Julie Green and Keen: vegetarian lifestyle
Showing posts with label vegetarian lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian lifestyle. Show all posts
It is that time of the year where the kids are almost done with school and beginning all their summer activities.  Liam is continuing to play soccer and Hannah decided to join him and play in the girls league.  We had our “parents meeting” last week and the kids began practice this week. 

You would think because they are both playing for the same league they would have practice and games on the same day…that is wishful thinking on my part.  We are going to be doing a lot of running around, Liam has practice and games on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Hannah has it on Tuesdays and Thursdays…oh the joys of summer sports leagues. 

After this week of constant running around on top of their school work, they are exhausted and so are my husband and I.  I quickly figured out that if we don’t want to have fast food every day, I need to rediscover my quick 30 minute recipes; we have one hour set aside for eating.  I dug out some of the kids favorite recipes that are easy and can be made in 30 minutes or less. 

If you are running around this summer like we are, I am sure you will love these.

Lime Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Ingredients-
•    1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
•    4 tbsp. olive oil
•    1 tsp. cumin
•    1 tsp. paprika
•    ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
•    Salt and pepper to taste
•    1 small yellow onion, diced
•    1 clove garlic, minced
•    1, 14.5 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
•    1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
•    3 tbsp. honey
•    3 tbsp. lime juice
•    2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
•    Tortillas
•    Any toppings you would like; we use lettuce, cheese, avocado, and some salsa

Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
•    Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the sweet potatoes and coat with 3 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and toss to coat the potatoes.  Bake for 12-20 minutes and let cool.
•    While the potatoes are baking, heat the 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and sauté until caramelized.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the garlic, black beans, corn, honey, and lime juice.  Heat in skillet until everything is warmed.  Remove from heat and add the potatoes and cilantro, toss and serve in the tortillas with your toppings of choice.  Enjoy your yummy and quick tacos!


I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like a quick and easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese


Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Ingredients-
•    8 oz. dry pasta
•    3 tbsp. butter
•    3 tbsp. flour
•    1 ¼ cup fat-free milk, heated
•    1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
•    Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions-
•    In a large pot bring water to boil and cook pasta accordingly.  As the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then add flour and whisk into the butter for about 5 minutes.  Add ½ cup of the heated milk into the saucepan and continue to whisk thoroughly mixing together.  Add the rest of the milk and continue to stir to the constancy of your liking.

•    Reduce the heat and mix in the cheese and cook until melted and smooth.  Pour over cooked noodles and stir together.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Caprese Pasta

Ingredients-
•    ½ cup white onion, diced
•    1 tbsp. olive oil
•    2 ½ cup dry pasta
•    1 package grape tomatoes, halved
•    5 fresh basil leaves
•    2 ½ cup water
•    ½ tsp. slat
•    ½ tsp. black pepper
•    1 ½ cup fresh mozzarella
•    2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
•    Chopped basil to garnish

Instructions-
•    In a large skillet sauté the olive oil and onions until soft. Add the pasta, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, water, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.  Bring to boil and cook until pasta is done and water is reduced.  Top with the mozzarella and over the pan so the cheese melts.  Top with balsamic vinegar and basil.  Enjoy! 

Go green and stay keen,

Julie
The kids are getting back into the swing of school now and the restaurant is busy as ever with the start of the New Year!  We usually have a boost in customers during the first couple months of the year because of the New Year’s resolutions, but I am not complaining.  I love hearing from new patrons how they are going to try eating healthier with more plant based meals.  =)

Although I love being busy, it has been a little difficult getting dinner ready in time for the kids and my husband so I have been making a lot of crock pot dinners.  I love that I can get everything ready in the morning or afternoon and by the time for dinner I just have to finish the recipe and serve it.  Crock pot and slow cooker recipes have been my lifesaver over the week.  Here are some of my family’s favorite slow cooker meals.

Squash Lasagna

Ingredients-
•    2, 10 oz. package of frozen winter squash puree, or fresh ;)
•    1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
•    1, 32 oz. container of ricotta
•    6 cups baby spinach
•    16 oz. box lasagna noodles
•    About 2 cups mozzarella cheese
•    Salt and pepper


Instructions-
•    Mix the squash and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  In another bowl mix the ricotta, spinach, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
•    In the slow cooker spread about ½ cup of the squash mixture, top with a layer of lasagna noodles.  Split the remaining squash mixture, noodles, and ricotta; layer and top with mozzarella.
•    Slow cook on low for about 3-4 hours, and enjoy!

