Wednesday, February 22, 2012

lazy bones jambalaya

Even though Fat Tuesday has passed, and Lent has begun, I think I still have that Mardi Gras fever! I looked high and low for a quick, simple, jambalaya recipe to celebrate the season, but I couldn't find anything just right. Luckily, one of my best friends attended Tulane University and happens to be a Mardi Gras expert, so I asked her for her go-to, quick, and easy jambalaya recipe, which happens to be seriously delicious and seriously lazy :)

• Step 1: Prepare a box of Zatarain's Low-Sodium Jambalaya Mix according to directions
• Step 2: Separately cook up some meat-free sausage, and any veggies of your choosing.
• Step 3: Mix together your prepared rice, faux meat, and vegetables, and serve it up. DONE!
I know, I know, a blog post on a box of rice? But yes, of course! Sometimes meals don't have to be complicated. Granted, any meal is going to taste better when it's made from scratch, but sometimes you just don't have the time, ingredients, or the energy after a long day at work. So make do with what you have! Take that boring old box of rice and spice it up with all kinds of meat substitutes, spices, and vegetables of your choosing! Hey, you never know- that boring old box mix may just surprise you with a tasty treat :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

neat market & the vegan van

Happy Monday everyone! I know it's only been 24 hours since Sunday, but I've been dying to tell you all about the Neat Market I attended this weekend, hosted by Plants and Animals Denver :)

Plants and Animals Denver is a vegan advocacy group looking to improve the lives of animals, unite local vegans, and make Denver more vegan-aware. Each month they're hosting an event called the Neat Market, where all kinds of vendors come together to sell their vegan wares. Julie and I made our first ever appearance there yesterday, and let me tell you, it totally blew our minds! Watercourse Bakery and the Denver Seitan Company were both there, along with all kinds of coffees, wines, fake-meats, accessories, cookbooks, sweets, and the best kale chips EVER. Oh, and did I mention the best part? It was all vegan! Yayy!!

After Julie and I dug into some Monster Kale Chips and Tofurky jerky, we had to top off the afternoon with lunch at the Vegan Van, which was parked just outside the Neat Market.
While I've dined at many food trucks, this was my first time at the Vegan Van, and it was outstanding. The menu boasts all kinds of tofuffalo, corned befe, coconut bacon, and walnut parm, but I decided to dig into the "Freak Out" sandwich- veggie-ball, marinara, and avocado spread on a roll, with a side of chips to boot.
Woah. Them veggie balls look damn good, am I right? I am right! The sub was ridiculously delicious, the kale chips are already mostly gone, and the market was absolutely phenomenal. I can't tell you how exciting it is to discover such a badass group of vegans in Denver. This may have been my first Neat Market, but it most certainly will not be my last! ♥

Sunday, February 12, 2012

eggplant ragout

You know what I love? Produce sales at the grocery store. Eggplants were $1 each last week, so, of course, I had to buy a couple of them, and this is the scrumptious ragout I made with those beautiful aubergines.

Stuff you need: 1. Onion 2. Garlic 3. Olive Oil 4. Eggplant 5. 1 can Diced Tomatoes

Begin by heating a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, chop up all your ingredients, and open up the can of diced tomatoes. When the pan is hot, place your onion and garlic in a dollop of olive oil, and cook everything for a couple of minutes.

Next, throw your chopped eggplant into the pan, and cook covered for 5-10 minutes. When the eggplant is beginning to get soft and turn light brown, add in the can of diced tomatoes, and cook for another 10ish minutes.

When the eggplant is to your desired tenderness, season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and anything else that floats your boat. Serve hot over a bed of quinoa or whole wheat noodles, and save the rest for your lunches this week!
I served my first portion over quinoa with some black beans for protein. For lunch the next day, I put the ragout into a whole wheat pita with some spinach and vegenaise, and finally, the following night, I bought a whole wheat pizza crust, and topped it with marinara, vegan cheese, and the same eggplant ragout. Each and every meal- so good!

