Monday, November 15, 2010

Its been awhile

Okay ill admit it, i've taken a bit of a hiatus from cooking lately. I've just been so busy! I haven't had much time to get creative in the kitchen.

This weekend I found myself in need of some deep nutrition. Maybe it was the San Francisco trip, maybe it was the time change - whatever it was- I was in bed by 9 most of the week, and even though I was getting some SERIOUS amounts of sleep, I had trouble getting out of bed and throughout the day I felt like I was in a fog.

I started taking some new vitamins - Isotonix- and they seem to be giving me a little more pep in my step. But I thought back to a meal that left me feeling completely nourished, not just full- and the first thing that came to mind was Life Alive. Since I was tired on Friday, and didnt feel like making the 20 minute drive, I decided to try and re-create a dish at home.

It was a success!!

Life Alive Creation

1 head broccoli - cut into tiny florets
1/2 head of kale- stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 block of smoked tofu- cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice ( you can use your fav. rice here)
2 cups water
Your favorite gingery dressing ( I like Makoto)

Bring water to a boil, add rice and reduce to simmer. Simmer until all water is absorbed. The vegetables are all steamed -(kale takes the longest so add it in first) Steam Kale for about 15 minutes, then add broccoli and carrots until finished (about 10 more minutes)

Put rice in large shallow bowl, top with steamed veggie mixture, add tofu, and cover all in the ginger dressing. Serve piping hot! Serves 2

Get ready for your body to thank you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NE Vegan goes to SF

I'm freshly back from a quick trip to San Francisco. What a fun city! I couldn't get over the hills in the middle of the city, and the Victorian architecture was amazing.

First day -we headed to wine country, where I thoroughly believed I had died and gone to heaven.

We also went on an amazing bay cruise under the golden gate and around Alcatraz, and to make it even more perfect we went at sunset. Gorgeous doesn't even do it justice.

Had so much fun - can't wait to go back!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life Alive

This weekend I found my new favorite place to eat! Life Alive in Lowell, MA!

Ive been meaning to try it for awhile, and yes Lowell isn't that far from Nashua, but for whatever reason it took me a year or so of saying I wanted to try it, to actually get down there. And of course I'm kicking myself now, wondering what the hell took me so long.

The food is unbelievably amazing, fresh, organic, and wholesome - All of my favorite things in food! The best thing is that when you leave, you are full and satisfied but also deeply nourished.

Their menu is unreal, and the whole vibe of the cafe is very warming and relaxing. In addition to the great food they have their own teas and snacks that they sell at the shop - they even make their own kombucha- which I have yet to try, but since I know how close it is now, and how delicious everything is, something tells me Ill be trying it in short order.

When I went I tried the Swami - everything on the menu was making me drool- it literally took me about a half hour to decide what I wanted. I wasn't disappointed. "Matty's Miso Curried Sauce sweetening a masterfully-tasty mix of tamari roasted almonds, flame raisins, pearl onions, dark greens, broccoli flowers, and shredded carrots, served over brown rice with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast." Amazing! Annnd- I had plenty for a little leftover the lunch the next day. I also tried the carrot cake smoothie- again after much deliberation :)

Couldn't speak more highly of this place, portions are great, atmosphere is uplifting and the food is a perfect marriage between tasty and healthy.

Check them out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squashes are so versatile and soooo very cheap this time of year! I threw this together last night. Perfect meal for a cool fall night.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 Acorn Squashes halved ( and scooped clean of strings and seeds)
1/2 cup of Cooked Quinoa
2 large shallots chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
1 Can Vegetable broth
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil for sauteing the shallots
Vegan Sour cream
Nutritional yeast.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place acorn squash face down in large baking dish. Pour veggie broth into dish until it comes 1/2 way up the sides of the acorn. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

While squash is cooking saute the shallots and walnuts in canola oil until shallots become translucent. When finished remove from heat and add to the cooked quinoa. Also add rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

One finished pre-baking, remove the squash from the oven and dump out remaining veggie broth. Place squash back in baking dish face up. Fill the squash halves with the quinoa mixture and drizzle with olive oil to prevent the quinoa from drying out. Cover dish with foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.

Let cook for a few minutes, then top with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. And Enjoy.

Serves 4

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Pie and Pumpkin Carving

Just coming off of one of the BEST quintessential Fall weekends ever! Spent the weekend with family, celebrating the beauty of fall and of course my Mom's Birthday!!

We kicked off the Birthday celebration with some pumpkin carving! Though I got a tad frustrated halfway through -
( Damn me for picking the stencil with 3 difficulty stars) -my pumpkin came out fabulously! And more importantly I had a great time. If anyone smashes this thing I'm going to be livid!

Following the pumpkin carving extravaganza, my mom and I made some pies with some of the fresh apples she picked earlier that weekend.

I found this recipe on the wholefoods website and converted it to my liking - vegan style!
Pumpkin Apple Pie
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon divided
1/2 teaspoon salt divided
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons smart balance
3 cups your favorite apples ( I used granny smiths)
egg replacer equivalent to one egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup Vanilla soymilk
1 unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, water and smart balance into a saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Add sliced apples and cook, tossing to coat in sugar mixture about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg replacer, sugar, pumpkin remaining salt and cinnamon, cloves, ginger and soymilk until well combined.

Pour apple mixture into pie shell and then pour pumpkin slowly and evenly over the top. Bake for 10 mins then reduce temp to 375 degrees and bake until filling is just set in the middle, about 45 minutes more.

Remove from oven, allow to cool and chill before serving.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First (hopefully of many) Apple Picking of the Season

Last Sunday was my first apple picking excursion of the season with a couple of my closest friends. Ahhh have I mentioned this is one of my favorite favorite times of year?!

The best part about this trip? Not only is the location an apple orchard, its also a vineyard and winery. Talk about perfect day.

Yay fall and better yet, Yay Nashoba Valley in the fall!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quick and Healthy Oatmeal

Ahhh.... that cool crisp air reminds me that MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR IS HERE!! Judging from the look on Grady's face after our hike - its his too!

There is nothing more perfect to me than a nice sunny fall day. 65 -70 degrees during the day, cool enough to snuggle into your comforter at night! The leaves are starting to change and before you know it, ill be posting recipes for pumpkin and apple flavored everything! I wish it could always be like this! But, I'm soaking it up while its here!

One of the first things I notice when summer changes to fall is the differences in the foods that I crave. During the warmer months, I usually start my morning with some fruit, or some soy yogurt. This morning I had my first seasonal craving for oatmeal!

If you're like me, and you get weirded out by how much sugar is in one "healthy" packet of instant oatmeal - I have a solution!

Quick and Healthy Oatmeal

1/2 cup of rolled oats
enough water to cover them
1 teaspoon sucanaut
2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit sweetened preserves ( I like blueberry and raspberry)
fresh berries - optional

I throw the oats into a travel bowl with the sucanaut before I leave for work in the morning. And I keep the preserves in my work fridge. Once I get hungry I just pop the oat and sucanaut mixture with the water into the microwave and heat until the oats are done - about 1 - 1.5 mins. Then I add the fruit preserves mix all together and eat!

Its delicious - 10 times better than any packet of oatmeal i've ever made for myself ( and ill admit I LOVE the apple and cinnamon kashi) And its so much more economical than the instant oatmeal you buy at the store - especially if you buy the oats in bulk.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first hike of the season with Grady earlier last week. Can't wait for the upcoming hikes - they are sure only to get more beautiful as the leaves start to change!