My kids favorite, Extremely Easy Cheesy Mac n’ Cheese

Ingredients-
•    1, 16 oz. package of elbow macaroni
•    ½ cup melted, butter
•    1, 12 oz. can evaporated milk
•    1 cup milk
•    4 cups shredded cheddar cheese…(I like using Ragu Double Cheddar sauce as well)

Instructions
•    Cook the macaroni and drain.  Combine all the ingredients in a greased slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Enjoy the cheesiness! =)

And my husband’s favorite, BBQ Tofu.  I serve it with French bread and usually a veggie side for a wonderful easy meal.

Ingredients-
•    2 containers of firm tofu, pressed
•    1 ½ cups ketchup
•    3 tbsp. brown sugar
•    2 tbsp. soy sauce
•    1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
•    1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
•    ½ tsp. garlic powder
•   broccoli and/or your favorite vegetable
•    Salt and pepper

Instructions-
•    Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  SO EASY and delicious! Enjoy!

Slow cooker meals are so tasty and extremely easy.  I definitely do not mind having them often!  Happy slow cooking!

Go green and stay keen,

Julie
It is about that time when we are going to pick right back up into our busy schedules with the kids back in school, a busy season in the restaurant and my husband has a few business travel trips coming up.

There is nothing worse than having boring and repetitive meals.  Being busy is nothing new to our family’s life so I have figured out how to make meals that only take a few minutes to prepare.

My answer to busy schedules, cooking ahead of time and freezing.

Cooking up a big batch of something and freezing the leftovers make great weeknight meals.  There are so many things that freeze well and can even save a few dollars when you double or triple the batch.  Not to mention, freezing perishable items means you waste less!

recipes of freezer friendly meals
Freezer Friendly Meals

Today I made two batches of soup for this week and an easy breakfast, it is going to be a busy week for sure!  Here are some great recipes that freeze well and work great as weekday meals!


Chickpea and Coconut Tomato Soup

Ingredients-
1, 400g can of chickpeas
1 can of tomatoes
250ml coconut milk
1 red chili, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, grated
1 shallot, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
3-4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish if desired

Instructions-
In a large pan heat the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper.  When the onion is beginning to brown add the chili and sauté for a couple minutes.  Add the rest of the spices and zest and stir together thoroughly.
Add the tomatoes, cook for about 3-4 minutes then add the coconut milk and continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Finally, add the chickpeas and cook for about 3 minutes.  Divide and store in freezer containers and either freeze or enjoy right away or both!

Cheese and Veggie Egg Muffins

Ingredients-
About 1 ½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup diced orange bell peppers
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen corn
8 large eggs
About 12 tbsp. shredded cheese of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions-
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray cooking spray on a non-stick 12 cup muffin pan making sure it is all thoroughly covered.
In a large bowl mix the carrots, peppers, peas, and corn.  Divide the mixture in the muffin pan filling them up about 2/3 of the way full.
In another bowl crack the eggs and whisk them adding salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the egg mixture in the muffin pan as well.  Top each muffin section with a generous amount of cheese.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes and let cool before removing.  Divide and eat or freeze and save for a delicious and healthy breakfast.

Do you freeze meals to have during a busy week? I would love to know what you freeze, I am always looking for new recipes to try with my family!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Moms, if you have a preteen boy, you know that they love to defy everything and beat their own path.  Liam has been pretty good, but recently he has been in a sriracha kick.  Anything and everything I make for breakfast, lunch or dinner he has to load it up with sriracha.  I think his obsession stemmed from one day when Liam dared Hannah to have a spoon full of it and couldn’t handle it.  That sibling rivalry has made quite the “macho man” Liam is acting like now.



Instead of letting him ruin all of our delicious meals, I came up with a few recipes with sriracha hidden in them that Hannah can eat too.  I have made a few meals and surprised Liam when I tell him that it is already in it and Hannah love it and rubs it in his face a little.  I have to laugh because they love to make everything a competition and I am kindly incising them a bit.

Here are some delicious ways I have come up with to add sriracha on everything!

