Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pasta Salad

So the days have finally gotten warm in Toronto, so when I ask "what do you want for dinner" I get "I dunno ... something cool and easy". Well, it is always easy if you don't fix it, but that is another story. Anyway, this pasta salad was so easy and so good.

I started with about a pound bag of spiral pasta ... egg free and whole wheat. Cook to the directions.
Once cooked run it under cold water to stop it from cooking more ... don't over cook it!
Next I added some bite sized broccoli pieces, some sweet red bell pepper cut into small pieces, a large jar of artichoke hearts with the seasoned oil they come in, a can of mixed been salad (these are for protein but so yummy), a couple green onions (or scallions) chopped up, some roasted red bell peppers in oil cut into strips, some sun dried tomatoes cut up and some whole sweet grape tomatoes. The topper was to pour over a bottle of Newman's Own Balsamic Dressing ... add salt and pepper and baby you got a meal! You could also add some toasted almonds, cashews or pine nuts for even more protein, but if all the salad isn't eaten they will go soft on you.

We are still eating it. It grows in the bowl.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Shakes!

So one thing I missed immediately was the decadence of rich, smooth milkshake! Not anymore!!! I call this my Elvis shake because of the peanut butter banana element. You can leave the peanut butter out too if you want.

I took a bunch of ripe bananas that were sitting on my kitchen island and sliced them up, dropped them in a freezer proof baggie and popped them in the freezer. When I want a shake, I pull them out, drop a decent amount in the blender, add a scoop or two of peanut butter and then add enough chocolate almond milk to cover it, blend, pour and drink! This is so good and definitely hit that spot that felt kind of empty. You won't lose weight on this one, but it sure tastes good on a warm summer day!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

EASY Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad

I love the easy part of this .... so simple.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and brown a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the oil for about 8 - 10 minutes until they are nice and golden brown in color. How hard is that ... really? Remove and place in a decent sized bowl.

Next you take a small jar of artichoke hearts and slice them up breaking them up a bit ... add them to a little more oil in the same pan and saute until browned on the edges. Remove from heat and add to the beans.

Take about one third cup of toasted almonds (I used whole raw almonds that I toasted in the pan before the beans without oil) and grind them in a food processor, blender or by hand (not to a flour consistency, but kind of like crushed nuts). Add to the bean and artichoke mixture and stir to combine.

Take a couple of tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped fairly fine and mix it into the mixture. Add more if you want more of that Mediterranean taste.

Squeeze one lemon over the salad mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and enjoy.

This was so easy and absolutely delicious. You get extra protein from the almonds, so it can be a one dish meal or you can use it as a side dish. I considered adding more olive oil, but it really didn't need it. Some chopped sweet red pepper or even some red pepper flakes might be interesting too.

I need to learn the Japanese equivalent of "eat up and be healthy" LOL!!!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Italian Beans and Rice

So ... haven't been on for a while to post as I am busy getting ready to relocate to Japan for a while ... but I tried a recipe the other night that I loved and have to share. It is easy too!

I had to come in a edit this because I forgot the rice! You need to cook one cup of brown rice ... so one cup of rice and two cups of water. After trying this I think next time I might use veggie stock for a little more flavor.

Saute in a couple tablespoons of olive oil 1/4 cups of pine nuts with a mix of Italian fresh herbs ... I used basil, marjoram and rosemary. Add 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes sliced into strips. After the pine nuts start to brown a little add a can of drained and rinsed great northern/cannelli beans plus three tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar and saute those for a few minutes. place a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach on top of the bean mixture and then add your brown rice on top of that and let it sit and wilt the spinach for a few minutes. Next zest one lemon over the top, add salt and pepper and serve! I use a micro planer because it gives you a fluffier zest.

This was awesome and even Richard liked it ... with some pork chops as a side dish LOL! I added a little more balsamic and a little extra virgin olive oil tonight and ate it cold as my dinner ... and yes, it rocked! A simple side salad with it made it a nice, healthy and filling meal!

I think you could make this with kidney beans or any other medium sized bean that you have in the cupboard, but the cannelli beans are true Italian.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blow a hole in your shorts Red-Hot White Bean Chili!

I was sitting there getting poked by my acupuncturist trying to decide on what to make for dinner. Richard wanted meat or something hearty, but not the same as the soups I had been making ... so I pulled out my Vegan Fire and Spice cookbook and went hunting for something that would fit the bill. Tonight I made Red-Hot White Bean Chili ... and it is  Fire and Spice all at once ... and pretty yummy too.

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Carrot Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
2 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Fresh Jalapenos seeded and minced
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne
1/8 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used the ones for chili)
1 cup water (I used vegetable broth)
3 cab Cannelli beans drained and rinsed (I used white Kidney Beans because that is what I could find)
2 Scallions (green onions) minced

Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and carrot and heat covered until soft stirring occasionally (about ten minutes). While that is cooking measure out the spices and toss in once the veggies are soft, stir and cook about two minutes. Add the water or broth and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the beans, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes while flavors blend.  Serve with green onions and a dab of vegan sour cream. We also had some organic tortilla chips with it ... to die for. Wear shorts so you don't destroy your sofa or chairs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finally something to post!

I haven't posted lately because a) I was working my tail off at work and didn't have a lot of time and b) I had kind of fallen into a rut with food I had found that I liked. Now Richard has decided he will try what I cook, so tonight a new recipe is born.
Tonight I am making a soup called "almost instant Thai corn soup". The picture looked awesome ... so I figured I would give it a whirl. Recipe follows .... and it is really fast and easy!

Dice up one red bell pepper and put it in a soup pot ... I used my Kitchen Aid porcelain small sized dutch oven.
Add 3 garlic cloves minced and the white parts of 4-5 scallions sliced thin.
The recipe calls to saute this mixture in olive oil, but I have found that olive oil gets a little bitter above some temperatures so I used coconut oil ... kind of fits with the meal anyway.

After the mixture is soft, add 2 cans of lite coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups rice milk, 2 teaspoons of good curry powder and the green tops of the scallions.  Then add 1/4teapsoon of red Thai curry paste mixed with a tiny bit of water.

You are going to want to add salt and pepper to taste ... it needed a bit of salt. I also put in some cayenne pepper and let it simmer a bit ... helped a lot. I think next time I will also chop a few potatoes about half an inch square and add them to make it more of a chowder.

Heat to a slow simmer, cover and let it cook through on low for 5-10 minutes. I served mine with a loaf of rustic bread that was full of garlic gloves. I figured I wasn't getting kissed tonight anyway, so why not go all the way.

Okay ... soup was totally easy and delicious! Top it with a little chopped cilantro and you have it made! Richard even ate it ... life is full of surprises, eh!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My "Puck'n" Soup!

So tonight I was on a meeting until around 7:30 and I knew Richard would be hungry when he got here. Not ordering vegan pizza again ... so I grabbed my Wolfgang Puck food processor and threw in an onion to grate it along with some garlic. Threw that in a stock pot with some olive oil and went back to the "Puckinator" as it is affectionately known. I changed the blades and ran through some carrots to slice them ... then on the same blade I ran through some baby red potatoes I scrubbed.

I put all that in the pot and added two boxes of veggie broth, some frozen corn, a little turmeric and cumin along with some salt and pepper. Looked watery so I through in some left over lentils, a little brown rice and some mixed beans. Now it is nice, thick and hearty ... but it looked bland, so I added in a bag of baby organic spinach! Fantastico!

Dinner is soup with some whole wheat pita bread and a glass of water or whatever ... red wine would go nice. The point is I whipped this up in a matter of minutes and it is totally vegan, healthy as can be and totally and utterly delicious! It seems that Puck and I are gonna be very good friends ...:P

Cheers ... it is dinner time at my house!