Table Thursday: Vegetable Bake Side Dish

Happy Thursday!  The week is almost over 🙂  For this week I didn’t really cook much so I wasn’t sure what I was going to post for my Table Thursday post but then I bought everything for a veggie bake and while I did post the recipe here I thought pictures and a more step by step recipe might be nicer.

This has got to be one of the easiest recipes I make.  There is no measuring, no real directions I have to follow, the hardest part is just chopping everything up (which I HATE).  Feel free to add other veggies, seasonings, change it up however you want, I don’t think you can mess this up! This is great for holidays, parties, etc where you need to bring a side dish and want something vegan and yummy for your non-vegan friends as well!

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Squash
Zuchinni
Potatoes
Kale
Mushrooms
Garlic
Garlic Salt
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
KaleMushroomsSquashZuchinni

Directions:
1.  Cut up all the veggies (blah!)
–>Side note I normally don’t microwave my potatoes but I read that that helps them cook at the same speed as the other veggies so I tried it today… I DO NOT recommend heating them it made them much harder to cut and they seem to cook just fine when you put them in uncooked.
2.  Preheat the oven to 425*F
3.  Cover your baking dish with foil (optional) and add olive oil to the bottom of it
4.  Place all veggies except kale into the baking dish and mix well
5.  Add a little more olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt and mix again
Seasoning
6. Place in oven and cook for 20 mins or so
7. Take out and assess the veggies, mix them and add kale and mix again
Added Kale
8.  Cook for another 20 minutes and mix again
9.  Continue this process until the veggies are cooked like you like them.  Check the potatoes because they take the longest.
Finished Meal
10. Don’t forget to have some kitchen helpers with you like I did 😉
Dog Helpers

Enjoy!!

Questions:
1.  What is your favorite summer vegetable?
2.  Do you have kitchen helpers like me?  Post a picture if you do 🙂

Advertisements

Table Thursday: Asian Quinoa Bowl (for one)

I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I really don’t want to take the time to cook.  Cooking for one is a pain and sometimes difficult because you never know how much you should cook and if you are like me you don’t want a ton of left overs.  When I cook quinoa I always have left overs, it’s like cooking rice or beans, you really can’t cook a tiny amount.  I don’t mind have left over quinoa because it is so versatile I can add it to so many meals.

I have been obsessed with rice noodles and this Asian sauce I found here on Gimme Some Oven’s blog.  I don’t add the sesame seeds or hot sauce because I don’t usually have those on hand and it’s still delicious. The sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make so it’s a perfect quick meal sauce.

This meal, like all my others is super easy to make.  I love easy meals because besides during the summer I just don’t have the time or energy to make big complex meals after being in school and studying.  This next year won’t be any different because I will be blocking/student teaching so I will have lesson plans and grading and studying to do!  The summer is a perfect time for me to experiment with different recipes and see which I can make cheaply and quickly.
I have been experimenting for awhile and I know which frozen veggies I like and which ones I need to eat fresh.  Frozen are so much cheaper and easier to make sure they don’t spoil than fresh but for some veggies I just won’t do it.  I know that I love Asian Stir-fry frozen veggies from Kroger (of course).  I try to keep a bag of these in the freezer because they are perfect for a fast meal.  Here they are cooking up for the recipe which I have not gotten to yet. I added the kale in because I had some I needed to use up before it went bad (one of my non frozen veggies) Don’t these delicious??

Cooking Veggies

I also try to keep tofu on hand since it is my main source of protein and super easy to make quick as well.  Plus, people think I’m crazy but tofu is one of my favorite foods!  So for this meal I cooked up some tofu to throw in the bowl with the quinoa and veggies. The liquid in the measuring cup is the sauce I mentioned from Gimme Some Oven (link back up top).

Ingredients tofu

So now for the recipe:

Ingredients:
tofu
quinoa
Asian sauce from Gimme Some Oven
olive oil for sauteing veggies and tofu
Frozen Asian stir-fry veggies

Steps:
1.  Cook quinoa according to package (unless you have left overs like me)
2.  Cook tofu however you like it best.
I like mine cut into blocks and tossed with olive oil and some seasoning then sauteed to a golden brown over medium/medium high heat
3.  Prepare sauce while tofu is cooking
4.  Remove tofu from skillet and add in stir-fry veggies
5.  Make the bowl! – I put in quinoa, then the veggies, then the tofu and topped with the sauce and mixed it up.

I’m still working on this whole taking more pictures thing… I keep telling myself to take more pictures yet when the time comes I forget but here is the finished project (before mixing) and a clip from the Bachelorette.

