Showing posts with label vegetarian mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian mom. Show all posts
I recently broke one of my favorite rolling pins and had to order a new one.  It was so hard for me to decide which one to get because my previous one was no longer being made.  Looking for a new one made me realize I have quite the unique set of kitchen utensils.  I love finding the perfect tool for the job.  I am a sucker for specialized utensils that help make my favorite foods easier to make.

After I realized my kitchen utensil drawer probably doesn’t look like many of yours, I decided I should share my favorite unique kitchen utensils.

1. If you know me, you know I love mushrooms.  There is no slacking on this wonderful vegetable here.  My Mushroom & Egg Slicer is one of my favorite and very specific utensils.  If you cook mushrooms or eggs often I highly recommend it.  I even got the restaurant one.
2. Shears are important in every kitchen.  I use them all the time if I am in a hurry or want an easy option for mincing chives or slicing green onions.  There are my favorite kitchen shears that might just make your kitchen experience better.
3. The spill stopper has saved my stove from so many potential spills.  It is this silicone bowl-shaped utensil that fits on top of pots from water or broth from boiling over.  It is always irritating when you leave the room for two seconds and the water boils over and you have a huge flame.  The spill stopper stops that from happening.


4. My pizza wheel has retired since I got the pizza chopper.  When I used to use a pizza wheel I would have to go over the cut several times until it was cut and still then my slices wouldn’t be even.  The pizza chopper is easier and makes slices even.  I use it for tarts as well.


5. I have found the PERFECT Peeler, and what a coincidence it is called the  Perfect Peeler.  I feel like a good peeler is hard to come by until I found this one.  I went through many different kinds and designs but the perfect peeler has solved all my peeling problems.


6. Hannah’s favorite tool in the kitchen is our stainless steel scoop for cookies.  It makes the perfect sized cookies and you don’t have to fiddle with a tablespoon.  I also use it for truffles, energy bites, and watermelon balls!


7. My marble pastry slab was in impromptu buy that is one of my favorites.  I like using it better than the table when I am rolling out dough for bread or whatever I am making.  I use less flour and the dough doesn’t stick to the surface as much making it easy to clean up.


Do you have utensils you could not cook without?  Maybe you have the key to one of my cooking problems, please let a comment below with your favorite unique utensil.

Go green and stay keen,

Julie

Best kitchen Utensils

by on 5/25/2017
I recently broke one of my favorite rolling pins and had to order a new one.  It was so hard for me to decide which one to get because my p...
There are just so many things to be recognized in October, but one of my favorite is today, NATIONAL PASTA DAY! :D  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pasta.  It is such a versatile food that can be made to be spicy, sweet, savory, rich…and the list goes on.


Happy National Pasta Day!
Did you know that pasta has been made and consumed as early at 3,000 B.C. by the Chinese?  It only was brought to America in 1789 by Thomas Jefferson after being in France.  I don’t know how people survived without it. 

Pasta has become a staple in much of American popular culinary works.  So why not find out a little bit more about our favorite pasta?  Here are some fun facts about pasta…I mean who doesn’t want to know more?


•    Italians consume more pasta than anyone else in the world.
•    Pasta comes in many different colors depending on the sauce it is made with.
•    The word pasta originated from the Italian word paste.
•    The average American eats 20 lbs. of pasta annually.
•    There are 310 specific forms of pasta that are known by over 1300 different names.

I remember years ago in college, pasta was the base for nearly every meal.  Pasta can be enjoyed on any budget and can be prepared to make the low cost noodles seem like a high end dish.  I still always keep pasta on hand at home.  It is great for those days when cooking an entire meal seems daunting but you want to eat something good.  It is easy to make a delicious meal in just a few minutes with pasta.

When you hear the statement, “Happy National Pasta Day” I hope you get as excited as I do and imagine yourself indulging in delicious pasta delights.  I am sure you have a favorite kind or shape of pasta, but today I say, try a new one.  With 310 different options, why not dapple in a new meal shape.  Get cooking and make sure you have your fair share of pasta. :)

What is your favorite pasta and pasta dish?

Go green and stay keen,

Julie

It is very important to eat a diet high in nutrients to make sure your body has the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

Your plate should be a spectrum of bright colors.  We are naturally attracted to bright things, whether it be lush landscapes, clothing hues, bright flowers, or whatever it might be.  The foods you chose to eat shouldn’t be any different, the brighter in color the food is, the more likely it high is nutrients.

Foods that are bland colors often don’t provide as much nutrients as bright fruits and vegetables.  I taught my kids to fill their plate of color.

From when they were little, we always made sure we had at least three colors on our plate for every meal.

Liam and Hannah will even comment if our dinner or lunch is lacking in bright colors and find some fresh veggies to add to it.

Instilling good eating habits to our children is essential to their health.  Here is a list of five food color groups that are great for growing children.

Orange fruits and vegetables are often high in vitamin A, improve immune and reproductive health, and also have anti-cancer properties.  Sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, carrots, and apricots are all good sources of your daily dose of orange.

Yellow fruits and veggies like squash, potatoes, bell peppers, and apples; promote skin and eye health.  They can also improve cognition.

My favorite color, green is great for lowering the risk of cancer, improved eye health, and stronger teeth and bones.  Some of my favorite green veggies are asparagus, kale, spinach, and broccoli.

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables are my second favorite to eat.  Eggplant (my favorite), purple cabbage, prunes and raisins help to protect cells from being damaged and help lower the risks of heart disease, and cancer.  They also have anti-aging and brain boosting properties.

Red fruits and vegetables like cranberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and pomegranates contain antioxidants that benefit heart health and can help prevent some cancers.

If you have young children there was a rainbow game we used to play that can be found here.  It is a great way to get them involved with the meal and healthy choices.

I challenge you to try having three different bright colors on your plate this week.  It is not as difficult as you might thing, but the rewards will be well worth it.

Eat the rainbow.


Go green and stay keen,

Julie

Green your Plate

by on 4/15/2016
It is very important to eat a diet high in nutrients to make sure your body has the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. ...
Happy Valentine’s Day cyber world!  Today is such a wonderful day, you can’t go anywhere without feeling the love in the air.  I love Valentine’s Day because it celebrates one of the greatest gifts of life, love.  I love my husband, but instead of sneaking off today and doing our own thing we decided to have a family Valentine’s Days.  Our kids have allowed us to grow and fall in love even more and I fall deeper in love with my husband and my children every day. 



This morning my husband and I woke up early and made heart shaped pancakes with pink and red M&M’s in them for Hannah and Liam.  We surprised them with their first breakfast in bed.  They thought it was so great they didn’t have to get dressed to have breakfast. :)  It was fun being sly with my husband to surprise the kids.  I don’t know why we didn’t think about doing stuff like this before.




After breakfast and the kiddo’s finally got out of bed and got dressed we went to the park to play a game of Frisbee and have a picnic lunch.  It was fun getting out and being active on such a beautiful day.  We may have ruined a few couples romantic park setting by running around and whipping the Frisbee around, but we sure had a fabulous time.

A few hours later and we were exhausted and ready for our picnic.  Liam and Hannah thought it was funny that we were one of the only families in the park and the rest were couples.  They picked out a spot in the middle of the big clearing where there weren’t that many couples.  We sat there for almost two hours laughing, making duck faces, and rolling down the hill.  I don’t know what got into the kids and my husband they were so silly. 

We made it back to the house late in the afternoon and the kids, including my husband, fell asleep on the couches watching a movie while I made dinner.  I made some spaghetti with garlic bread and a delicious Valentine’s Day cake for desert.  By the time I was done cooking all my children woke up, set the table, and we had a fabulous dinner.


We concluded our family Valentine’s Day with a competitive game of sorry and apples to apples.  Today has easily been one of the best Valentine’s Day I have ever had.  Spending time with my three loves was so special and it definitely was a laugh filled day.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

This summer Hannah took the initiative and joined our library’s book club and fun summer classes.  She loves reading and learning and didn’t want to stop over the summer. I am lucky to have two wonderful proactive kids.

