Monday, June 30, 2014

saturday morning jumped out of bed

 After seeing a post about Relished Food (now switched to Home Chef) on The Preppy Vegan, I was interested to see what types of vegan meals they offered on their site. I somehow got on their email list as well, and although I did not order any of the meals - they looked really good and was helpful for some inspiration.

I saw a few weeks ago one of their meals featured grilled polenta, and since we've been using our new BBQ - I thought this would be a great way to test out a new grilled option. I added my own spin on the meal since I wasn't sure what exactly they used for theirs anyway, and this was an easy and delicious Friday night dinner.

Grilled Polenta and Zucchini with Toasted Pine Nut Bruschetta (serves 2):
1/2 tube of polenta (You could make this home-made by using cornmeal and water, but this was easier)
1 zucchini
2 tsp minced garlic
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 t salt & 1/4 t pepper to taste

Prep the grill or preheat a pan on medium high heat. Start by slicing the polenta into slices. Then slice your zucchini into similar sized slices. Lay the zucchini slices out and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and 1 tsp of the minced garlic evenly on each slice. Place on the grill or in a saute pan to cook.This could also be done on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.
To make the bruschetta, start by toasting the pine nuts in a small frying pan. This will only take a few moments, so keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Chop the tomatoes and basil. In a bowl, add the tomatoes, basil, toasted pine nuts, vinegar, and salt and pepper. 
When the polenta and zucchini are done (browned polenta and tender zucchini), remove from heat. Lay slices on each plate and top with bruschetta mix. Top with extra chopped basil.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Say yes, say yes, cause I need to know

{Enjoying my hometown beach last weekend in OC MD}

{My favorite summer fruit! I might have an addiction..}

{Our garden that we tested out....can't wait for some veggies to start popping up!}

{Kovy being his cute self in the lawn. He loves having a yard now}

{Easy weeknight meal of leftover Summer veggie soup - with fresh red peppers, cauliflower, and green beans}

Have a fantastic weekend!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Everything is different the second time around

The official start of Summer is coming up next week - but the 90 degree weather today during a run definitely made it feel like summer!

It also was nice to do a quick beach trip this past weekend to make it feel even more like summer vacation. Although being in the "real world" doesn't give a 3 month vacation anymore (how much longer until I am a teacher?!) - warm weekend trips throughout help savor the fun times that go along with summer.

Going to BBQs and potlucks is a key component of summer and it's fun to bring food and try what others make. I've been vegan for almost 7 years now, so I'm quite familiar and used to bringing my own food and either being surprised that vegan options are available or making sure I love what I bring knowing that may be my only option. These two dishes that I made a couple weekends ago for a get together - a salad and dessert - are sure to please any type of crowd for a summer bbq.

Who can resist Peanut Butter Blondies topped with chocolate chips? Seriously - if you know who, then please tell me. Although, I suppose those with nut allergies or who do not like chocolate (do those people exist?!).

These were made with the recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar cookbook. I've made them once before for a 4th of July bbq, and knew they are a no-fail recipe!
I then added some fun and topped with chocolate chips prior to baking.
You can find the recipe on the PPK website - Peanut Butter Blondies

Quinoa salads are the perfect pot luck food. They don't go bad if they are left out for a while and the flavors seem to get even better the longer they sit. Plus, quinoa is so delicious and is great for any gluten-free friends!

Pineapple-Edamame Quinoa Salad:

1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3/4 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup chopped pineapple chunks
2/3 cup edamame
1/3 cup toasted cashews
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the quinoa first - In a sauce pan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. One boiling, turn down the heat to low and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand covered for 5 additional minutes, and then fluff with a fork. Set aside, in the fridge preferably to chill.
In a large mixing bowl,  mix the pineapple, red pepper, scallions, and cilantro. Add the vinegar, 1 T water, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and mix. Add the quinoa, then the edamame and toasted cashews. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Taste for seasoning.

Enjoy your summer BBQs! And don't forget to bring a veggie burger :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday five

In a toast to the upcoming weekend, here are 5 things that I've been happy about this past week.

{ After reading all of the hype on the Tiny Tea Teatox by Your Tea, I decided to give it a go. The tea is quite good - not my usual cup of tea, but is a nice way to start the day and to drink throughout. It's been a great way to get more tea into my life! }

{ Beautiful flowers from the husband on a random Wednesday make the day seem brighter.}

{ So excited for season 2 of OITNB! We've been watching at least an episode a night all week. }

{ End of the quarter for the Spring! Excited to have some "free" time for 2 weeks. }

{ New product alert and my new latest hunt - been searching for these in every grocery store - no luck so far! }

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One for you, one for me

The past few weeks have been flying by, but have been quite productive and beautiful weather-wise. I'm excited to say it's finally June and feeling like summer is just around the corner.
On the school front, I am also in my last week of this quarter - so that is quite a relief to have some "free" time coming up until the next quarter begins!

Onto the food - I have a fun recipe that we made this past week based on ingredients we had that needed to be used. We had an opened bag of Daiya in the fridge from Jason's mom when we were visiting, so I knew that could not go to waste. We had made pizzas not tooo long ago, but I wanted something more fun - thus I decided on Pizza Stuffed Peppers!

I took a picture of the inside as well...but let's just say sometimes the inside isn't always the most photogenic. Bulgur + cheese + toppings + tomato sauce = not the most beautiful. However, beauty is not everything - these peppers were delicious!

Pizza Stuffed Peppers: (Serves 2)

2 large bell peppers
1/2 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cup water
1 can of pizza sauce (I love Don Pepino!)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 T oregano
1 t dried basil
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pineapple, chopped (optional)
Vegan mozzarella cheese to top
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water to cook the bulgur. When water is boiling, add bulgur and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
Preheat a cooking pan over medium heat and use non-stick spray, water, or a bit of oil to heat in the pan. Add the onion and the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and seasonings. Finally add the sun-dried tomatoes, pineapple, and bulgur to the pan. Add the pizza sauce and stir to make sure everything is incorporated and warm. Turn off the heat.
Chop the tops off of the peppers and de-seed them. Grab a baking dish (I used a loaf pan) and pour some pizza sauce on the bottom to line it. Place the peppers on top of the sauce.
Spoon the bulgur mixture into each pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take them out and top each pepper with cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes until peppers look softer and cheese is melted.

These are a great weeknight meal, but I think next time I might try them in the crock pot to have them ready when we get home.

Happy hump-day! :)