TV and food

Questions for you guys:
1.  Do you have a favorite sauce you like to add to your bowls?
2.  How do you like your tofu cooked?
3.  What are some things you look for when deciding what to cook?

Table Thursday: Breakfast Scramble

Well, I’m at the end of my two week pay period so I’m down to almost nothing in the house again.  I hate that I have to struggle like this but know that one day I won’t have to, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When I get to this point in the two week period I am scrounging for food to make.  This time I had PLENTY of kale and tofu but geez I am so tired of that, guess I need to buy more variety this next paycheck.  This morning after the gym I was starving and I really wanted something good to eat.  I started the usual open the fridge, close it, open the cupboard, close it, and repeat.  I found some old taco shells in my freezer (I put them there to keep them crispy — it works with tortilla chips).  They seemed ok and still kinda were crunchy…. I obviously was going to eat some tofu and kale lol  I had a tiny bit of squash left over, some vegan veggie patties, and salsa.  I decided I would make a Mexican tofu scramble.  It turned out pretty good except for my smashed taco shells that weren’t actually crunchy…. So here is the recipe just remember to use fresh taco shells 🙂

Ingredients:

Ingredients

*Simple Truth Meatless Breakfast Patties (I don’t recommend this brand, it is not horrible but I think there has to be a better tasting brand out there. Sorry to say that Simple Truth)

*Kale

*Olive Oil

*Squash (or any veggies)

*Salsa (Herdez is my favorite!)

*Tortilla Shells

*Garlic Salt

*Tofu (not pictured)

Directions:

Squash

  1.  Wrap tofu in towel to soak out excess liquid
  2.  Put olive oil in skillet and preheat
  3. Add squash and garlic salt
  4. Saute until almost finished and add in crumbled tofu
  5. Cook until tofu starts to brown (lightly)
  6. Add in kale and cook until wilted
  7. Remove scramble from skillet and add a little more olive oil
  8. Cook meatless patty according to package
  9. Crumble tortilla shells (or heck tortilla chips) and put scramble on top
  10. Add salsa on top and put meatless patty on the side
  11. Enjoy

Finished Project

Table Thursday: “Chicken” and Avocado Tacos

So I have decided to try out a weekly goal of two posts per week (we’ll see if I can manage that!) and making Thursday’s focus on food. Thursdays should be pretty easy to keep up with since it’s my day off and I usually tend to make better food on that day because I don’t have to rush to work. Today I made some yummy scrambled tofu with mushrooms, vegan breakfast patties (Kroger brand) and heated up some refried beans. That is NOT the recipe that I am sharing today though.

The other day I wasn’t feeling well but had to go to work and was hungry. Normally I am all about the spicy foods. I add cayenne pepper to everything and salsa is usually a must too, however, when my stomach hurts I want nothing to do with anything spicy! This day I wanted something super plain to eat, no veggies (they hurt my stomach sometimes if I have a stomachache already), no spicy foods, and something that was comforting but filling. I started searching through my food supplies and decided I wanted my vegan chicken strips (Kroger brand) and an avocado, plus add in some tortillas because hell I’m Mexican! This recipe was the easiest thing to throw together; I don’t even know if it can be called a recipe but I thought you all might like to have a quick dinner idea one day 🙂

AvocadoVegan Chicken

Ingredients:

Kroger brand (or Gardin) vegan crispy chicken strips

Avocado

Corn tortillas

Some kind of spray oil to keep the “chicken” from sticking to the foil while baking

 Steps:

Cook “chicken” according to the package

Cut avocado into strips

Heat tortillas on skillet right before the “chicken” is finished

Fill tortillas with sliced “chicken” and sliced avocado and EAT!

Super simple, takes about 20 minutes (mainly cooking time), and isn’t spicy for those who like more plain foods.

Oh, and the most impressive part it’s super cheap! I find that people don’t eat healthy because it’s “too expensive” but its not! Avocado was on sale, you can get a huge pack of corn tortillas for under about $2 and the Kroger brand “chicken” is a about $3ish. I am thinking about doing a series of posts about eating healthy on a budget because I hate the excuse “it’s too expensive” because I am a poor college student who can eat healthy without going broke! Anyways I hope you all enjoy the “recipe.” Sorry for the lack of pictures this time (oh and no after picture b/c I ate it too fast!)

Helping People Go Vegan One Post at a Time

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes.jpg

 

I can’t wait to start interacting with you guys my “blog friends” more now that the semester is over!!!!  I already have started a list of topics that I want to write about and I’m so excited to share them with you.  For this first “summer” post I am going to focus on being vegan.  I know a couple people who have mentioned they are interested in a vegan post with tips and helpful how-tos to get them started on experimenting with eating a vegan diet.  This all came about when a Dr. mentioned to my mom about eating a plant-based diet to help with some health issues (say what?!? a Dr. mentioned changing to a healthy diet instead of prescribing pills!?)  🙂  I was ecstatic when my mom called and told me about this because I loved being vegan and I try to do my best now but I struggle sometimes.
Where I live it is quite hard to be vegan. The grocery stores have very little options and don’t even think about going out to eat!  However, it is easier when I’m not in school because I can pre-make all my food; when I’m in school finding time to prep is extremely hard.  In San Diego being vegan was so simple, it took no extra thought at all (I miss that place!)  I was vegan for about 2 and a half years or so while out there.  Once I moved to the East Coast/the South it became much more difficult and I have been vegan off and on since.  I wanted to let you all know my background with being vegan so you didn’t think I was just making these tips and how-tos up.  I always like to know how much experience someone has with what they are writing about, it gives them credibility.  I am by no means a perfect, know it all vegan and if I write anything that isn’t correct PLEASE leave a comment and let me know!  If you want more information leave a comment and let me know that as well 🙂  Or if you just want to leave any kind of comment go for it!  Okay, now to the point of this post –> Helpful tips and how-tos on going/experimenting with going vegan:

*Some Main Necessities:
Tofu
Dried Beans (canned if you don’t have time to make them)
Veggies (frozen and fresh)
Milk (almond, hemp, coconut, etc)
Dried seasonings (any kind you like)
Garlic!!!!!

*Read food labels!!
I am not going to go through the long list of things that are animal based but I do recommend that you look it up.  When you first start the easiest way is to watch out for: milk, egg, whey, butter, animal anything, cream, the obvious things.  But as you continue to get more serious more research is needed because these companies like to disguise animal byproducts with crazy names.  Also, just because you think something isn’t made with milk or eggs doesn’t mean it’s not in the ingredients!!! I couldn’t believe how many things had milk that didn’t make sense.

*Benefits:
There are so many benefits to going vegan that again, I’m not going to list them all.  I also don’t believe in listing benefits I haven’t seen myself.  The biggest benefit I noticed (well ok I didn’t notice this but my Dr. brought it to my attention) is the fact that my cholesterol is the lowest he has ever seen.  My Dr. said that he never sees cholesterol as low as mine without medicine.  That made me really happy because cholesterol isn’t something I pay attention to but I know it’s important.  Also, when I first became vegan I lost a lot of weight, which was great because I was overweight and it made me feel so much better.  Now I don’t notice that it helps me with my weight loss but I know that is a benefit as well.  Being vegan also makes me feel better overall. I can’t completely explain it but when I am not vegan I feel weighed down and sluggish but when I eat (healthy) vegan I feel much lighter and more energized.  I think that the benefits all depend on your body and how you approach being vegan but I personally think it’s worth a try.

*Simple “Recipes” I Love:
Recipes is in quotations because they are not really step by step recipes but things I threw together and began to love and used as staples in my diet.

First, is Baked Veggies.  I always bring this as a side to any holiday feast so I know that there will be at least one thing I can eat and everyone always loves it.  What it is any veggies you like (I use zucchini, squash, peppers, kale or whatever I have that I need to use up!) , potatoes, olive oil, garlic, dried seasonings (oregano, basil, parsley), cayenne pepper, garlic salt.  While you are chopping and prepping the veggies heat the oven to about 400*F Toss it all in a casserole dish. Throw in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.  Stir and cook for another 20 minutes are so.  The time will depend on how you want your potatoes cooked.  If you are using kale you can add it in the beginning or at the end just depends on how you want your kale cooked as well.  I pair this with Boca Burger veggie patties or sauteed tofu or just black beans.  I also have been known to eat it by itself when it’s still hot, I don’t recommend that LOL

Next, is Kale & Chickpeas.  This is something I can eat almost every night and it’s super easy to make as well.  Buy a bundle of fresh kale and I usually use a can of chickpeas because this is usually a last minute meal so I don’t have beans prepared.  I warm a pan over medium heat with olive oil and add in garlic and sometimes onion.  Wait until the garlic is almost done cooking and throw in the chickpeas (drained) and the kale (washed and cut). Mix together and add cayenne pepper and garlic salt (my main two seasonings). Toss in pan until kale is wilted to your preference and chickpeas are warmed through.  Bam! Easy dinner and if you aren’t too tired or have left over cooked tofu you can throw that with it too.

