Steak Salad

really wanted to post this recipe last week – for Father’s Day – but I didn’t get around to it *sigh* Being sick off and on for three weeks has not been good for my blogging schedule!

Regardless of the timing, this simple salad is delicious and hearty enough to stand against any meat filled concoction you might run into at an omni cookout – and filling and tasty enough to made anybody (dad included) feel full and satisfied after digging in.

Steak Salad

1 lb lacinato/dinosaur kale, stemmed

1/2 – 1 avocado

1 pt cherry tomatoes

2 lg portobello caps, stemmed, ribbed, and sliced

1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced

Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.)

First, stem and clean your kale. Then massage it with the avocado. Really get in there and mash it all around. Rub it with your fingers under the kale is a bit wilted and the avocado is well incorporated. Arrange massaged kale on a serving platter or large plate. Then, slice tomatoes in half and place them artfully over the kale. Finally, slice the portobello caps into thick slices and arrange on top of the tomatoes. Finally, dress the salad with freshly squeezed lemon and whatever seasonings you like. (I like salt, pepper and a little dried oregano.)

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My First Spring Rolls

I’ve had a lot of firsts lately: my first kale salad; my first raw cupcakes (recipe coming very soon!); and my first spring rolls.

I picked up some rice papers during a recent trip to Whole Foods (it’s an event since the nearest one is about an hour and a half away in either direction), but I hadn’t had a chance to use any of them yet. Until tonight.

School started again, so I’ve been swamped with work and pressed for time.  (Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days.) In preparation for my lack of cooking time, I picked up some broccoli slaw last weekend in hopes of making spring rolls. And I’m so glad I did! Combined with some avocado I needed to use up, my first time rolling was deliciously simple.

Spring Rolls

4 spring roll wrappers

1/2 c broccoli slaw mix

1 small/medium avocado, sliced thinly

Sprinkle of salt, chili pepper, and granulated garlic

Bring spring rolls to life by soaking in warm water for a few seconds. (Follow package directions.) Lay pliable wrapper on a wet towel and blot excess moisture. Lay two slices of avocado end-to-end in the middle of the wrapper. Top with 1/8th of the broccoli slaw mixture and sprinkle with seasonings. Fold one side of the spring roll wrapper over the veggies and pull back towards them, forming a tight roll. Fold ends over and roll the spring roll towards the open flap. Place on plate seam side down. Slice in two on the bias. Serve with your favorite sauce. (I like a tiny bit of soy sauce.)

The rice papers are surprisingly high in calories. Adding avocado to them increases the fat and calories, so this seemingly light meal is actually pretty heavy. That’s the ONLY thing I don’t like about these. Otherwise, they’re delicious! And I love being able to make them at home so the rice papers are fresh and soft and chewy instead of tough and gummy.
 

Avocado Spring Rolls

My First Kale Salad

I did it. I finally made a raw kale salad. And it rocked!

Kale Salad

I don’t know why I’ve been so afraid of raw kale. I don’t mind it in smoothies, and I love kale chips. Wilting it into dishes is good too, so what was my hang-up with the raw thing?? Eh, whatever it was, I’m over it. I’m so over it I ordered an Eat More Kale t-shirt. Seriously. (They’re $25 with free shipping, and it all goes to the one guy who runs the site. Who, incidentally, really needs the cash to fight Chick-fil-A in court because they’re suing him for copyright/trademark infringement. Seriously.)

Before I made my salad, I did some research on my favorite blogs for suggestions. I settled on Angela’s suggestions from Oh She Glows. I combined her message plus wilt and wait method with an avocado dressing recipe from Bredan Brazier that Mama Pea shared. I’ve made this dressing a couple of times, and it’s always turned out great, so I knew I could count on it to wilt my greens. And it did.

Wilting Kale

While my kale was wilting, I chopped my salad veggies, which included carrot, celery, green pepper, radish, green onion, cucumber, tomato, and parsley.

Veggies waiting for their kale and avocado dressing.

A quick toss, and I had dinner. So good!

Notcho Average Nachos!

I made something tonight I haven’t made in a really long time – nachos!

I made chips by baking some organic corn tortilla chips I had in the freezer. (Cut tortillas into triangles and bake on 350 for about 10 minutes.) I made pico (diced tomato, onion and cilantro with a squeeze of lemon juice), chunky guac (two smashed avocados, diced onion, tomato, granulated garlic, salt, lemon juice, and a few sprinkles of chipotle lime Mrs. Dash), and cashew sour cream.

Cashew Sour Cream

1/2 c soaked cashews (soaked at least 2 hours)

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp apple cidar vinegar

5-7 TBSP water

Blend cashews, lemon juice, ACV, and water in high-powered blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet.) until smooth, adding water 1 TBSP at a time until desired consistency is reached.

I ended up adding quite a bit of water and the juice of basically a whole lemon, plus a dash of salt. I was really impressed with the results. I haven’t been overly pleased with the cashew based items I’ve made because I find the cashew flavor odd (even though I love cashews – well, roasted and salted cashews anyway).

I think this original recipe is Ani Phyo’s, but I found it the taste space.

Aside from some shredded lettuce, green and black olives, tomatoes, onions, and fat-free refried beans (Yes; they’re from a can, but they’re so easy and good!), my final nachos ingredient was Quick Queso Sauce (p. 263) from The Happy Herbivore cookbook. This is the first recipe I’ve made from this cookbook, and it was a huge hit! I was literally excited to have a tasty, fat-free, soy free, and gluten-free (I made the sauce with home-made gluten-free oat flour) cheeze to add to my nachos. It made them so much more authentic!  

Healthy Nachos. Can you belive it?!

Overall, I was really, really pleased with the results of my nacho plate. It definitely made enough for two, and even though I thought I could eat my way through the entire plate by myself, I wasn’t able to. I love when that happens! I put the rest in the fridge to turn into a taco salad tomorrow for quick lunch.

 
If you would have asked me even a year ago if I could make delicious, heart healthy nachos with all of my favorite toppings and be stuffed from half a plate, I would have had serious doubts. Doubt no more, people. It can be done!

Vegan MoFo Day 23: Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup. I’ve made it a few times in the last year or so, and I made it different every time, so I’ve never shared a recipe. But this time, I wrote everything down.

Tortilla Soup

1 lg onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 med bell pepper, chopped
4 c veggie broth
2-4 c water
1 c corn (fresh or frozen)
3 c mixed beans (pinto, black, canary, red, etc)
3 c fire roasted tomatoes
1 – 2 limes, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
6 med corn tortillas, torn or cut into pieces or strips
Seasonings: salt, pepper, chili powder, cummin, chipotle powder, etc.

Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in a little bit of veggie broth in a big pot until tender. Add remaining broth and water to soup pot. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes. Add tortillas and lime juice. Cook another 10+ minutes. Add cilantro before servings.

Makes 5 meal sized servings.

Tortilla Soup

I really like this recipe because it’s easy it uses corn tortillas, which I love (I’ve always preferred corn over flour) – and they aren’t fried. I avoid as much as oil as possible, in general, but especially when it’s not needed. And it’s not needed here.

Along with my giant bowl of soup, I also had a chunky guac salad. I just chunked some avocado and tossed it with a diced tomato, a couple of tablespoons of diced onion, about a tablespoon of fresh cilantro (I had a lot left over from the soup garnish.), a pinch of granulated garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder, and a couple liberal shakes of sea salt. Total deliciousness!

Chunky Quac Salad

Can you believe Vegan MOFO is nearing the end already?! There are only a few days left of the fun. Check out the blog roll and RSS feeder before it’s over!!

Black Bean Bonanza

I’ve never met a bean I didn’t like. Seriously. When I was a kid, I would only eat the bean part of a meat/bean dish (Hum, early indications of vegetarianism? Oh ya!). Chilli? I’d only eat the beans. My mom’s goulash (kidney beans, mushy maccaroni, tomatoes, and hamburger) – I’d only eat the beans (and sometimes the tomatoes  – if they weren’t infiltrated with meat bits). Three bean salad? Ok, this was the one exception to my love of all things bean. CONFESSION TIME: Until recently, I didn’t care for green beans, and forget yellow-wax beans (Childhood memory: I thought they were made of wax – ha!). What kind of kid doesn’t like the standard green beans and corn as their go-to veggie choice?! (I’m still not a huge fan of corn.) Probably the same one who didn’t like ketchup – and never developed a taste for ranch dressing.

Ok, so back to the beans.

Beans are my friends. And they can/should be your friends too. They’re full of fiber and vitamins. Some are high in iron too. They’re great hot or cold – or anywhere in between. They’re even awesome sprouted! (For anyone interested in a raw diet or being high-raw, you can use sprouted beans without cooking them. It’s an acquired taste, but that’s how you learn to love new foods, right?) And don’t even get me started on how cheap they are! A bag of dried beans is less than $1.00 (and canned ones aren’t much more – and so convenient!). They can be soaked over-night and cooked in the slow-cooker all day while you’re at work or running errands. When you’re ready to prepare dinner, they’re ready to assist you :-) Oh, and if you’re worried about the not-so-pleasant side-effects of all that fibrous bean skin, don’t be! Your body will soon become adjusted to breaking down the cellulose walls of the bean and your intestinal bacterial will become more efficient and thus produce less by-products, which just means the “musical fruit” won’t be making music for very long!

In celebration of my bean-love, I made two black bean dishes last night. The first one, my delicious Warm Black Bean Dip, which I usually eat cold (yes, I see the irony in that), is great with Taco-less Salad, and the second one, Bodacious Black Bean Burgers (Is the bodacious too much? I just added that…) are so good, even Mr. M, a die-hard omni, eats them! (I’d call that a vegan victory.)

Warm Black Bean Dip

1 med/lg onion, diced

2-4 cloves garlic, minced (adjust to your taste)

1 can/1 c black beans, rinsed

1 sm can fire-roasted tomatoes (or 1 c fresh, diced)

1/4 c salsa or picante sauce

1/4 – 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

1 – 2 TBSP lemon (or juice of 1 lemon)

1 TBSP cummin

1 TBSP chilli powder

Salt & Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in a little EVOO (1 tsp should do it), cooking spray, or veggie broth/water (about 1 TBSP), until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa (or picante), lemon juice and seasonings. Cook until thickens – about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro.  Mash mixture with a potato masher until thick paste forms.

Makes 4 (1/4 – 1/2 c) servings.

Taco-less Salad topped with all my favorite fixin's, include a entire avocado!

Like I said, I love to add this to Taco-less salad: Bed of your favorite lettuce, Warm Black Bean Dip (which is great cold!), diced onion, diced green pepper, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, sliced green olives, avocado, and salsa. Sooo goood!

Bodacious Black Bean Burgers

1 med/lg onion, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 sm green bell pepper, chopped

1 med/lg carrot (or 2 smaller ones), diced

1 lg stalk celery, diced

2 cans/cups black beans, rinsed

1/4 – 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

2 TBSP salsa

1/2 c quinoa flakes (or sub old-fashioned oats or other grain flake)

2 tsp cummin

1 TBSP chilli powder

1 TBSP soy sauce

Salt & Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in a little EVOO (1 tsp should be enough), cooking spray, or veggie broth or water (about 1 TBSP) until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add green bell pepper, carrots, and celery, and cook until tender – about 10 more minutes. (Covering the pan with a lid with help create steam, increasing the cooking speed of the harder veggies and maintaining moisture) Once tender, add 1/2 to 3/4 of the beans, cummin, chilli powder, salt, and pepper. Stir through  and move from heat. Mash mixture with a potato masher until thick paste forms.

Scoop paste mixture into a bowl. Add salsa, cilantro, soy sauce, and quinoa flakes. Stir. If mixture is too sticky to handle (should easily form a ball without sticking to your hands in globs), add more quinoa flakes (1 TBSP at a time).

Scoop giant spoonfuls of mixture into your hands and roll into a ball (or press into a form to make perfectly shaped burgers). Place burger balls in large pan and lightly press into patty shape. Cook until crust forms on burger, then flip until crust forms on other side. TIP: Cover burger pan with a lid to maintain moisture.

Bodacious Black Bean Burger

Serve on a bun with your favorite burger add-ons or with your favorite south-of-the-boarder flavors, such as: salsa, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced or diced tomato, sliced or diced onion, and/or a mix of your favorite sliced olives.

Enjoy!

I’m Having an Affair

That’s right. I’m having an affair…with the treadmill. And I’m cheating on it with vegetable sushi. I just can’t help myself. Both are so darn good that they’ve coaxed me into a love triangle.

Mr. M introduced me to the treadmill about a year ago. I was reluctant to even be friends with it at first, but we run in the same circle, so we kept running into each other. Eventually, I gave in and started spending time along with it, and, well, it was all up-hill from there.

Our relationship has developed into a torrid affair. I think about it at night before I go to bed, and it’s the first thing I think about in the morning. I bought special clothes just for our time together, even though by the end of our trysts, I’m barely clothed.
 
 
Mr. M completely understands and supports my relationship with the treadmill. He doesn’t question my hesitation to join him for early breakfasts or community service projects. He doesn’t wonder why I have an expensive wardrobe of brightly colored bras and skirts, fancy socks, or a seemingly endless accumulation of spandex. And he doesn’t open the door to the room when we’re together, even if he hears loud music and heavy breathing.
 

J'aime mon tapis roulant <3

 
 Years before I was introduced to the treadmill, I stumbled upon vegetable sushi. I was on yet another go-nowhere-date when we met at what quickly became “Our Place.” At first, I was resistant to its flirting – the sweet smell of its pickled vegetables, sticky rice, and seaweed wrap, the creaminess of its avocado goodness, and the saltines of its friend and confidante – soy sauce. But eventually, I gave in. And once I put that first bite in my mouth, it was all over. I gobbled up my first plate and waited for more; I couldn’t get enough! I begged my friends and family to join me, driving the 30+ miles to meet my new love. Each trip was punctuated by the thrill of anticipation. Giggling ensued and smiles were abundant. Careful planning allowed for the most of our time together. 

Mr. M hates everything I love about the tasty rolls, so my desire for vegetable sushi has gone underground. Because of the distance between us, I have to sneak visits, giving up what every amount of time I can between trips to other, more legitimate locations. Anticipation is still involved, and I still catch myself giggling and smiling uncontrollably  as my car gets close to the exit that leads to my old friend, but the pleasure derived from my indulgence is tarnished with the knowledge that I’m cheating…on all the sweaty mornings the treadmill and I have spent together. To alleviate my guilt, I spend extra time with the treadmill when I get home, but not before I brush my teeth and take a shower.

Giddy with Anticipation