Today after I picked her up from the library she told me she is doing a project to show kids that “being a vegetarian is cool and fun.”  I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl.


Of course I helped her come up with some ideas.  She wanted to make a “fun facts” poster and bring in a vegetarian snack to share.  Her idea is that if the kids see how happy and fun she is because she eats some vegetarian meals, maybe they will want to try and have their parents try too.

Although some of the facts seem obvious, she chose them on how they will relate to other kids.

1. People become vegetarian for all different kinds of reasons.
2. There are all different kinds of vegetarians.  One might better suit you than the other.
3. Many animals are vegetarians and you are caring for animals
4. It is good for the world and nature around us.
5. There are many restaurants that offer vegetarian options.
6. Meat is expensive, having a plant based diet helps save money
7. The world is nearly ¼ vegetarians.
8. By not having meat in the freezer you have more room for ice cream.  (Hannah’s Favorite)
9. You can buy almost all your food at the farmers market
10. You learn how to cook better and more delicious food

She is making a really cute collage of her favorite fruits and veggies with the lyrics to the Meat Free Monday song too.

On Friday before she goes to the library to present her poster and song we are going to make Almost Raw Cookie Dough Balls to share with the other kids.  Here is our easy and fun recipe.

Ingredients- 
1 cup oats
1 ripe banana
½ cup grated dry coconut
3 tbsp. maple syrup or agave syrup, your choice
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions-
Add oats into a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds to break them down a little.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and pulse until fully combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips and refrigerate for 10 minutes to slightly harden.  Roll dough into balls then place back in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Enjoy the doughy goodness!



I love how Hannah always jumps to challenges and loves sharing her lifestyle with her peers.  I hope that maybe Hannah’s passion will inspire you to try a few vegetarian meals a week.

Go green and stay keen,

Julie

Vegetarian Fun Facts

by on 7/22/2015
This summer Hannah took the initiative and joined our library’s book club and fun summer classes .  She loves reading and learning and did...
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like dips and sauces.  I am a firm believer that anything smothered in dip or sauces is 10x better than it otherwise.



I went to a BBQ two weekends ago for the fourth and made the best taco dip.  It was the hit of the party and no one believed me when I told them it was vegetarian!



There was quite the variety of dips and surprisingly most of the dips were meat-less.  It made my BBQ a little easier.  I wanted to share with you my favorite vegetarian dip recipes that are not hummus. :D

Vegan Taco Dip

Ingredients-

1, 14 oz. can vegan refried beans
1, 12-16 oz. container of vegan sour cream
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1 cup black olives, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cup lettuce
1 avocado, chopped
½ cup green onion, chopped

Instructions-

Spread the refried beans of the bottom of a 9x7 inch tray.  Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning together, then gently spread it on top of the beans.  Top with olives, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and green onion.

Chill for an hour and enjoy!

Miso-Lime Sweet Potato Dip

Ingredients-

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. white miso paste
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. grated lime zest, more to garnish if desired

Instructions-

Pierce sweet potatoes with a four and microwave for 7-10 minutes until soft.  Let potatoes cool and coarsely chop leaving the skins on.
Place chopped potatoes in a food processer and add the miso paste, lime juice, ginger, and lime zest with 2 tbsp. water and pulse until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with lime zest if desired and enjoy!

Hot Artichoke Dip

Ingredients-

1, 12 oz. package of light silken tofu
2 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. onion powder
1, 15.5 oz. can artichoke quarters in water, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Dusting of paprika

Instructions-

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Puree tofu, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and onion powder in blender until smooth and then transfer to bowl.

Stir artichokes, spinach, and parmesan cheese into tofu mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes, dust with paprika and enjoy!

I love dips, they make a meal or appetizer even better.

What is your favorite vegetarian dip?


Vegetarian dips, sauces, dressings.


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals.




We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first post.  My mind just goes to other topics when I sit down to write.  I have had way too many other good topics to share with you guys :)

Good news is I remembered tonight! My kids and husband helped cook dinner tonight! It was so wonderful.

We made Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers and Chilled Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies for desert.

We had so much fun cooking and our meal tasted delicious.  I think we spent the entire time cooking, laughing at Liam, he had a comment for everything; silly kid!

Here are the recipes that we used!

We actually found the Confetti Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe at the Kids Cook Monday website.

Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients-

4 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, cooked according to the package directions
1 bag (10 oz.) whole grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
Combine mixed vegetables, brown rice, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, tomato sauce and black pepper in a large bowl.
Arrange peppers in prepared pan and spoon mixture into peppers.
Pour ¼ cup water into pan around the peppers. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until peppers are tender.
Remove foil and evenly sprinkle peppers with remaining cheeses.  Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Enjoy!



For dessert we made no-bake, Chilled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies


Ingredients-

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup honey
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed

Instructions-

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a small skillet add cocoanut and toast for about 3 minutes then let cool.
In a medium sauce pan combine honey, corn syrup, and peanut butter on medium heat.  Keep stirring until mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and cocoa.  Stir the mixture until the chocolate chips have melted and then add the cereal and toasted coconut and stir until coated.
Spoon balls of mixture on to parchment paper and refrigerate until hardened, about 15 minutes.
Enjoy!



It ended up being a fantastic kid’s cook Monday!  We were so full after our meal we went on a walk around the neighborhood to digest it all.  The meal and the walk put the kids right to bed.  When we got back they sat on the couch for 15 minutes and went straight to bed.  Great end to a great evening.
Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Kids Cook Monday

by on 6/01/2015
I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals . We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first po...
Rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables that is seasonally spring.  It is so delicious and makes, in my opinion, THE BEST desserts.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to add rhubarb to main courses, but it doesn’t get much better than a good old fashioned rhubarb pie.  I wanted to share my love for this seasonally sweet vegetable with a few of my recipes.  I hope they seem just as delicious to you as they do to me!

Rhubarb Crumble
rhubarb crumble julie green and keenIngredients-
1 ½ pound of rhubarb, just into small slices
2 cups of raspberries or strawberries (or if you are feeling crazy, both)
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons of instant tapioca
½ tsp. grated orange zest
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
A dash of salt

Ingredients for topping-
6 tbsp. softened vegetarian butter
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ tsp. orange zest
1 cup flour
Dash of salt

Instructions for topping-
Mix butter, brown sugar, orange zest in a large bowl, electric mixers work great.  Mix until creamy.  Add flour and salt, work mixture until it forms coarse crumbs.

Instructions for Rhubarb-
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix rhubarb, berries, sugar, tapioca, orange zest, orange juice, and salt in a large bowl.
Divide rhubarb mixture into six small, one cup baking dishes and top with topping.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and it is bubbling a little bit.
Let cool and serve, Enjoy!




My favorite Rhubarb Cake
rhubarb cake julie green and keenIngredients-
½ cup vegetarian butter
1 ½ white sugar
¼ cup soy yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. bake soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tbsp. flour
¼ cup vegetarian butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar

Instructions-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, yogurt and vanilla until creamy.
In another bowl sift 2 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the buttermilk and combine with creamed mixture.
Toss the rhubarb with 1 tbsp. flour and stir into the batter.  Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13 in pan and smooth the surface.
In a separate bowl, blend together ¼ cup butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes, let cool and enjoy!


The Beloved Fresh Rhubarb Pie
rhubarb pie julie green and keenIngredients-
4 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter
Pie Crust (Homemade or bought, your choice)

Instructions-
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Combine sugar and flour and sprinkle a ¼ of it over the pie crust.  Heap the rhubarb over this mixture and sprinkle the remaining sugar and flour over the top of the rhubarb.  Chop up pieces of butter and sprinkle over the top and cover with top crust.
Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 40-45 minutes.
Enjoy your fresh rhubarb pie!


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Walking through the grocery store it is hard not to miss the milk section.  With countless varieties including animal milk, plant milk, nut milk, soy milk, and grain milk; how do you know what to choose and what is the best for your family. 

I have always been lactose intolerant so I have drank plant based milks since I was a child.  With all the recent hype about antibiotics and pesticides that are said to be in animal milk, many people are turning to alternatives.  Milk substitutes are often consumed by people with intolerants, people concerned with the environment, vegetarians, and vegans. 

I have never known anything but plant based milks and have always had an interest in the various types.  Here are a few plant based milks I consume and their pros and cons.

  • Almond milk is a safe milk option for people with food allergies or a lactose intolerance like me.  It does not contain any dairy, lactose, soy, eggs, cholesterol, gluten, MSG, or whey (milk proteins).


Almond milk has less protein than traditional dairy milk, one cup of almond milk has 1 gram of protein and one cup of dairy milk has 8 grams.  When I drink almond milk I make sure that I am getting protein from other sources in my diet.

Over all Almond milk is very healthy.  It is heart-healthy, low calorie, nutrient dense dairy milk alternative.  

  • Soy milk is my favorite non-dairy alternative.  It has the best source of protein compared to other substitutes.  It has about 7 grams of protein and has a similar fat content to dairy milk.  Most of the fat in soy milk is unsaturated, providing the body with healthy fats.


It is the milk is produced by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water.

It is a good alternative to dairy milk.  The only concern I have is that many soybeans that are grown today are genetically modified.  I make sure to read the labels and buy soy milk that is organic and “non-GMO.”

  • I don’t often use Hemp milk, but it is also another alternative.  Hemp seeds are high in plant based omega-3 fatty acids which help keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control.  It also has 10 essential amino acids making it a good source of protein. 


I like hemp milk in smoothies because it has a thick and creamy texture.  It also has a little bit of a nutty flavor that is really delicious in banana smoothies.

If you are looking to switch to a plant based milk for health reasons it is important to read the ingredients and understand the products nutritional value.  Many substitutes can be high in sugar and have little to no difference in their nutritional values.  I drink plant milks because of my intolerance and because I am a vegetarian.  If you are thin thinking about switching for environmental reasons, know that you will not have a lack of nutrients.  
It is easy to avoid the obvious products that are not vegetarian, but there is a grey zone where it is necessary to understand what an ingredient is and how it is made.  I have learned through the years that it is not always safe to assume that certain processed foods are vegetarian.  More often than not, labels can be misleading and sneak meat-based ingredients into products you would never think to look for. 



It is important to read and understand the labels about what ingredients are made from animal products.  The good thing is, after figuring out what products are not vegetarian, it is easier to find product alternatives that are.



This list I compiled contains products that MAY have animal by-products.  It is dependent on the brand and what kind or flavor it is.  This list is here to help make you more aware and read the labels of these products closer.

·         Vanilla Ice Cream may contain castoreum, secretions from beaver’s anal glands, as a “natural flavor.”
·         Orange juices can contain fish oil and sheep’s wool.
·         Some salted peanuts use gelatin as an adhesive to help the salt and other spices stick on to them.
·         It is common for beef fat to be present in boxed cake mixes.
·         Everyone’s favorite Easter snack, peeps, is made with gelatin.
·         Some bagels and other bread products have L. Cysteine, which is found in bird feathers and human hair.
·         Potato chips have been known to be produced using chicken fat.  It is commonly used in the BBQ flavored potato chips.
·         Boxed mac and cheese might have rennet, an enzyme in mammal’s stomach, in it.
·         Wines can be made with gelatin, isinglass, or chitin while being processed.
·         Frosted Mini Wheat’s contain gelatin as well. 
·         Some canned vegetable soups are made with beef stock.
·         Vitamin supplements often contain animal bi-products, especially in the capsules or casing they are in.



It is very important to stay educated on changing ingredients and processing protocols.  If there are any products I missed of have any questions, I would love to hear from you!


Go Green and Stay Keen, 

Julie
Hummus, hummus, hummus; I have been obsessed with this delicious dip for the past couple weeks and can’t get enough.  My husband was laughing at me earlier today because we have FIVE different kinds of hummus in the fridge.  I love it and it is packed with protein.  Recently, I have been making different mixtures to try different flavors.  My favorite is still the classic; Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.

Since my obsession started I have been putting hummus on everything.  To me, it is not just a dip for pitas or pretzels, it’s my secret weapon to spice up ordinary food.  Here are four of my favorite ways to incorporate hummus into everything I eat. J
·         Sandwiches with hummus up the ante to all other “regular” sandwiches.  I am a testament that nobody likes a dry sandwich; but instead of drenching it with some unhealthy sauce or dressing add hummus.  It adds the perfect amount of saucy taste.  There are so many kinds of hummus, I mix and match to pick out the perfect flavor for that sandwich.
·         I am have always love potatoes, but hummus mashed potatoes are even more creamy and delicious.  I just make mashed potatoes like I would any other time, and add the hummus while it is mixing.  I usually use garlic flavored or red pepper depending on the meal.  It adds a rich and savory flavor that makes the mash potatoes even better than they already are.
·         Hummus pizza…don’t crunch up your nose just yet.  Think savory and healthy pizza.  When I am making a homemade pizza, I use the hummus instead of pizza sauce.  It is so delicious and adds a little more zest and richness to your pizza.
·         After trying hummus salad dressing there is no going back to any other dressing.  I mix a tub of hummus with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 3 tbsp. of white wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp. of sesame oil.  It makes the most incredible dressing. 
·         Topping grilled and roasted veggies with thinned hummus is even better than you might believe.  I thin down hummus by mixing it with some water to make it into a more saucy consistency and toss my veggies in it.  I usually even add a little more to my plate to dip it in.

I am sure that I will get sick of hummus on everything, but until that day I am going to continue embracing this obsession.  Right now, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love hummus…and everyone else.  J Happy Hummusing!


Go Green and Stay Keen, 
Julie

Hummus Obsession

by on 4/06/2015
Hummus, hummus, hummus; I have been obsessed with this delicious dip for the past couple weeks and can’t get enough.  My husband was laugh...
A few months ago Hannah had a great idea to have a Kids day at the restaurant I work at.  She is so cute, she said that kids don’t know that vegetarian food can be “really yummy” and wanted me to show people how it can be delicious.  I felt so proud, that she wanted to share her favorite vegetarian foods with her friends and other kids.  Obviously, I loved the idea.



I was so happy the restaurant owner and cooks agreed this was a good idea and worked with Hannah and me to make it happen.  Yesterday we held our first kid’s afternoon special; it was a huge success.  Hannah insisted on helping us plan the menu because “it was her idea.”  We created a “kid friendly” menu that offered small portions so kids and families could sample many different foods and dishes. 

Hannah absolutely loved helping organize the day, she is such a little party planner.  We had about 20 families come in the afternoon with their children to try some new vegetarian food.  Hannah stayed at the restaurant all afternoon helping us and talking to all her friends that came in; she nearly invited her entire class. :)



After talking with several new families to the restaurant and a few of Hannah’s friend’s families it sounded like they loved it.  Not only were their kids surprised that the food was so good, their parents were pleasantly surprised as well. 

I had to laugh, one of Hannah’s friends father came into the restaurant and was joking with me how he would have to get food after because there was no way vegetables were going to fill him up.  As he was leaving I asked him if he still thought he needed more food and he quickly responded “no way.”  He was stuffed!  He said that he will definitely be coming back, and that the food was very  filling, delicious and that he actually felt healthy eating it…now that is what I like to hear! :)


I am so happy Hannah came up with this idea and everyone helped to make it happen.  My friend the owner, was pleased with all the customers that came in, on what would have normally been an average afternoon.
Hannah’s great idea brought quite a bit of extra business and hopefully the families will be coming back in the future.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Have you have been strolling through your local farmers market and saw some sort of mythical looking fruit or vegetable.  I love finding weird looking fruits or vegetables that I haven’t tried.  Last week I was at the farmers market and found the strangest shaped squash, obviously I had to get it. 