A breakfast staple of mine is Scrambled Tofu.  I love eggs and when I’m not vegan I eat eggs almost every morning but I always feel awful for doing so (part of the reason I try to eat vegan most the time is because I get so sad eating animals).  Scrambled tofu takes the place of my eggs when I am vegan and tastes yummy and almost the same!  So for the “new to tofu people” when you use tofu you have to drain it and get all the water out of the block.  I try to use towels so I don’t waste paper and put something heavy (cans or coffee maker) on top of the block to push out the moisture, one day I hope to have a tofu press! When you make scrambled tofu I recommend only using 1/4th to 1/2 the block depending on how many people you are feeding (don’t forget to get a tupperware and put the rest of the tofu in water and back in the fridge!).  I press my tofu for less time because it doesn’t matter as much when making scrambled tofu.  You break up the block into crumbles and toss it into a heated pan (again over medium heat) and start to sautee.  I usually have already warmed up olive oil and garlic (surprise, surprise!).  You can add veggies if you like before you add the tofu or you can do it plain and add stuff afterwards.  Sometimes I throw the finished scrambled tofu into a gluten free tortilla with some refried beans (which are usually always canned).  The tofu is done before it starts to turn brown.

I hope that helps some of you guys out there! I know it is a very general post but I wanted it to be a starting point.  Like I said post comments if you like.  If you are interested in being vegan and want a post about something specific post a comment and I will do my best 🙂

For more recipes or ideas check out these other posts:
“Chicken” & Avocado TacosTacos
Fajitas

 

 

A Little Taste of Home – veganized!

IMG_2034 I have been super busy all week trying to do a ton of homework early and clean the house, which with messy roommates is a challenge.  My dad is coming into town tonight and he hasn’t seen my house or my college so I’m really looking forward to spending time with him and showing him around.  All the cleaning and organizing made me really hungry but I didn’t want to take the time to cook a time consuming meal.  Being a college student, even an untraditional one, you get home sick (a lot!).  I went to the store awhile back and saw some of those hard taco shells (the ones in the picture) and decided I wanted to make tacos like we used to growing up for a fast meal.  However, growing up we used turkey meat, real cheese, real sour cream, you know all the non vegan foods… Now that I am vegan I try to make old recipes vegan so that I still have “comfort” food.  This was one of the easiest meals to make vegan.  I started with the Simple Truth Meatless Crumbles and Trader Joe’s fajita veggies and sauteed them.  I mixed some Trader Joe’s Salsa and Tofutti Sour cream together to make a sauce.  While everything was cooking I opened up a can of refried beans and heated them up in the microwave.  The last thing to do was throw the taco shells into the oven for a few minutes and try to not forget that I had bought lettuce to go with this meal!  Oh and when you take out the taco shells DON’T USE YOUR HANDS like I did, they are really hot LOL  The whole meal was done in probably less than 10 minutes and I only have a few dishes to wash.  It was a perfect meal for a busy day because it even allowed me time to write this blog before I got back to working on my homework.

Making the Best of this Snow Day with Fajitas

Chicken FajitaSnow is covering the ground again!  It’s not just an inch, it’s a whole lot of inches!  As previously stated in a post I am not a cold weather girl so you can guess how much I love the snow… Honestly, the only plus was that I didn’t have to walk to my 9 am class and had all day to clean and do homework (ok those are only considered a “plus” because they had to get done).  As the day went on I started to crave Mexican food.  I absolutely love Mexican food.  Being from Southern California I know what good Mexican food is, also being half Mexican also doesn’t hurt 😉  In Virginia finding good Mexican food is hard but I happened to come upon a place just down the street that is delicious!  Tonight that is where I wanted to go, however, my car was covered with snow, the roads were covered with snow, and I doubted the restaurant was open because everything was covered with snow!  Here is now where I put my disclaimer: 99.9% OF MY FOOD POSTS WILL BE ABOUT VEGAN FOOD.  I figured I should mention that so if you are not into vegan food then you know you won’t care much for my food posts or maybe they will peak your interest…   Anyways, I decided I had to have Mexican for dinner because I was craving it so bad and I started to look through my pantry, fridge, and freezer. I found enough to make do: Simple Truth “chicken” from Kroger (if you don’t have a Kroger by you I am so sorry, it’s a wonderful grocery store), frozen grilled fajita veggies from Trader Joe’s (if you are like me and have to drive an hour and a half to get to one of these I feel for you), and one lonely gluten free wrap.  This was the easiest meal to whip up and took less than 10 minutes to cook.  It definitely cured my craving for Mexican, for now, and was much healthier than going to a restaurant.  At Mexican restaurants I eat about a thousand chips, I don’t know about you but I would hate to actually count how many chips I eat when I go out.  The snow saved me a lot of empty calories and money today so I guess I can’t hate on it too much, until tomorrow when I have an 8 am and no delay as of yet from school.