Asian Quinoa Salad

I was really in the mood for something with great Asian flavor, but being that I am going vegan and that I count calories, ordering takeout just wasn’t really an option. Additionally, I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands, so making some sort of Asian dish from scratch seemed out of the question as well. I came up with this quinoa-based Asian dish and it turned out great! Not only is it great tasting but it’s good for you and it takes very little prep/cooking time. Would go great with fried tofu or some Asian spiced tempeh.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked Quinoa

1 1/4 cup Water

1/2 cup Edamame, frozen or fresh will work

2 tbsp Soy Sauce or Bragg’s

2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

2) Add edamame, soy sauce, vinegar, and 5 Spice. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3) Salt and pepper to taste. Serve Warm.

Makes 4 servings at 200 calories per serving.


Artichoke and Caper Hummus

I had about 10 minutes of free time last night, which is really all it takes to make this delicious dip! I happened to pick up a jar of artichokes hearts the other day and I thought, “What better way to enjoy them than in some hummus?” The great thing about this particular recipe is that there was no need to add any olive oil, therefore the fat in this hummus is much lower than in other varieties.

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can Chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid

2 tbsp Garlic, minced

3 oz Artichoke Hearts

1 tbsp Capers, with some of the packing liquid

1 tsp Cumin

Juice from One Lemon

1 tsp Salt

Olive Oil to thin (if necessary)

Directions:

1) Place all ingredients into a food processor, including the reserved bean liquid and blend until you reach desired smoothness. Slowly drizzle in Olive Oil if you find it to thick for your taste (but I really didn’t need it for this one).

That’s it, all done! Enjoy with veggies, crackers, breads, etc!

 


New Recipes Coming

I’ve been super busy lately, but I’ve also been in the kitchen quite a bit coming up with some great new vegan recipes. I made some very tasty millet-cashew burgers last night and I will post the recipe either later today or tomorrow. I’m also hoping to get some baking done this weekend so I will let you know how that turns out!


Making the Jump

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’ve only become very serious about being vegetarian since the beginning of this year. And while that is nearly 6 months now, it’s still not really that long in the grand scheme of things. Even before I became a total vegetarian I was eating less and less meat, but actually consciously thinking about what I was eating didn’t happen on a serious level until this past January.

While I stopped eating meat and dairy entirely (meat was a personal choice, dairy was out of medical necessity), I was still consuming eggs, yogurt, sour cream, and other animal products such as casein, a milk protein used in many lactose-free soy cheeses/products. I did make an effort to buy cage-free eggs and other organic items, but I didn’t stop to think about where those items were actually coming from.

A few weeks ago I was in Barnes and Noble and I came across a book called Eating Animals. The book looked very interesting and like it was a lot of research, which is something I enjoy reading. The main goal of the book is not necessarily to convert people to vegetarianism or veganism, but to educate them on where their food is coming from. Fifteen pages in, I decided it was time to make the jump to veganism. The longer I am a vegetarian, the more I see how wrong it is what we do to animals just so we can eat – especially when there are so many cruelty-free choices out there.

Chalk it up to my revived love of cooking and experimentation in the kitchen or my goal to eat healthier, but whether it’s that or my always-present-never-quite-surfaced moral objection to animal cruelty, I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the way I need to be living in order to match my inside with my outside. While I will begin this process gradually, I plan to be completely vegan by the end of June. I do not believe in wasting food, therefore I will finish the animal products that I have in my pantry/refrigerator, however, I will not be eating any of these things when I go out to eat nor will I eat them if I don’t have to.

Because I am beginning on another lifestyle change, I will be starting a new blog called The Unintentional Vegan. I will let everyone know when the blog is up and running, but that being said, I will not post on here much more. I have a few recipes that I will share, however once the new blog is up this one will no longer be updated. If you been reading, thank you, and I hope you continue to follow me on my journey to a new, healthier, happier me.


Eating Healthy Won’t Break the Bank

Over the last few weeks I’ve heard the same complaint from many people I’ve talked to about my diet choices: “But it’s so expensive to eat healthy!” This is a very common belief and is one reason that many people never end up changing their eating habits. But in my opinion, this is just another excuse that people have for staying the course when it comes to their meal choices.

I’ve been working on my budget lately, simply trying to see where my money goes, and I thought it would tie in nicely to this complaint that people. So, for the month of June I’m going to track all of my grocery spending, everything from big trips to the grocery store to smaller, specialty store trips (and the occasional trip to Kwik Trip to get bananas). I’m also going to track which groceries I use in which recipes and provide calorie counts for each of them.

I hope that this transparent view of my grocery shopping and cooking will help others realize that eating healthy or changing your eating habits completely doesn’t have to break the bank – and in many cases it can even help you save money (not only on groceries but on trips to the doctor, etc…).

I will be back later this week with a recipe for eggplant “tacos” on chapati bread, but in the mean time start thinking about how much you spend on groceries and what exactly you are getting for your money.


Curry Hummus

I’ve been on a bit of a curry kick lately and I couldn’t think of a better way to incorporate curry into my everyday dining than with hummus. This hummus turned out great, with just enough kick from the cayenne and a hint of spice from the ginger. I’ve enjoyed it with veggies, crackers, and breads – it seems to go with just about anything you have in the pantry! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Ingredients: Curry Hummus

1 15 oz can of Chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid

2 tbsp Minced Garlic

2 tsp Curry Powder

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Minced Ginger

1 tsp Ground Cayenne

Pinch of Salt

Olive Oil

Directions:

1) Place all ingredients, except the Olive Oil, and the bean liquid in a food processor. Begin the blend the ingredients, being sure to shake the processor a bit to get the ingredients down into the blade.

2) Slowly begin adding Olive Oil to the food processor and continuing blending and adding Olive Oil until you reach your desired consistency (I used about 2 tbsp – add more for a smoother consistency, less for a chunkier one).

3) Refrigerate and enjoy!

Yields approximately 16 oz of hummus.


Vinaigrette – An Olive Oil Haven

Vinaigrette

5006 Xerxes Ave South

Minneapolis, MN 55410

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm

After some plans fell through this past weekend, I found myself all dressed up (at the crack of dawn) with nowhere to go. On a whim we decided to go to the  Twin Cities to do some shopping and to grab some vegan pizza at Pizza Luce. Little did I know the gem that awaited me in Vinaigrette – full of things I never knew I needed.

Vinaigrette

One of the struggles many people have with becoming vegetarian or vegan is that they believe the food is bland or boring. One way to spice up vegetarian dishes is through spices and flavored oils, and Vinaigrette’s oils are nothing short of spectacular.

The store itself is nestled in a seemingly quite neighborhood in Minneapolis and if you weren’t looking for it you’d never even notice it was there. Luckily, my parents were with us and they had been to this gem once before. When we walked into the store we were greeted by a very friendly staff and rows of fresh balsamic vinegars and olive oils ready for tasting.

From Egyptian Olive Oil to 18 year Aged Balsamic Vinegar, this store has everything you need to spice up even the dullest of pasta dishes. All of the products are available to try and the employees are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the products. You can choose from three different sizes of bottles, all the way up to 750ml, and the prices are very reasonable. I went with a 147ml bottle of the Truffle EVOO and a 375ml bottle of Italian Herb EVOO and I only paid about $23 total.

So, long story short (I could go on all day about this amazing oasis), if you are in Minneapolis and want a delicious and easy way to liven up your next meal, check out Vinaigrette.