Julie Green and Keen: veggies
Showing posts with label veggies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veggies. 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...
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

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
I was so excited when the phone rang this morning and heard a familiar voice on the other end.  My beloved “cookbook” cook that moved to Chicago called to check in and see how things have been going.  We talk over Facebook every once in a while but it was so great to hear his voice again.  It had been so long since I had a good chat with him.

From the sounds of his voice and all his crazy antics, it seems as though he is doing great in Chicago.  He told me that the restaurant he is working at is doing very well and since he became the head chef their business has continued to grow; no surprise there.  He is one of the most brilliant chef’s I have ever met.  He explained how since starting at the restaurant, he has created a couple new seasonal dishes that have been very successful amongst patrons.

Chicago is treating his family well too.  They are all settled in and transforming to become more “Midwestern”…his exact words. :D  His kids love having so many parks and a zoo (in the summer) in their backyard.  It makes me so happy for him that everything is good and that his family is loving it there.



He said that the only hard adjustment has been the extremely brutal Chicago winter.  Obviously, living in California for years did not prepare him for the snow, cold temperatures, and ice that winter brings.  Seeing all the snowfall and cold temperatures in Chicago on the news, makes me feel a little bad for them.  (To keep him thinking about us in sunny CA, I send him pictures of the sun and blue skies; maybe it will convince him to come back…just kidding I am happy for him)  It was funny listening to how he has to bundle up just to go to the grocery store and get his kids ready for school.
His kids are loving the snow, besides all the layers they have to put on.  He has sent me a few pictures of them playing in the snow and making snowmen in the park.  He says they also have been ice skating in Millennium Park quite a bit…I am jealous of that.  California doesn't really have outdoor ice skating in the snow.  :)



I am so happy I got to talk to him for a while today and that him and his family are doing great.  After chatting with him, I think I need to plan a trip to the Windy City to visit him and the restaurant he works at.  I think I can make that a business trip right?

GO VEGGIES...inside joke between me and Mr. Cookbook. :)

Go Green and Staying Keen,
Julie

When looking for new recipes or more information on a topic I often turn to fellow bloggers.  By reading a blog about a product or a recipe I know that it is a personal opinion and am able to connect with it on a deeper level.  There are so many blogs out there with great content for vegetarians.  Here are my twelve favorite vegetarian and vegan blogs.

1. Naturally Ella is my go to blog for seasonal recipes.  She has some of the most delicious recipes I have made.

2. My New Roots is written by a holistic nutritionist and vegetarian chef Sarah Britton.  There are wonderful recipes with ample information on nutrition.


3. Oh My Veggies is a blog from Kiersten who has been a vegetarian since she was twelve.  She has good recipes as well and reviews recipes she tries from other blogs.


4. Cookie and Kate has quite the archive of fresh vegetarian recipes and treats like margaritas, cakes, and popsicles.  She also talks about her canine companion, Cookie, who catches her crumbs.


5. Vegan Yum Yum shares vegan recipes that appeal to vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike.  She uses beautiful photography and has a great section called “how to” with great articles like “How to cut a pepper” and “How to peel mushrooms.”


6. 101 Cookbooks has every recipe you could possibly be looking for.  It is very useful because the recipes are categorized by season, recipe type, or ingredients.


7. The Veg Space has great recipes as well as a great writer, Kate Ford, who has been vegetarian for over 20 years.  She also reviews books and other products.


8. Green Kitchen Stories updates their blog very frequently with “must try” recipes.  They focus on cooking healthy, simple food with natural ingredients, whole grains, good fats, fruits and vegetables.


9. Happyolks is a great blog for recipe inspiration and for a good read.  Besides recipes and good writing this couple writes about finding a place in the world to feel truly like yourself.  It is a good inspirational blog.

10. VegKitchen is primarily a recipe site but it also features articles about what is good to eat and how to prepare and eat it.


11. VegNews is a great blog with product reviews, news, inspiration, and everything that has to do with living a vegetarian lifestyle.

12. Soul Veggie has a ton of information why having a vegetarian lifestyle is the healthiest option.  They also showcase news, recipes, and much more.

I hope you find these blogs as interesting as I do.  If you have other blogs that you love, I would love to check them out!  I have learned that blogging is such a great way to spread information and share feelings.  Go bloggers!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie































Today is such an exciting day for me, it is my 6 year anniversary of being vegetarian!  6 years ago today was one of the most important days of my life, when I decided I would commit to something I wanted to for a while, a new healthy vegetarian lifestyle.  Thinking back, becoming a vegetarian wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Although, there were ups and downs along the road where I would crave meat and think about giving up; once I got over those bumps and knew how to control cravings, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.



 I have always been an animal lover.  6 years ago, after a Saturday afternoon spent on the internet reading and watching documentaries about animal-based diets and the meat industry, it wasn’t a hard to change my of thinking and switch to a plant-based diet.  I knew it would be good for my heath, the animals, the environment, and those around me.

