Thai Peanut Bowl

Easy Thai Peanut Bowl

This is one of those easy throw-together lunches that might not deserve its own “recipe,” but I’m always looking for quick and easy meal ideas, so I thought I’d share!

I’m on a peanut butter kick this week, and had a brick of tofu in the Tofu XPress in the fridge just waiting to be used, so I stirred up this little Thai bowl. It came together quickly, since I used a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and tasted fantastic! I didn’t have any peanuts on hand, and my scallions had gone bad – but if I had them, they’d be on top!

Thai Peanut Bowl

Thai Peanut Bowl

Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl

by Shelly

Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 oz rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (1 bag) frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Instructions

Boil water and cook rice noodles per package instructions.

Drain and press tofu, then slice into cubes.

Saute oil, peanut butter, and garlic over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Add tofu to saute mixture and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add vegetables and water chestnuts. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Stir.

Reduce heat to medium and cook for 12 minutes.

Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.

Serve over rice noodles and top with peanuts and scallions.

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The Deal with Eggs

I bought eggs last week.

I hear you now. You’re shrieking, “Whaaaat???!!”

I’ve always said that if I could only give up eating one thing – eggs, dairy, or meat – it would be eggs. The factory farming for eggs just seems to me the most cruel of all. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve never been much of an egg person to begin with.

But I had a veggie dish last week at the local Thai place, and it had eggs in it. The week before that, I ate eggs via the limited selection at a hotel continental breakfast. As I walked through the food co-op recently, I spied eggs and wanted them. So I bought them.

They’re local Shenandoah Valley free range eggs, but eggs nonetheless.

I’ve also always said that if I could walk up to the hen that laid my eggs and say, “Hey, buddy!” and know that she was laying them through nature’s course, living in a happy place, I’d have no problem eating eggs.

For now, I’m OK with these particular eggs.

I’ve been making green onion and dill scrambled eggs, and it might be the most delicious egg concoction ever. With the savory twist, I find that these eggs make a great side for lunch or dinner.

Scrambled Eggs with Green Onion & Dill

by Shelly

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: griddle breakfast side vegetarian eggs green onion

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

  • 3 small eggs
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • pinch of dried dill
  • Earth Balance or nonstick cooking spray

Instructions

1. Preheat a skillet with Earth Balance or nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients.

3. Pour into skillet and stir frequently until eggs are set.

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Avocado Spinach Sandwich and Asparagus

Lies of Omission

So, I’ve been keeping something from you.

It’s a sandwich – one that I’ve now eaten 3 days in a row.

I didn’t mean to. I thought about sharing. The first time, I was just too hungry to stop and grab the camera.

The second time, I started to prep the sammy for picture time, but it just wasn’t photogenic enough to bother.

Well, the sandwich still isn’t very photogenic, but it’s so darn tasty that I was overcome with guilt today as I made it for, yes, a third time.

So here you go – my current crush of a sandwich:

Avocado Spinach Sandwich and Asparagus

Avocado Spinach Panini and Asparagus

It’s the Avocado Spinach Panini [recipe], inspired by the recipe in the July/Aug 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times.

My version is a slight modification on the original. It’s essentially (for one sandwich):

  • half an avocado, mashed
  • 1/8 of an onion, diced
  • a generous smear of garlic hummus
  • a small handful of baby spinach
  • some sundried tomatoes
  • smashed between two slices of bread and pressed for 4 minutes on the panini press

I’m currently enjoying the High Five Fiber loaf from Great Harvest Bread Company in Palos Heights, IL. If you’ve never had Great Harvest bread, you MUST check to see if there’s a GH near you. Their breads use simple, real food ingredients and fresh whole grain flours – ground daily! The flavor is incredible, and I’m so glad that I found GH at my local farmer’s market. I’ve been looking forward to shopping at GH Charlottesville once I get to Virginia, but it has been so delicious enjoying it here in the meantime!

Of course, I still suck at cutting bread loaves, so my slices are WAY huge. So, people, do not take these photos as an example of how much in grains you should eat at a meal. Leave that to MyPlate! My slices probably end up being 2.5 servings, at least!

But just look at this hot, gooey mess…

Avocado Spinach Panini

Avocado Spinach Panini

Oh, it is so good.

Mashing the avocado is definitely key. I had trouble in my first two attempts with the avocado slices falling out on the panini press or when I tried to eat the sandwich. The mashing also adds to the gooey-factor.

Side note: I’m eating asparagus like french fries now. Loooooove asparagus!

Fave way to prep asparagus: trim off the rough stems. Spray with a little olive oil spray. Sprinkle with veggie seasoning (I’m currently in love with McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Vegetable Seasoning. Yeah, the ingredient list is less than whole-foods-stellar, but it is mighty tasty). Then grill for 3 minutes. (Ahh, this is where having the Griddler is awesome sauce!)

So, as we embark upon this holiday weekend, I urge you to enjoy a tasty sandwich, grill up some veggies, and share some good times with the ones you love. 🙂

Veggie Bacon Cheeseburger and Cherries

The No-Bacon-No-Cheese Burger

I’m Batman Back!

Where have I been? I was off accepting a job half way across the country, then swimming in the chaos that comes along with such a decision! (Anyone wanna buy or rent my house?) I have missed my kitchen, but now that things have settled down a bit, I’m hoping for a few more quiet weeks to spend – just me and my kitchen – before the move and related insanity kicks in.

My return to said kitchen featured a new cookbook that I have been literally dying to dig into: The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman.

What can I say? I love to eat with my hands. I’m a burger fanatic. I love me a good sandwich.

This cookbook has so many amazing sounding flavor combinations that I can’t wait to try more!

But for now, I’ll settle for one: the Bacon Cheeseburger. The recipe can be found over on the author’s blog, JustTheFood.com.

Now, these are veggie burgers, and more specifically, they’re all vegan – so there’s no actual bacon or cheese to be found. And I didn’t have any fakin’ bacon or tempeh to use, so I had to skip the bacon part. And I was out of barbeque sauce, so I used General Tso’s sauce instead. And I was out of hamburger buns, so I used some whole wheat oat bread.

Even with all of my substitutions, MAN, did this make a tasty burger! Sweet and smokey. It honestly didn’t need any condiments to dress it up. Heck, it was so flavorful it could have stood alone without a bun! But I like a messy burger, so I got to dressing.

Whole wheat oat bread, topped with a smear of roasted garlic hummus, followed by a few pickles, and the star of the show – the (veggie) bacon cheeseburger, and a swirl of ketchup.

I grilled this burger on my Griddler Jr grill at about 1/4 heat for as long as it took me to assemble the supporting cast:

Big Ol' Salad

A Big Ol' Salad

My salads have a tendency to get outta hand. Salads are just the easiest, tastiest way to get a boatload of veggies down the hatch! This salad had a mixed greens base, followed by a shredded carrot, sundried tomato, about 1/4 of a cucumber, half an avocado, and a red wine olive oil vinaigrette.

I have a super crush on avocados. Just in case you haven’t made nicey-nice with avocados yourself, I love them even more since learning this little trick to preparing them. Once halved, slice the avocado while it’s still in its skin. Then scoop all the neat little pieces out with a spoon!

Slicing an avocado

Slicing an avocado

The scooping is the best part. Super fun! Except when you scoop too quickly and drop a giant blob of avo on the floor. But whatever.

Veggie Bacon Cheeseburger and Cherries

Veggie Bacon Cheeseburger and Cherries

Whaddya say? Fits pretty well with the new USDA “My Plate” recommendations, eh? Just ignore that pesky little dairy bit off to the side. It’s optional anyway. Speaking of the new Plate, I agree with most that it’s an improvement over the old pyramid, but still screams a little too loudly of placating various lobbying food industries. Here’s my favorite take on the Plate so far, over at Peas and Thank You. Good links to further reading there too. Marion Nestle’s deconstruction of My Plate is worth a read.

Good stuff!

Easter Leftovers: Veggie Sushi, Quinoa and Corn

Lunch!

Happy Easter, everybody!

Since my family gets together on Saturday, my Easter Sunday has been a quiet day filled with leftovers.

Easter Leftovers: Veggie Sushi, Quinoa and Corn

Lunch! Veggie Sushi, Quinoa & Corn

There may or may not have been a nooch-covered plate of twice-baked un-photogenic kale chips on the side.