It was a fun, easy way to use eggplant, and I love how versatile it turned out to be! The chewy eggplant and chunky tomatoes, make this dish really hearty, and the Italian seasonings give it a homey feel. It was super tasty the first night, and the flavors just kept getting better the longer I left it in the fridge. 1 recipe- 3 great meals. I can't wait 'til eggplant goes on sale again! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

saucy tempeh curry

For some reason, this week is moving ridiculously slow for me, *groan* After a very long Thursday, I was definitely needing something hot, flavorful, and easy to assemble. I've had a block of tempeh sitting in my fridge for a week now, so I was super it excited to find this recipe for Saucy Tempeh Curry over at Sketch-free Vegan Eating.
This recipe was great- it was exactly what I wanted tonight. All the spices really came together to make a bold, flavorful dish, and I love how easy it was to make. Brown tempeh, blend spices, combine, and devour. That's it! I think the sauce needed just a little bit more water to make it thinner, but otherwise, it was spot on. It may have been a dull Thursday, but at least the dinner was excellent :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

superbowl snacks

Even though I hate football, I always get excited for the Super Bowl, because it means I get to hang out in my sweatpants with my friends eating fatty snack foods all day. The commercials are usually pretty clever, but let's be honest, the Super Bowl is all about food, and today, our snack table is pretty impressive.
We have veggies, cookies, chips, hummus, Rachel Ray's 7 Layer Dip, wings for the carnivores, and my personal favorite, fried pickles! This is the second year for Super Bowl fried pickles, and I think it's my favorite new tradition. We made the recipe up as we went, and they turned out even better than last years.

Stuff you need
1. Pickle chips 2. Flour 3. Rice Milk 4. Bread Crumbs 5. Canola Oil

Start by heating up about an inch of oil in a wok of skillet. While the oil is getting nice and hot, pour the flour, breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup rice milk into 3 separate dishes.

Now that you're all set up, you can start breading the pickles. First coat the pickle chip in flour, then dunk it into the rice milk, and then finally roll it around in the breadcrumbs. When the oil is hot and your pickles are prepped, toss them in the skillet and fry them up until they're golden brown.

Let them cool off just a bit on a stack of paper towels, and when you can't wait any longer, serve 'em up! They're great with ranch, but still delicious on their own as well. Drooooool.
So far, these are definitely THE BEST fried pickles we've ever made. Now if you'll excuse me, I have more binge eating to do before my diet starts again tomorrow. Ha :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

bulk up them pancakes

It is a very rare thing for me to eat pancakes 2 days in a row, but then again, I suppose it's also rare to get 18 inches of snow, even in Denver. With the snow laying thick around my parents' house, today became a perfectly lazy Saturday- sleeping in late, wearing pajamas until noon, reading magazines on the couch, and of course, a gobbling up a hearty, delicious brunch. Today Mom made her favorite pancakes, and while I don't normally eat many pancakes, I think these could make me convert.

She basically uses her favorite waffle/pancake mix, and then adds in all kinds of goodies to make it healthier, and heartier. Served with a little fruit, these suckers are crazy good.
Mom's favorite mix is Arrowhead Mills' Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix, and to bulk them pancakes up a bit, she adds:
• 1 Tablespoon flax seed meal
• a small handful of chopped pecans
• 1/2 a banana in bite-sized bits
• and a little water, so it's not too chunky

Mom and Pop put butter and syrup on theirs, but I liked my stack with nothing but fresh blueberries. YUM! I love that just a few simple additions can turn a plain old pancake, into fruit-filled, fiber-packed, protein-carrying pancake of amazingness.

What do you like to put in your batter? How do you spice up your pancakes? :)

Friday, February 3, 2012


Happy snow day everyone! If you braved the snowpocalypse, and made it to work, congrats! I hope you're traveling safe and keeping warm. I'm excited to say that today is my first ever "working from home day" and I'm celebrating with a big pile of whole wheat pancakes topped with sliced bananas.
If you're bogged down in snow like a lot of us Coloradoans, how are you celebrating your day inside? Checking emails? Watching movies? Maybe finishing a crafty project?

I'm pleased to say I'm being quite productive, all from the comfort of my cozy bedroom and my sweatpants. Today is such a treat :)