In the beginning social events were difficult but after 6 years, my friends and family understand my lifestyle and have been dabbling in it as well.  I love seeing how my small dietary change, changed my entire extend family and friends outlook on food.  It is awesome going to a party and seeing a variety of fresh vegetarian options, not just put out for me, but because my family and friends genuinely enjoy them and understand the benefits of plant-based foods and diets.


Becoming a vegetarian isn’t something that changes over night, it is a full body transformation.  October 27th, 2008 was a huge day in my life.  My commitment to my health and my love for animals have helped me reach my goal and stick with it. 

I hope that with popular culture beginning to embrace a vegetarian and now vegan lifestyle, more people will try to commit to see the benefits of vegetarianism; I don’t want to keep the greatness a secret all to myself! :)  I am very proud I stuck with something for 6 years that helped change my life.  I can’t wait for many more great anniversaries and years full of learning and new food!   I wouldn’t change it for the world, I love being a vegetarian!


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Yesterday at the restaurant I had a lovely conversation with a customer that had just converted to vegetarianism.  He dove in head first a month ago without any progression eliminating meat.  He told me he was feeling great so far but was having some serious meat cravings.  I know from experience the beginning can be difficult when you see other people eating meats around you. 
I remember those first months when everyone was eating meat around me it was hard not to think about going back, but in the back my mind I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I tried just about every meat substitute out there, some were very delicious and satisfied the little cravings and some were down right terrible.  I was happy to share my favorite meat substitutes with my customer so he wouldn’t have to go through the trial and error I did. 

In my opinion, these are the best meat substitutes.

•    If you are missing cold cuts and deli sandwiches, Tofurky Deli Slices should be your go to.  They are made from smoked wheat gluten and have many different imitated flavors.  I like the roast beef flavor, but they are all equally as delicious.  Even my non-vegetarian friends like them. 



•    Quorn brand Chick’n nuggets are incredible.  My kids love them cut up with BBQ sauce.  Quorn brand uses fermented mushrooms that give them a texture nearly identical to chicken. They are probably one of my favorite chicken replacements.



•    If you love mushrooms like I do, Gardenburger Portabella Veggie Burgers are really good.  They are primarily made of brown rice and vegetables.  I like the smoky flavor and chucky texture of the vegetables.  They do have a lot of sodium, so read the labels.



•    Amy’s Kitchen has good premade meals if you are on the go.  My son loves the black bean vegetable enchilada.  They have a selection of soups and meal starters as well.




•    Anything Morning Star Brand!! My absolute favorite are the Grillers California Turk’y burgers.  They have the perfect amount of flavor and spices and when topped with avocado and tomato; they are the most flawless burger.  I highly recommend all the products by them!


When looking for a product you like, be sure to read the labels because some brands are high in sodium and aren’t very nutritious.  Although my diet doesn’t consist largely of these meat replacements, they are a nice easy break from cooking.  Happy eating!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
On Friday I went to a good friend’s house to meet up with the girls.  It was so nice, we all brought little hor d’oeuvres and chatted over wine.  They loved the tropical popcorn balls I brought and were amazed I used agave nectar instead of honey and they tasted so good. (find the recipe below!)



As you know whole foods and farmers markets are my thing.  I am always finding ways to make recipes unique using natural ingredients.  Managing a restaurant has given me so many opportunities to learn and try new things.  Now, when I’m at home I create recipes on the fly and spice it up differently every time depending on my mood.

I use agave nectar all the time at home and in the restaurant.  We use it in a lot of the desserts and even some main courses.  There are many natural ingredients that can be used to substitute common processed ones.

Here are my favorite natural additives and replacements:

•    Agave nectar is the extract from the wild agave plant.  It is low in glycemic levels and is a natural alternative to white sugar and other sugars



•    Cacao butter is the raw pure oil from the cacao bean.  It has a rich chocolate aroma.  I love to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in just about any chocolate creation I am making.  It is easy to use because it is raw, it melts easy and blends into any type of recipe.


•    Coconut oil has become very popular recently with its many health benefits.  It is commonly used as a food product and skin moisturizer.  It has a rich buttery taste that is great for cooking.


•    Miso is a salty flavored paste made from soybeans, rice, or barley.  It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  I like to use it in soups and adding it to salad dressings and sauces.


•    Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and tastes wonderful.



I believe that cooking should be a fun and freeing experience.  I take pride in making food that is good for you and delicious.  Real sustainable food nourishes not only your body but the environment as well.  Try some new substitutes and let me know what you like.

Here is the recipe for the tropical popcorn balls my friends loved.

Ingredients-
•    6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
•    ¼ cup agave nectar
•    ¼ creamy natural almond butter
•    ¼ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
•    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions-
•    Cover a baking sheet with wax paper to put the balls on
•    Mix the agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Keep heating until the mixture lightly bubbles and remove soon after.
•    Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix until well coated.
•    Quickly press small handfuls of the popcorn and macadamia mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut until coated then place on baking sheet and let cool and harden.
•    Enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie