

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Ingredients

1 cup strawberries

1/4 cup fresh basil

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tsp pure maple syrup

fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste

 

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

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Garlic Roasted Veggies and Lentils

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Ingredients

2 large russet potatoes, washed and cut into 2 inch chunks

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

black pepper, to taste

3/4 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup green lentils

2 cups vegetable broth

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare the potatoes and carrots, and place in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and then pour over the potatoes and carrots, stirring well.  Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.  Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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Meanwhile, put 1/2 cup of green lentils into a small saucepan with 2 cups of vegetable broth (lid on) and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, slide the lid over so it’s slightly ajar, allowing more steam out, and turn heat down to low.  Allow to simmer until the broth cooks off.  The lentils should be done cooking around the same time as the potatoes and carrots.

About 10 minutes before the potatoes and carrots finish cooking, cook the peas, drain, and set aside.

Once everything is cooked, add the peas and lentils to the potatoes and carrots in the casserole dish and mix everything together.  Makes 2 entree servings or 4 side servings.

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Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

One of my favorite foods as a meat eater was chicken salad, especially this time of year (although as a disclaimer, I never even tried to make my own–I always went to a place in Birmingham called Ashley Mac’s to buy chicken salad).  Anyway, this afternoon, we were supposed to be taking my mother-in-law out for Mother’s Day, but she is very sick today.  Since we had originally planned to eat out with her, I was trying to think of something I could whip up fast for lunch, and chicken salad kept coming to my mind.  I searched online for a vegan “chicken” salad recipe, but it seemed like all I could find were recipes for “Not Tuna Salad” made with chickpeas.  I figured since our plans for the day were canceled, what better time to attempt a vegan version of a spring/summer lunch classic!  I have to say, this Chickpea “Chicken” Salad is really good!  It’s definitely a keeper in my house.  Eat it on bread, inside a pita pocket, on a vegan croissant, or in a wrap.

Chickpea Chicken Salad Chickpea Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1  15 oz can chickpeas

1 cup walnuts, roasted and chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 Tbsp shallot, minced

2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

3/4 cup veganaise

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1-2 Tbsp tarragon (I used dried, but fresh would obviously be great, too.)

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

 

Directions

Drain the can of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a medium bowl.  Use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas.

Turn a small skillet to medium-high, add the walnuts, and keep flipping them in the skillet until they are browned.  If you use whole walnuts, use whatever you have to chop them.  Add walnuts to the mashed chickpeas along with the rest of the ingredients (celery, shallot, grapes, veganaise, red wine vinegar, tarragon, salt and black pepper).  Mix well and it’s ready to serve!

The number of servings this makes will really depend on what you put the chickpea “chicken” salad in.  For example, if filling pita pockets, this would have less servings than if you used regular bread because you can fit more inside a pita.  My guess is 6-8 servings.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!