For breakfast I came up with a wonderful:

Sweet Potato and Endive Hash with Sriracha Buttermilk

Sauce

Ingredients for the sauce-

•    1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
•    1 tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
•    ¼ tsp. sriracha sauce
•    1/8 tsp. salt

Ingredients for the potatoes-

•    1 ¼ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
•    ¾ lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
•    1 tbsp. olive oil
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    ½ tsp. salt
•    4 heads endive, thinly sliced
•    1 green onion, thinly sliced
•    ¼ cup minced cilantro

Instructions for the sauce-
•    In a bowl mix all the ingredients together until well combined
Instructions for the potatoes-
•    Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a large saucepan on high heat.  Add the sweet and russet potatoes, cook until tender and drain.
•    In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the sweet and russet potatoes and salt, cook and stir for about 5-7 minutes.  Add the endive and green onions and cook until the potatoes begin to brown.
•    Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro, drizzle the sriracha sauce and stir to coat.  Enjoy!

For an easy and delicious snack:

Sriracha Chex Mix

Ingredients-
•    6 cups mixed Chex cereal, I like using half wheat Chex and half corn Chex
•    1 ½ cup cheez-its
•    1 ½ cup pretzels
•    1 cup peanuts
•    4 tbsp. unsalted butter
•    ¼ cup sriracha, more or less depending on your desired spicy level
•    2 tbsp. soy sauce
•    1 tsp. grated ginger
•    1 tsp. grated garlic


Instructions-
•    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
•    In a large bowl mix the Chex, cheez-its, pretzels, and peanuts and lay out on a large line baking sheet.
•    In another bowl combine the butter, sriracha, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and microwave for about 15 second intervals until the butter is melted.  Stir each time to combine.
•    Pour the butter mixture evenly over Chex mixture and combine with your hands to evenly coat.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring and moving the mixture every 15 minutes.  Cool and Enjoy!

Another easy side dish is:

Sriracha Garlic Bread

Easy Instructions- quantity of ingredients can be based on the level of spicy and servings.
•    In a small bowl mix sriracha, minced garlic, and butter and microwave to melt the butter.  Brush mixture on slices of bread and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil until toasted.  Enjoy!

With Liam’s new obsession, I am constantly trying to come up with recipes that incorporate sriracha.  I am hoping this phase passes fairly soon, the lady at the grocery store is going to think I have a sriracha problem.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
I love encountering individuals who are eager to learn about a vegetarian lifestyle and make a change.  Last night at the restaurant I had the opportunity to chat with a couple that has just decided to embark on their vegetarian lifestyle journey.  They asked me for some helpful hints to get through the difficult first couple months.  With spring quickly approaching and BBQ’s and soccer games around the corner they were concerned about vegetarian options.  Luckily for them I have quite a few helpful hints.


Deciding to become is a big diet and lifestyle change.  There are times when it will seem impossible, but once you find your strength and keep pushing forward there is not turning back.  Here are a few tips that helped me “keep on trucking” and create a healthy lifestyle for myself.

1.    Don’t expect everyone to embrace your new lifestyle change initially.  My parents thought I was crazy when I told them I was making the change, and now they eat a primarily plant-based diet.  During the first couple months my friends and family would taunt me with my past favorite meals with meat making it a game to see if I would crack.  I stayed strong and soon everyone came to realize this was something I was doing to better myself and I wasn’t going to back down.  Stay strong!

2.    There will be times when you crave a dish with meat in it, and when that happens just watch one of the wonderful documentaries out there about the factory meat industry.  I am sure that craving will pass.  Documentaries are a great way to find inspiration to make change and find your strength from within.  Educate yourself!

3.    Try new fruits and vegetables.  There are so many it shouldn’t be hard to try a new one every week incorporating it into a new recipe.  I can’t stress enough that even “ugly” fruits and veggies taste wonderful.  Don’t overlook certain types just because you have never tried it before or it looks ugly.  Dive in head first and see what you like.

4.    If you are not a chef, take a vegetarian cooking class.  I took a class in my first couple months of becoming a vegetarian and learned so much and met a great support system.  Working and having fun with likeminded people is a great way to discover some new recipes and new friends.

5.    Eat what is in season and go to the farmers markets.  Going to the farmers markets is not only a way to get your groceries, it is an experience in itself.  Become friends with the farmers and really find out where your food comes from.  I also suggest planting your own garden.  It is such a satisfying feeling cooking a meal with all your own fresh yields.



Making a lifestyle change doesn’t have to be that hard.  Find a good support system and make a promise to yourself, you’ll be half way there.  If you have any other questions about become a vegetarian, I would love to answer them for you! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie