Archive for ‘Vegetarian’

December 11, 2015

Holiday Detox Series: Baked Avocado Egg Baskets

by ashley

  Trying to keep your diet in check during the holidays? Want to impress guests with a healthy, delicious and fun vegetarian breakfast alternative? This recipe is ridiculously easy, yet the results will amaze guests who’ve never had avocado egg baskets before.

Avocados are one of nature’s superfoods, full of vitamins and antioxidants it is a perfect detox food. My approach to detoxing is relatively simple, instead of worrying about juicing or expensive supplements, instead fill your detox diet with real foods that are low calorie and nutrient dense. Forgo anything processed or with refined sugars. Of course, the point of the Holiday detox is to work these foods in around your holiday celebrations. Plan your cheat meals wisely, keep the “cheating” to a minimum, but enjoy yourself. You only live once!

Baked Avocado Egg Baskets

Serves 2

One hass avocado

Two eggs

1 tbsp coconut oil

Optional: caramelized onions, chives, basil, fresh pico de gallo, etc. for topping once out of the oven

Preheat oven to 400F.

I like to use a muffin tin to bake the avocados as it keeps them in place better. Use the coconut oil to grease two openings in the muffin tin to prevent any egg white spillage from sticking to your pan.

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Use a spoon to create a slightly bigger hole in each avocado half to allow an egg to sit in the hole. (I like to eat the extra at this point! You can also reserve for another recipe later in the day, just remember to squeeze some lime or lemon on it to keep it from browning.)

Place the halves onto the muffin tin, skin side down, resting in one of the openings you greased with coconut oil. Carefully crack one egg into each avocado half, trying to avoid spilling the egg white.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the egg white is set but the yolk is still soft.

After removing from the oven, this is where I like to get creative. Work with your own tastes and whatever you have on hand at the time. Top with chopped fresh basil or chives. Add some caramelized onions. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh tomatoes, pico de gallo or salsa. There are so many things that pair nicely with this!

***If you are allergic to latex, talk to your doctor before adding avocado to your diet. People with a serious latex allergy may experience symptoms after eating avocado.

 

November 16, 2015

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Spinach Tagliatelle with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

by ashley
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Photo by: Paolo Margari

Before we start cooking, let’s first imagine we are gliding down a canal in Bologna, Italy in spring with beautiful flowers gracing the balconies and friendly Italians waving as we pass. Somewhere off in the distance a man with a deep baritone voice is singing as he kneads dough to make delicious spinach tagliatelle pasta. We stop at a market to pick up the freshest, most vibrant cherry tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, some robust balsamic vinegar and a basil pesto sauce made fresh that morning by the world’s most adorable grandmother. Of course we can dream up the best ingredients possible, but we all know that I’m stuck in a city apartment the size of a closet and cooking with the best I can find in my local market. I was able to find some amazing fresh spinach tagliatelle, you can substitute dried if you don’t have this luxury. And I purchased a jar of great basil pesto as well as a jar of fire roasted red peppers, both of which should be easy enough to find in most supermarkets. I already had a great Modena balsamic vinegar at home and some cherry tomatoes that needed to be used – and voila, the quickest gourmet weeknight dinner ever.

If you have 15 minutes, you have enough time to put this on your table tonight. The below recipe yields enough for a quick dinner for one or two, but can easily be adapted into dinner for a family of any size.

Spinach Tagliatelle with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

Serves two

Ingredients

  • 4 oz spinach tagliatelle pasta (fresh, if available)
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto (typically found in your grocer’s sauce aisle)
  • 1 whole fire roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar

Boil water in a medium sized pot and cook the spinach tagliatelle until al dente, time will vary depending on whether you purchase fresh or dried pasta. In a separate pan on medium-high heat, sauté the halved cherry tomatoes, the minced garlic, and roasted red pepper strips until heated through and slightly browning. Add the basil pesto and the balsamic vinegar to the pan and turn off the heat, stirring constantly until heated through and well incorporated. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta.

  

 

August 11, 2014

A Vegetarian Review of Blue Apron Meal Delivery

by ashley

Blue Apron is letting our first 50 readers get 30% off their first Blue Apron order – visit https://www.blueapron.com/vegontherun for all the details!

With so Blue Apron Upcoming Menu View Onlinemany meal delivery services on the market today, it’s been hard to sift through them all to see which are really worth the price. It’s true, $60 for three meals for two isn’t cheap, but if you calculate it in comparison with ordering take out on busy evenings, this becomes much cheaper. Blue Apron is the first meal delivery service I’ve tried where you cook your own meals. I like the idea since I do love to cook, yet still giving me three nights off from meal planning. All of the meals are listed as two portions unless you purchase a larger package, however I’ve found that some of the meals do give me enough to feed three. Blue Apron will hold your credit card information on file and you choose which weeks you would like to receive the delivery. You enter into the site, go to the Delivery Schedule section and can choose to skip one or all of the upcoming deliveries. You have until one week prior to finalize your selections. This gives you enough time to review the upcoming menu and decide if you’d like it to be delivered. I’ve been a member of Blue Apron for a few months before I took the leap, as I just wasn’t sure if I’d like the concept. They did not ever charge me anything for any of my skipped weeks.Skip Meals on Blue Apron

There are not many ways that you can customize the menu, you choose if you are vegetarian (at this time there is no vegan option) or if you eat meat, pork or seafood. However you can review the menu before ordering for that week, so you are able to skip that delivery if there are ingredients you do not like or have allergies to. Jessica and I shared this delivery, she prepared the Summer Saute, while I prepared the Potato Rosti and the Quinoa Tabbouleh & Fairy Tale Eggplants. All the ingredients were easy to split between us, so this is an option to split with a friend or family member. The box arrives via courier with ice packs to maintain freshness. You will need to refrigerate the ingredients as soon as possible, but it does stay fresh for a few hours after delivery.

Blue Apron IngredientsAll of the ingredients will be labeled with what they are (i.e. carrot, eggplant, basil, spice mix) and some will be inside paper bags with the recipe label (i.e. summer saute). You will also receive three recipe cards that have pictures and legible, easy to follow, step-by-step directions on how to prepare each meal. You simply read the card, choose the ingredients needed for that recipe and follow the detailed instructions. The two meals I prepared, the Potato Rosti and the Quinoa Tabbouleh & Fairy Tale Eggplants, took less than 45 minutes each to prepare, and that was with photos and notes in between to make this review. I can easily say that each could take only 20-30 minutes from start to finish if I hadn’t stopped in between.

Blue Apron IngredientsThis is a great option on hectic nights, as usually it takes just as long to decide on a restaurant, order and pick up a take-out meal. The meals were very healthy, delicious and even my meat loving fiancé loved them, he especially liked the Potato Rosti. The Quinoa Tabbouleh & Fairy Tale Eggplants was only enough for two servings, however the Potato Rosti would have been enough for three to have a nice meal. Overall I think this is a great option for those hectic weeks where I know I’ll be tempted to order take-out or delivery. I loved that the ingredients are fresh, whole ingredients, which is a much healthier alternative to many hectic mid-week meals as well. With each meal averaging about 500 calories, I could definitely see this as an accompaniment to a weight loss plan. Thanks Blue Apron for letting us try out your service and I look forward to ordering again in the future!

Blue Apron Quinoa Eggplant Vegetarian

Blue Apron Potato Rosti Vegetarian

July 16, 2014

Bennachin Restaurant, a taste of Africa in New Orleans

by ashley
Akara - Black Eyed Pea Fritters

Akara – Black Eyed Pea Fritters

I’ve been so busy these last six months and it was left up to Jessica to keep up the blog (she did a great job, thanks Jess!!). Finally I am back in town and ready to share all of my experiences with our readers. Since I last posted I’ve been to Orlando, Denver, New Orleans, Lisbon (Portugal), Vaduz (Liechtenstein), Munich (Germany), Baden Baden (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), Chur (Switzerland), Fussen (Germany), Frankfurt (Germany), Strasbourg (France) and several other cities in Europe that would make this list way too long. I won’t have updates from all of these places individually, but I plan to post as much information as I can on vegetarian eating in these regions.

A while ago I posted some pictures on the Facebook page (if you don’t follow us on Facebook, please click here!) of a meal I had in New Orleans that was amazing. Away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy side of Bourbon street lies Bennachin Restaurant, an African restaurant with amazing food and prices. If you are looking for a unique experience while visiting New Orleans, you should definitely give them a visit. I have been wanting to try Ethiopian food, but could never find an African restaurant from any country in South Florida. Bennachin focuses on cuisine from Gambia and Cameroon, catering heavily to vegan and vegetarian diners as well as meat eaters.

Kone ni Makondo - Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains

Kone ni Makondo – Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains

The interior has an intimate, homey and inviting atmosphere that put us at ease immediately. The staff were so friendly and all of the guests were also helpful when it came time to order. The menu was foreign to us, but we asked guests around us what they were eating and chose items that looked good. I ordered Akara (black-eyed pea fritters, $4.50 VEGAN), Kone ni Makondo (Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains, $13.95 VEGAN) and Makondo Yogurt (fried plantains with yogurt sauce, $5.00 VEG/DAIRY). The portion sizes are enormous here and I really didn’t need any appetizer or dessert, but I was so intrigued by everything I wanted to try as much as I could. Unfortunately we only learned of their famous Jama-Jama (sautéed spinach, $4.50 VEGAN) after ordering, which is a hit at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. When I am in New Orleans again, I will definitely go back and order it.

Makondo Yogurt - fried plantains with yogurt sauce

Makondo Yogurt – fried plantains with yogurt sauce

The restaurant has been a staple of New Orleans since 1992 yet many tourists don’t get to experience it, even though it is well within walking distance of the tourist area. Located at 1212 Royal Street, it is only one block off of Bourbon Street and less than a mile from Canal Street. Their full menu and more information about the restaurant can be found on their website at http://www.bennachinrestaurant.com/.

July 16, 2014

The Wonders of Ghee and Ladoo/Laddu

by ashley

Ghee and Ladoo/Laddu Ghee is traditionally used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Sri Lankan cuisine, however versions of it are used throughout the world. It is very similar to clarified butter and made almost in the same way, just cooked a bit longer until the milk solids are browned. While not vegan, the process of making Ghee removes all of the milk solids, so it is a safe alternative to those with milk/lactose allergies. The flavor of your Ghee will depend greatly on the quality of the butter you start with. The best Ghee will come from grass fed cows, best if you can find fresh butter from a local farmer. If you are not near a farming community and live in the United States or Canada, Kerrygold butter is also a great alternative. Make sure you buy the full fat, traditional Kerrygold if you choose that route.

I am most familiar with the traditional uses of Ghee in Indian cooking, which they use to cook rice, dosas, curries and many other popular items. Ghee is also frequently served on the side for dipping in Indian cuisine. Naan, one of my favorite breads in the world, is usually brushed with Ghee while cooking to give it that sweet, buttery flavor.  

Ghee can be used to cook almost anything requiring the use of butter or oil, and when prepared with high quality butter it will contain no trans fats. So while Ghee is 100% fat, many doctors agree it is much healthier than many oils. Trans fats have been shown in laboratory testing to raise the risk of heart disease. Be careful if you choose to purchase pre-made Ghee instead of making your own, as there are many companies that market as “pure Ghee” when in fact they use vegetable oils containing trans fats. When made properly, Ghee is aromatic and nutty, with a hint of sweetness that lends itself to a variety of dishes and cuisines.

 

Making Ghee at Home

What you’ll need:

1lb high quality, full fat, unsalted butter

Large pot

Wooden spoon
Double mesh strainer

Cheesecloth

Large mixing bowl with lip for pouring

Jars for storage (I use mason jars)

 

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter foams and starts to boil. Lower heat to medium low and let simmer, do not stir in this phase. Allow the butter to continue to simmer until the foam disappears and the butter starts to clear. While waiting, place your double mesh strainer over the mixing bowl with the cheesecloth laid over the strainer. You will see the milk solids begin to form, stir gently a few times just to let the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pot.  Keep simmering, stirring occasionally so the milk solids don’t stick. Your Ghee will be finished cooking once the milk solids are a medium golden brown and the butter is finished foaming. Immediately pour the Ghee over the cheesecloth to strain out the milk solids. Some may choose to discard these, others can follow my short recipe below for a delicious treat to make with these. Pour into glass jars for storage. Your Ghee should be a lovely clear gold color, which will solidify as it cools. It is now ready for use!

 

Ladoo (Laddu) – Tasty treats made from leftover milk solids

Ladoo/Laddu

If you do not have a dairy allergy, there is no reason to discard the delicious milk solids that are left over from your homemade Ghee. They are very simple to make and are a great way to enjoy the fruits of your Ghee labor right away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

Leftover milk solids from making Ghee (recipe above)

½ cup wheat flour

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp Ghee

3 tbsp halved raw, unsalted cashews (optional)

Parchment paper

 

Combine the milk solids, sugar and wheat flour in the same pan you just made Ghee, mix well to fully incorporate and heat over medium low until golden brown. In separate pan, lightly fry the cashews in two tablespoons of Ghee. Add cashews to the wheat mixture and incorporate by hand, adding the remaining tablespoon of Ghee if mixture is not wet enough. Begin hand forming small balls in your hands and set out on parchment. These can be eaten immediately or cooled and eaten at room temperature. Either way, they are delicious!

 

June 20, 2014

A Cosmo In Your Freezer (and other delicious combinations), Pop Lab Brings It!

by jem614

 

On Thursdays, at Whole Foods, there is a great little Farmer’s Market happening in Pembroke Pines.  We found homemade nut butters, soaps, vegan Jamaican food, pie in a jar (amazing), gluten free nut free sugar free desserts and much much more.

I also found this great “Pop Lab” ice pop bar.  Delicious, all natural and they do parties!  This pop was literally coconut milk and a chai latte- kind of spicy and creamy at the same time.  It was refreshing and the Chai latte was an interesting twist to your regular, boring ice pop flavors.  They do have milk and non-dairy options available and you can have them shipped.  They also have some pretty delicious combinations like banana milkshake and dulce de leche for those of you that just have to have some dairy.

But these guys don’t stop there, no!  They are the THE people to go to when you want to throw a party, if you know what I mean.  They have Sangria, Cosmos, Watermelon Mojito, even a Bloody Mary popsicle.   So, sit back, relax by the pool and let them bring the party to you in the form of a delicious, ice-cold popsicle.

For more information, go to www.poplabusa.com.

April 7, 2014

Plated, In The Mail!

by jem614

Hey, it’s Jess again.  It’s been a long weekend, the cookie is getting so big and he’s talking up a storm.  I seriously think that he’s an alien sometimes because I can’t understand what he’s saying but he is definitely communicating something.  If ever there is an alien invasion, just give us a call and we’ll do some peace talks!

Anyway, with so much time spent with him and the hubs, I long for easy to cook meals that I don’t have to think about the ingredients.  This past week I found this deal on Facebook for Plated, a company that sends you all the ingredients and great recipes in the mail.  Doing all the hard work so you don’t have to.  The promotion was $20 for four meals the first time you order (I don’t believe it’s available anymore but please ask!), otherwise it’s $12.99/meal with $20 delivery fee (four meals).

I received an email on Friday with my FedEx info and waited around early Saturday afternoon for the delivery.  It came in this large box packed with two huge ice packs and foil cooler lining.
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I couldn’t help it, I was so excited about trying something new and different.  I ordered the “shakshuka” for myself and  a chicken dish for my  hubs (he loved the chicken but not the soba noodles).

Ashley has made the dish before and written about it here and because she liked it, I wanted to try it for myself.  There are other vegetarian options as well.

Every single ingredient, except the eggs, were packed (maybe because they could break too easily?) and mailed.  The box comes with a nice recipe on a 8×10 card stock page.  It’s laid out step-by-step and tells you exactly how to do everything.  Ingredients are labeled and sauces and spices come in little packets, these people could make a chef out of a chimp, honestly.

I’m completely in love with this concept and think it would be great for people that are on a diet- the recipes are fresh and healthy and it’s perfectly portioned.

My shakshuka was cooking beautifully in the oven on broil and then the worst thing happened.  My husband asked me to watch a youtube video of something funny and I forgot all about my little cookspiration!  It toasted a bit too long, if only they had included a timer in their box!

 

ShakshukaIt wasn’t completely ruined but it certainly didn’t look as pretty.  Plus the eggs were supposed to be lightly cooked instead of completely dry and hard.  It was still delicious and so much fun to make without having to worry if I got the ingredients right.  I will definitely keep the three free months of plated service I have been signed up for and possibly order another meal or two at home.  Just note that you are also required to pay a $10/month fee for membership.  You are not required to do the auto delivery but it is available for convenience.  It’s definitely not a cheap service and you could probably eat out for less but it’s fun and convenient.  Plus you can impress your friends with an incredible meal that you can say you cooked!

 

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Such a great concept and the recipes are amazingly simple and delicious.  Thank you Plated for making a chef out of me!

For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/theplated or their website, https://www.plated.com/invites/1d455f

 

 

September 19, 2013

Lyfe Kitchen Vegan Whole Grain Pilaf with Sweet & Zesty Vegetable Peperonata

by ashley

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain PilafUpdate 11 Feb 2014: We have had many users point out that this has honey, which most vegans do not eat honey as it is an animal product. I have written a note to Lyfe Kitchen to inform them. Thank you very much to all of our readers who pointed this out! Sorry that it slipped past me!

I had so much energy after eating Lyfe Kitchen’s Whole Grain Pilaf, I had trouble calming down to write a post about it. What drew my eye to this in the freezer section was that it had kale. I’ve never seen a frozen meal with kale, which I love adding to as many of my dishes as possible, so I knew I had to try it. Pilaf of any kind rarely sounds interesting to me, but with the addition of kale, quinoa, red wheat berries, artichokes, zucchini, toasted almonds and many other wholesome ingredients, this is one pilaf I could get excited about. The fact that it has no animal products, making it completely vegan, is another great selling point.

Heating this dish up is not as easy as other frozen meals, but it is worth the effort. I believe they did this to preserve the flavor, as well as ensuring their packaging is as eco-friendly as possible. I have taken step-by-step photos of the process, but the instructions are also clearly marked on the package. You will need a microwave safe plate in order to make this.

Remove the package from the box, place on a microwave safe plate with the seam facing up (so it can release steam while cooking). Cook for 4 ½ minutes. Let stand for 1 minute.

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

It will look like this once it’s finished cooking.

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

Use scissors to cut along the dotted line. I thought my mini hula girl scissors would make the photo a bit more festive.

 Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

Carefully slide the entrée onto your plate and enjoy!

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

The lime juice concentrate was slightly overpowering at first, but the more I ate, the more I liked the dish. There are A LOT of ingredients in this dish and it definitely has a lot of flavor, but almost all ingredients are unprocessed foods, with “natural flavor”, potassium chloride and calcium chloride popping out as the only “processed” ingredients that I could see.

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

Lyfe Kitchen Whole Grain Pilaf

I haven’t seen any other Lyfe Kitchen entrées in my grocery store, but I will keep an eye out for more. I was most impressed by the huge jolt of energy I got after eating this. Perhaps it was coincidence or maybe the whole grains? Let me know what you think of the dish!

September 17, 2013

Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese: Yes, this comes from a freezer!

by ashley

Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & CheeseI have a love affair with mac & cheese – it’s embarrassing sometimes. I love all types, but truffle mac & cheese actually was never that enticing to me. I’ve found the cheaper truffle oils to be overpowering and just masking the natural saltiness of a good cheese. Therefore I was even more hesitant to try a frozen meal of truffle mac & cheese. I have been a fan of Evol for a while, so I thought I would at least give it a try. While it is made with wholesome ingredients, this is in no way a light meal. Of course, anyone expecting mac & cheese to be a light meal is a bit crazy. With 480 calories and 25 grams of fat, this is a hefty meal that still needs a salad on the side to be fully satisfying for me. This pairs amazingly with a spinach salad, at least.

If you are unfamiliar with Evol, they are a relatively new brand focusing on wholesome ingredients, compostable bowls and recyclable packaging. They use foods with no rBST hormones and even have gluten free options, although most of those do include meat. They have several vegetarian options that do include gluten, including many different lunch and breakfast burritos, a few different pastas and bean enchiladas. You can check out the full listing here: http://evolfoods.com/products/

The truffle mac & cheese is one of the newer offerings, and I’m quite excited about it. As soon as I opened the microwave, I knew it was going to taste good. A strong aroma of sharp parmesan cheese first wafted out, then the savory smell of black truffles. Cracking the panko breadcrumb crust makes a satisfying crunch, with the creaminess of the cheese and pasta underneath. There are so many flavor layers, it’s amazing they were able to preserve the dish so well in frozen form.

I am truly impressed with this meal – it bodes well for the future of the Evol brand. Here’s hoping for even more delicious vegetarian options!

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August 27, 2013

2013 Miami Spice Vegetarian Guide: The Beaches

by ashley

miami spice

 

It’s that time of the year again! Miami Spice offers three course tasting menus to some of the hottest restaurants in South Florida. There are two categories: Fine Dining and Luxury Dining. Fine dining is $19 for lunch and $33 for dinner. Luxury dining is $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner. We have scoured the menus and created this list of restaurants that offer vegetarian options for their Spice menus. This is a huge improvement from prior years, where only one or two restaurants offered vegetarian options. They are listening to us!

 

See our listing of vegetarian and vegan Miami Spice options for 2013 here

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