Lentil Soup, lots and lots of lentil soup

28 Aug

I’ve been wanting to cook lentils for a while now. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the before this year. They always looked weird and un appetizing to me. Some lovely Indian dal changed me mind. I’m still too intimidated to cook Indian food at home, so i made lentil soup. This recipe is simple and tastes great! It came out more like a stew, perfect with a piece of toast. It tastes way better than it looks, trust me ūüôā¬†

Simple Lentil Soup:

1 lb green lentils

1 large potato

1 large tomato

3 large carrots

1 med onion

6 leaves of kale

5 cloves of garlic

2 tbs oil

1 quart vegetable stock

2 cups water

salt and pepper

 

In a blender, pulse garlic, onion, carrots, and kale. This cuts down on the chop time.

 

Heat oil in large soup pot.

Add vegetables from blender to pot.

 

Add salt and pepper. (A good large pinch)

Chop potato into small pieces and add to pot, stir occasionally, cook for 5 minutes.

Rinse lentils with cold water.

Add Vegetable stock to pot. (I poured the stock into the blender and then into the pot so I could get every last little piece of the green vegetable mix out of the blender.

Add extra water (I added 2 cups and it came out pretty much like stew, add more water of veg. stock for a thin broth)

Cover pot and let cook for 30 minutes.

taste test lentils, continue to cook until lentils are soft but not mushy.

Serve with toasted crusty bread.

Enjoy. Makes enough for sharing and the freezer ūüôā¬†

Chocolate for Breakfast!

27 Aug

Thank you Happy Herbivore for giving me yet another delicious meal to wake up for! Chocolatey Oatmeal! I received the recipe from one of the meal plans. Considering you get about 21 recipes for $5, it’s a pretty inexpensive way to eat healthy and make simple, delicious meals. If you are interested or would like more information, check out the Happy Herbivore’s meal plan website at¬†http://www.getmealplans.com/

 

Recipe: Chickpea Salad!

26 Aug

I recently was at the store and ran across a pre-made Chickpea Salad that was vegan. It tasted great, but I figured I could easily make my own version at home. I copied the ingredients and with the help of a few online recipes, I pieced together what turned out to be an amazing salad!

Kate’s Chickpea Salad

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic (or the equivalent in garlic powder)

1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt

Pepper

1. Saute onions and peppers over medium heat for about 4-6 minutes. Onions should be slightly translucent. You can skip this step if you prefer raw veggies.

2. In a large bowl, combine veggies, garlic, chickpeas, and cilantro.

3. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix and pour over salad.

4. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Refrigerate before serving so all the flavors can combine.

I also wanted to share one of the most exciting items I have received from my CSA: MELON!

Vietnam Noodle House

25 Aug

I went to the¬†Vietnam Noodle House on Main St. in ¬†Nashua, NH the other night. I’ve been meaning to go there for ages.

It was really late, so I was glad to see they were still open, and still taking sit down customers (they have huge take out popularity).

I was overjoyed to see that half the menu was vegan AND the vegan menu including appetizers were listed first! I Hate having to search forever in a menu to find anything.

Mike was glad to see that they also offered omnivore options too.
We Split the vegan egg rolls. They were AWESOME! the best I’ve ever had! perfectly crispy, not oily, and the presentation was lovely. We ate it with the spicy “rooster sauce” (watch out, it’s super spicy)

For my meal I order the house special which was like stir fried veggies with tofu and their three types of marinated seitan (mock beef, mock pork, and mock chicken). The veggies were nice and firm, just how I like them. This was piled high over a bed of broad noodles (resembled wide egg noodles). I loved this dish but next time I’ll try a different noodle.

My meal was only $7.50 and there was enough for great leftovers lunch the next day.

The staff was a bit slow but super polite and friendly resulting in the tip of a lifetime ūüôā

The decor is comically weak, but the food speaks for itself.

I can’t wait to go back here!

Anyone want to go with me?

-Kerri

The Sweet Simple Pleasures of Late Summer

24 Aug

My neighbors started a small but amazing garden this year. They generously gave me some of their tomatoes the other day.

These tomatoes are the most flavorful tomatoes I can ever remember tasting. They are far and above, way better than the tomatoes in my CSA.

I ate these tomatoes by themselves and they were awesome, but what really hit the spot was my open faced tomato and  mayonnaise sandwich.

I have a sweet memory of my first tomato and mayonnaise sandwich. I was probably 11 when I went through a pretty severe Harriet the Spy phase. Harriet love tomato and  mayonnaise sandwiches, so of corse I needed to try one.

My Nanna lived with us, and she saw me making the sandwich in the kitchen and got all excited. Seeing the tomato and  mayonnaise sandwich stirred up memories of her past and childhood when she used to make them all the time. She said that she had not seen one in years and years and decided to join me and have a sandwich of her own.

Now tomato and  mayonnaise sandwiches are like comfort food. It always brings me back to that day with my Nanna in the kitchen and Harriet the Spy on my mind.

I made my tomato and  mayonnaise sandwich open faced this time because the tomatoes were so beautiful I thought it would be a shame to cover them with a piece of bread.

I toasted scali bread in the toaster oven (an italian style bread covered with sesame seeds), and topped the toast with vegan  mayonnaise and large slices of tomato.

I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life.

-Kerri

Bummer

24 Aug

Since starting the vegan diet back in February, I have noticed many benefits ranging from increased energy to fewer stomachaches. Unfortunately, I also noticed I was breaking out more often, specifically around my mouth. Some people said it was hormone-related others said it was my body detoxing. Keep in mind that even during adolescence, I never had any problems with acne.

Last week, I noticed I was breaking out more than usually and assessed my diet. I had several soy-based meals. This week, I decided to cut back on the soy. Sure enough, my skin is clear. It’s nice to know what most likely was the cause, but super disappointing that it is soy ūüė¶ Obviously, this reaction isn’t severe enough for me to cut it out completely, especially since I have been eating soy for as long as I remember, just not in the same quantity as I have been recently.

My plan is to cut back on tofu and tempeh and focus more on beans and quinoa for protein. Any other suggestions?

~Kate

A little sweet and a little savory

23 Aug

I recently subscribed to the Happy Herbivore’s 7 day meal plan with the hopes of losing a few pounds. One of the recipes I have already fallen in love with: Peanut Butter Cup Quinoa. It’s my new favorite way to start the day!

 

For dinner, I made corn fajitas. I sauteed some black beans with onion, cumin, salt, and black pepper. In a separate frying pan, I sauteed peppers and onions. I layered the beans and peppers on top of a corn tortilla with salsa and guacamole. Delicious!

 

~Kate

Ancient Aztec Salad

22 Aug

I’m working late tonight and decided to prepare one of the Happy Herbivore’s Quick Meals. I added a few extra ingredients to make it my own. Here it is:

Ancient Aztec Salad:

  • 1 cup corn
  • ¬Ĺ cup black beans
  • ¬ľ cup cooked quinoa
  • Fresh salsa (I used about 1/4 cup instead of using fresh tomatoes)
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • A very small amount of olive oil
  • 1 piece of Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini
  • Chipotle pepper powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin

Cook the chick’n to your liking. I usually pan-fry it with just a little bit of oil to keep it from sticking. I have learned that using water or vegetable broth changes the consistency of the Gardein products so I recommend using olive oil. Feel free to add seasonings of you choice while the chick’n is cooking. I used the Chipotle pepper powder.

Combine the rest of the ingredients. This is great served warm or cold. Pretty ideal for eating at work. Enjoy!

(Recipe from happyherbivore.com).

Cold Cucumber Rice Salad

21 Aug

I’m always looking for things to make for lunch at work. This cold cucumber and rice salad is the perfect thing because I can make it ahead of time, and the flavors blend beautifully by the time my lunch break rolls around. I made a batch of this and ate it two days in a row, and it was even better the second day.

I thought of this dish because i wanted something with a light flavor, that would stick my your ribs. I had a lot of cucumbers but i didn’t think my¬†Cool Cookout Cucumber Salad would fill my up enough, and I didn’t want anything with a slot of dressing. This salad has just the right balance of flavors and texture. I’m really happy with the way it tuned out.

Cold Cucumber Rice Salad

1 cup plain rice (measured uncooked rice)

2 cucumbers

1 lime

1 teaspoon white vinegar

vegan mayo

I use extra long grain white rice. I make it like sushi rice because I love it slightly sticky. I make sticky rice by rinsing the uncooked rice with really cold water. I swish the water around and scrunch the damp rice in my fists so the grains rub against each other polishing the outside of the rice. Rinse several times until the water is pretty much clear. Drain rinsing water and add fresh water to the pot. Bring water and rice to a boil. Then turn the heat down and cover the pot to steam the rice. Simmer (watch out for boiling over) for 30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking cut cucumbers into bite sized pieces.

When rice is cooked remove from heat and place in mixing bowl, add white vinegar and fold into the rice.

Add Cucumbers to the bowl.

Add the juice from one lime.

Add a small amount of vegan mayo. Just enough to bring the mixture together. Taste test the salad until you get the right amount. People are very picky about how much mayo to use. Remember you can always add more if you want, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.

You want to fold the ingredients together while the rice is warm and then place the batch in the refrigerator. I suggest making this at least 20 minutes before serving, but you can do it a day in advance. The flavor is better when its had time to blend.

Enjoy!

I’d love a comment if you try this recipe.

-Kerri

Not entirely related to being vegan, but…

21 Aug

How much do I love animals, especially cats? This gives you a little idea:

Image

My first tattoo ever. I apologize that since the picture was taken immediately after, it still looks a little bloody and gross.

Can’t wait for the next one!

~Kate