I had almost forgotten about this Quinoa and Sweet Corn recipe from Clean Food. It’s super easy, especially if you have a rice cooker to make the quinoa. Simple and delicious! I need to dig back into that cookbook. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from it.

Here’s to the simple things in life!

The Godmother & My Veggie Drawer

Please excuse me. I’m having a food-gasm over here.

It’s Day 2 with my Griddler grill/panini press, and in another attempt to use up some leftovers, I accidentally recreated my second favorite pizza joint sandwich, vegan style:

The Godmother, from Nancy’s PizzaOven Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders with Red Sauce and Melted Mozzarella Cheese, served on Homemade Garlic Bread

Oh, yes. Yes. YES!

Not coincidentally, my ultimate favorite pizza joint sandwich also comes from Nancy’s. Of course, now that I’m neither eating chicken nor cheese, I will have to find a way to recreate this one as well:

The Chicken Club – Oven Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders, Fresh Bacon, Melted Mozzarella Cheese, Lettuce, Fresh Roma Tomatoes, and Creamy Garlic Sauce served on our Homemade Garlic Bread

I bet I could make a wicked-good vegan garlic sauce! The rest is cake, since I already figured it out.

Behold:

Godmother Panini (vegan)Starring:

– Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon

– Mom’s Marinara from Appetite for Reduction

Daiya mozzarella (best vegan cheese evah!)

– A little bit of Earth Balance (vegan butter)

Supporting act:

Salad

Help! I'm running out of vegetables!

Mixed greens, a grated carrot, and a handful of alfalfa sprouts doused with Sanctuary Dressing (also from Appetite for Reduction). The produce drawer in my fridge is looking pretty sad at the moment. Not even a cucumber to be found.

Tangent!

My veggie drawer typically contains:

– 1 bunch of kale (for making kale chips!)
– 1 cucumber
– 1 avocado (OK fine, avo is a fruit, so what)
– 1 red pepper (I know, I know! Red pepper is technically [botanically] a fruit too. But I eat it as a vegetable!)
– 1 bunch of broccoli
– 1 onion (yellow or white)
– 1 bunch asparagus
– Leafy greens (either an organic spring greens mix, or a mixed greens with spinach type thing)
– 1 bag of carrots

Those are my weekly go-to’s, mostly for salad purposes. Other veggies find their way into my fridge, but the list above is pretty much what I buy every week. Since there’s only one of me, I have to go to the grocery store weekly because I can only eat so much before it goes bad! Luckily, being a Perimeter Shopper at the grocery store, it’s easy to get in and out quickly. Sometimes the asparagus turns into green beans. Sometimes the broccoli becomes cauliflower. There’s usually 1 dinner veggie and a ton of salad veggies.

What’s in your veggie drawer?

Leftovers Day

It was leftovers day here on this lazy Sunday, the last day of Spring Break. This didn’t really feel like Spring Break; the weather was not spring-like, and it wasn’t really a break for me. However, I did manage to do a lot of shopping and a good amount of cooking.

The most significant acquisition of my Spring Break shopping spree was this Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12 piece cookware set. It came highly recommended by a food blogger that I enjoy reading, Vegan Burnout. I still, of course, spent days reading reviews and whatnot. I definitely needed a new set of cookware. My existing hodge-podge of a set consisted of scratched-up nonstick pieces from when I got my first apartment 17 years ago (yikes! Math be damned!) and from a housewarming gift when I bought my first house 8 years ago. Every time I have gone to cook something recently, I have had to pretend I didn’t see the flaking nonstick stuff… which led to pretending that the pots weren’t leeching chemicals and carcinogens into my food…. It didn’t matter as much when I only cooked once a year, but now that I’m cooking at least several times a week, it concerns me.

So, enough of that! I chose stainless because I have 2 pots that I love. They’re both stainless, and are both pieces from a set of Revere cookware that my parents got as a wedding gift 37 years ago (awwww!). So it seems I like stainless steel, and will not have to fear the chemical nonstick stuff. Done and done.

I also added a Cuisinart Griddler Jr grill/griddle/panini press to my arsenal. I do own an ancient George Foreman grill (the first one ever made, I think). It just doesn’t work very well anymore – but it too is nearing a decade old. Like I said in my Welcome post – I really never cooked until 2010! These gadgets just collected dust in my cabinets.

Other nifty items of note: a cookbook holder, an olive oil spray bottle, a couple new cookbooks, and an Eye-Fi memory card for my little camera (that will hopefully result in me shooting more of my kitchen adventures to post here).

I tested out the Eye-Fi with today’s lunch. (Impressive little device, actually – I’m surprised at how much I like it. I wish they made it in a CF version for my big camera – but a friend mentioned the possibility of using an SD-to-CF convertor. Looking into that).

First up, I made a sandwich out of some leftover Falafel (from the recipe in Isa Chandra’s Appetite for Reduction).

Outside, this sandwich used a special “ancient grains” bread from the local grocer’s bakery. It listed spelt flour and amaranth flour, amongst others. It was so crusty on the outside and soft on the middle! So good. I plan to get some more use out of my bread machine too – and recreating a bread like this is high on my list of things to do. Inside this sandwich, I stuffed leftover falafel, cucumbers, and some Sanctuary Dressing (also an Isa recipe), with more dressing on the side for dipping. I whipped out the new Griddler to try toasting this sandwich and.. mmm mmm mmm.

With it, I tossed together a salad of spring greens, crunchy tempeh crumbles, leftover grilled leeks and peppers (from yesterday’s pizza adventure), some alfalfa sprouts, and… I think that was it – with Sanctuary Dressing. (That stuff is SO delish, at only 40 calories per 1/4 cup!)

saladI try to have a giant bowl of greens, every single day.

I’ve still got some of that grilled leek & peppers pizza to finish up, and some no-meatballs in the infamous grape jelly/chili sauce marinade. (For the record, the omnivores at yesterday’s family gathering ate the no-meatballs right up – and my mother, the picky eater she is, even asked me to leave her some leftovers). Vegan meatballs ftw! Unfortunately, the marinate was chock full of high fructose corn syrup, as I was too time-pressed to make it from scratch for a nice organic version. Gotta pick your battles.

I hope to get in one more good bit of cooking on Monday before my schedule gets crazy again.

I’m looking at registering for the midwest Warrior Dash. Who’s in?! What’s better than a 5K through obstacles, mud, and fire?!

Simple Lunch

I get really excited when I make a wrap and it actually wraps up nicely. Sometimes I stuff it too full. Sometimes I’m a clutz and just can’t get the thing to roll up without all of the guts falling out. Sometimes I do great, right up to the cut-it-in-half part, and then destroy the whole thing while trying to cut it.

Today, the stars aligned, and I made a pretty wrap!

arugula wrapI really could make a category here called “Adventures in Wrapping,” but it would be nearly empty because most of my wraps are nowhere near photo-worthy.

My first foray into the world of making wraps was based on the discovery that cucumbers make a pretty decent sandwich base. You see, I occasionally have a hankerin’ for a Jimmy John’s sandwich. When I went vegetarian, I had to change my normal sandwich order over to the #6 – the creatively named “Vegetarian” (sans mayo and tomato, please – I still can’t stand the texture of tomatoes). It basically amounts to a cucumber sandwich with a wonderful avocado spread.

I started using cucumbers in my wraps, and was really digging them. Then, I worked out my own version of a vegan avocado ranch spread, inspired by a dressing recipe in the You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! cookbook.

Ever since, I’ve been using those two as the basis of many delicious veggie wraps.

arugula wrap 2Today’s concoction features, of course, cucumbers and avocado spread, along with a chopped up veggie burger, about 3/4 of a carrot (shredded), a handful of baby spinach, a handful of arugula, and a drizzle of garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil. (That’s my giraffe friend Milly pictured in the background).

I have tried a lot of wraps in my day, and finding ones without offensive ingredient lists can be difficult. Lately, I’ve been using Smart & Delicious Tomato Basil Soft Wraps from La Tortilla Factory. The ingredient list isn’t perfect, but it’s not terribly bad, and they’ve got 12g of fiber per wrap at only 100 calories. They’re nice, big 9″ wraps and are (as the name says) very soft and easy to stuff with goodies (even for a wrap-challenged soul like me).

I swear, wraps taste better when they look pretty.