Finding weird shaped fruits and vegetables is always exciting; but finding a “weird” looking new fruits and vegetables are the best.  I think trying new foods is a great way to experiment with cooking and using new ingredients.

After getting home with my odd-ball shaped squash I went surfing the web to find some new fruits and vegetables I haven’t tried.  There are so many out there, here are five fruits and five vegetables that are on my trying to-do list.

Vegetables-

•    Spigarello is a form of broccoli that has a sweet, delicate, less bitter taste.  It is similar to kale, but said to be better.


•    Kabocha Squash is similar to a squash or pumpkin but much sweeter.  There are various recipes with it baked with garlic, cheese, oregano, and olive oil.  A must try!


•    I actually have heard of Sunchokes, or sometimes called a Jerusalem artichoke, but haven’t tried them.  They are actually kind of a sunflower.  It is said to have a nutty taste.


•    Seckle’s look like a pear and are supposed to taste delicious.  They are sometimes called “sugar pears” and are known from their grainy texture and spicy-sweet flavor.

•    Romanesco- I won’t lie, this vegetable looks like it should be part of a science project.  CRAZY!  I found quite a few recipes that say to add it to stir-fry’s for an extra special taste.



Fruits-

•    If you like bananas and pineapples, Jackfruits are supposed to be a delicious combination of flavors!  The Jackfruit has sweet bulbs that cover brown seeds. 

 •    Kiwano is said to have the perfect combination of sweet and sour!  They are also called horned melons.  Kiwanos are full of filling fiber making a great snack.


•    You may have heard Lychee.  It is a sweet smelling fruit with an exotic taste similar to grapes.  They have become somewhat more popular in the past year or so.


•    Grenadia has a similar taste to passion fruit.  The seeds are said to be covered in delicious pulp.  I think they look terrifying on the inside, but I definitely want to try it.




 •    More common in the grocery stores are Star fruits.  I have them all the time, but they are so good I felt the need to share them with you too. This fruit is actually shaped as a star when sliced.  It is crunchy, juicy and full of goodness.


 I hope this list inspired you to pick up those weird fruits and vegetable you’ve been scared to try.  I can’t wait to try all of these and more.  Do you know any more strange food that I should try? I would love to know! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
There is just something about a good soup that warms your body.  I consider myself somewhat of a soup-a-holic, if I had to survive off of one food it would be soup.  There are so many possibilities when cooking it, it can be savory, spicy, light, cold, warm, and the list goes on.  I decided to make my favorite Chunky Pepper Potato soup for dinner tonight so I am going to share a few of my favorite vegetarian soup recipes.

Chunky Pepper Potato Soup

Ingredients-

½ cup chopped onion
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups almond milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions-

In a sauce pan cook onion until it is tender and stir in potatoes, peppers, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Stir in milk and cornstarch and stir until smooth.  Bring to boil and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.  Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Enjoy!





Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Ingredients-

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (1 lbs.) package of frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. ground cumin
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 (4 oz.) cans chopped green Chile peppers, drained
4 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 (11 oz.) can whole kernel corn
12 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions-

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Mix in the tomatoes and Chile peppers then pour in broth and season with salt and pepper
Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add corn into the soup and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips and top with cheese and avocado.
Enjoy!



Cool Fresh Tomato and Avocado Soup- so yummy can you can get almost all the ingredients at the farmers market! :)

Ingredients-

4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup red onion, chopped
¼ cup cucumber, chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Handful of sliced romaine lettuce

Instructions-

Combine all the ingredients together, except the avocado, in a large bowl.  Lightly mash with a potato masher and stir in 1 cup of water.
Cover and let chill for at least an hour and then stir in the avocado and romaine lettuce.
Enjoy!


I hope these yummy soup recipes ignite the “soup-a-holic” in you!  I know we are going to be eating good at home tonight.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie