Posts tagged ‘Cooking’

March 5, 2013

The Mommy Files- Mashed Sweet Potatoes as a First Meal

by jem614

Our little chunker is growing up and it’s time to start introducing solids.  We were going to wait until the baby turned 6 months (in three and a half weeks) before we started him but he’s been eating like a horse and we have decided it’s time.  Our daycare ladies are also pushing us to start soon as they see he’s asking for more and more to eat.  I have been putting them off for a couple weeks but since he’s constantly watching what we eat at home and trying to put it in his mouth, we’re going to try.

SPLast night I baked an organic sweet potato and mashed it up in our little Bébé blender.  It was bittersweet knowing that his days of “true” infancy are behind him and he’s becoming a big boy eating big people’s food.  I’m also secretly excited to watch how he reacts to every new taste he takes.  And… Bonus!  A baked sweet potato when blended was probably enough for an entire week of meals.

His reaction to sweet potatoes was mixed and I wish at these times his dad and I had decided it was ok to put his pictures online because the faces were hilarious- he kept wanting to put more in his mouth but looked like he was disgusted with it.  He only got a tiny little taste last night so tonight will be the real test!

If you’re a mom or dad, what were the first foods that you gave your child?  Did you feel pressured to feed them certain foods or start at a certain time?  Did you go organic?  If your family is a mixture of vegetarian/omnivore, will you introduce meats?

 

Advertisements
February 8, 2012

Nuture the Heart this Valentine’s Day with Heart-Healthy Vegan Concoctions – Share your Favorite and You Could be Featured on the Site!

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Love can mean many things: companionship, affection, kindness, compassion, adoration. The ultimate sign of affection is showing an interest in the wellbeing of your spouse, parent, child or friend. Show your love this Valentine’s Day without  fancy gifts or expensive chocolates, make something special that will warm their hearts and feed them right. Indulge your loved ones with a fantastic meal straight from your heart, but sans the cholesterol and fat that makes up the omnivorous diet. This is a great time to let your culinary skills shine while making something that really stands out – you might even convince a few to start eating vegan more often!

 

Today through Valentine’s Day I will be sharing some awesome vegan recipes, making a few for you step-by-step, that you can wow your guests with. Whether it’s an intimate meal for two or a celebratory occasion with the whole family, you can make Valentine’s Day more than just another day for splurging on expensive gifts. Truly show you care for their hearts with a meal that will unclog those arteries and fill their tummies with healthy fiber.

 

I’d also love to hear your Valentine’s Day plans – will you be cooking something vegan for your family? Would you like to share your recipes and/or photos? We’d love to feature some of your best concoctions!

October 21, 2011

A Very Special Vegan Friday: “Spork-Fed” Vegan Cookbook

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

While it can be fun to veganize your own recipes, sometimes you just need something that is guaranteed to work properly and come out gorgeous for friends and family. A great vegan cookbook, such as Spork-Fed, is exactly what you need to whip up something yummy quickly. Another dynamic female duo, sisters Jenny and Heather Goldberg, are behind this great vegan cookbook, which hit stores October 1st. Jenny and Heather are experts in the field, giving vegan cooking classes out of their Beverly Hills studio, founding  the website sporkonline.com (for online vegan cooking demonstrations) and helping with healthy eating makeovers across the country. The debut of their very own cookbook is putting them in the spotlight for contemporary vegan cuisine.

Spork Foods was kind enough to reach out to us with a few sample recipes, which look fantastic (especially one, an apple pie milkshake!). I decided to try their Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast, since it sounded so decadent. I especially loved the description, “You can make this extraordinary brunch dish in 10 minutes flat, even if you had a few too many drinkies the night before!” I certainly had a few too many drinks the night before I made this, so it was a match made in heaven. Due to the claim that this could be made in 10 minutes, I decided to time myself. Maybe I’m a little slow, but it took about 45 minutes to complete. If you prep the night before, you may be able to whip these up much faster. While through the process I was a little worried about the concoction, in the end it was a brunch item worthy of any breakfast table. It is incredibly impressive to set on the table, your friends will think you’ve been away at pastry school once you’ve set the finished dish in front of them.

For more information on this great cookbook, watch their trailer below:

“Finally, Jenny and Heather have decided to write a cookbook! For years now, they have been making…and teaching people how to make…delicious, healthy food that just happens to be vegan. Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike will fall in love with these fabulous sisters and their amazing food. We encourage everyone to pick up this book and take the Spork adventure.”

– Emily Deschanel (star of the TV series ‘Bones’) and Zooey Deschanel (film and TV actress)

Spork-Fed:  Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods

On Sale Now

http://www.sporkfoods.com/

http://www.sporkonline.com/

August 12, 2011

Vegan Friday: “Bacon” Molasses Sweet Potato Muffins

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

There is a bakery here in South Florida that makes these bacon maple cupcakes that have addicted so many that they call in advance to order, just in case they run out (they usually do, my fiance is forever upset that he can’t get them). I believe it’s the combination of sweet, salty and umami that really makes a dish like this stand out, so I endeavored to make a vegan version of this phenomenon. Now, with that stated, these flavors are extremely unique and may not be for everyone, but if you’re craving the taste of an omnivore breakfast, these little muffins have the whole plate in one bite, sans the animal products.

“Bacon” Molasses Sweet Potato Muffins

2 cups self-rising flour

1 ½ cups mashed sweet potatoes, plain

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

2 tablespoons Original Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 cup almond milk (or soy milk)

1 tablespoon Original Bacon Salt (vegan, can be purchased in many grocery stores or online)

2 tablespoons golden flax meal (as an egg substitute)

6 tablespoons water

OPTIONAL: 1 cup pan-fried hickory tempeh, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix two tablespoons of golden flax meal with six tablespoons of water. It should become the consistency of eggs, which will be used as an egg replacer in this recipe. Add the flour, mashed sweet potatoes, dark brown sugar, molasses, almond milk and Earth Balance. This is also the time you should add the tempeh pieces, if you are using them (it adds texture, almost as if real bacon were in it.)

Mix well and spoon into a greased muffin tin, I used the mini muffin tins that I have. Depending on the size tin you use, bake for 10-18 minutes.

Makes about 20 mini muffins or 10 regular muffins. Enjoy!

July 22, 2011

A Taste of Thai Café: Miami Lakes, FL

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Today I told Jessica I had a craving for something different, so we thought and thought, finally remembering one of our favorite little places right in the heart of Miami Lakes. Outside the restaurant is a charming street filled with jewelry shops, imported clothing and several boutiques and restaurants. Within the restaurant, warm lighting and décor are accented by Bombay-style ceiling fans. The staff is always extremely friendly, as well as the owners (whom I’ve never met, but have seen on the local South Florida show “Check, please! South Florida” starring chef Michelle Bernstein).

Wanting something a little more satisfying than veggie sushi, I opted for the vegetable fried rice and cup of miso soup. I’d never had the fried rice here, but knowing how much I love Vietnamese style fried rice, I was hoping the Thai version would be just as tasty. My first course of miso soup was wonderful. The miso soup here is freshly made, which is a nice change from several “Americanized” sushi, Thai and Japanese restaurants around, and the flavor profile of the tofu, nori and fresh broth was amazing. My main course, the vegetable fried rice, was not quite as tasty as I expected, but still good. It would have been nice to have more fresh vegetables, fried onions and other seasonings. There was a ton of rice! But for the price and location, this is still one of my favorite restaurants lining Main Street and for a $10 lunch of this quality, we will certainly be back.

July 20, 2011

Cinebistro at Dolphin Mall has a Secret Weapon: Chef Justin

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Jessica and I have a taste for the finer things in life: food, wine and movie theatres that are not only 21+ (to keep the rifraff kids out) but also provide plush seating with waiter service. While these things all come at a premium, who really can put a price on comfort?  And Cobb Cinebistro at the Dolphin Mall in Miami, FL certainly knows it. Paying double the normal movie ticket price will bring you not only a movie sans crying babies, but also uniformed servers at your beckoning call, bringing you foodie delights from wonderful Chef Justin and his crew, along with great bar service. “But Ashley,” you say, “there aren’t any real vegan or vegetarian options on the menu!” To that, my dear friends, I send you to Chef Justin.

As head chef at the Cinebistro in the Dolphin Mall, all he needs is a short e-mail requesting an item for your diet and he’ll promise to whip you up something special while you’re visiting. Now, I’m not sure that he really wants me posting his e-mail out there in cyberspace for all the spammers to get ahold of, therefore I leave you with the contact form to Cinebistro (which is how I found him originally anyway) and they will forward it to him right away. Click here to send them an e-mail.

For $10.00 (a steal!) Chef Justin specially made me a veggie sushi roll, each piece enormous enough for three bites. I was starving, so I also ordered a hummus appetizer (on Jessica’s recommendation – I told you she likes the finer things in life, she comes here all the time). The sushi roll was so fresh and delicious, better than any other vegetable sushi I’ve ever had. The hummus is also amazing, so much so that I ordered extra pita to eat every last drop that was on my plate. I’m a salt-a-holic, so the saltiness of the olives they use as a garnish really make the dish spectacular.

Next time you are looking for a great date spot or girl’s night out, Cinebistro is certainly the place to be.

July 20, 2011

Spiny, spiky, oozy – fruit? And as a vegan meat replacement?

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Is it an alligator? It is a lizard? A dinosaur??

No, it’s a jackfruit! The largest tree-born, and arguably most delicious, edible fruit in the world. And when I say large, I mean it. The jackfruit can grow up to a whopping 80 pounds. That’s over 36 kilos of heavy, sweet fruit. While I have seen the jackfruit for much of my life in Florida and throughout the Caribbean, I only recently found out about its use as a meat replacement. And since I really can’t stand many “fake” meats, I knew that I needed to make a dish to see how it tastes.

Ripe, the jackfruit’s texture and flavor is like a banana, mango and pineapple all mixed together. Super sweet and perfect without any dressing. But, unbeknownst to me, the younger, green fruit has a very mild taste, meaning it will absorb flavors almost as well as tofu. What I found out after taking these photos (and making a couple recipes that you will see posted soon) is that, unlike when eating the ripe fruit, the younger fruit can be cut up in its entirety. Just peel off the skin, cut it, marinate it and eat. The ripe fruit you actually peel out the individual pockets of fruit, which are good for eating raw. Don’t try eating the green jackfruit raw, though. It doesn’t taste good and can possibly give you a major stomachache.

I bought my jackfruit from a locally-grown farm here in South Florida. I didn’t want anything too extravagant (and consequently ridiculously expensive) but rather a modest fruit. Well, apparently a modest jackfruit is 9.8 pounds, the smallest they had available. After paying $18 for one fruit, I brought it home and began examining it. I had eaten ripe jackfruit before, but never had the delight of cutting and peeling it myself. Even before peeling the stem began oozing its white liquid on everything, which consequently is actually used as caulking in some Asian countries (yes – it is that sticky and thick). So be prepared for a sticky, messy endeavor if you are trying this yourself. To counteract the stickiness, have a small bowl of oil at the ready for coating hands, cutting boards and your knife.

Cutting the jackfruit is easy, as long as you have a large enough knife. Remember this while purchasing, you’ll need to have a pretty big knife to go through some of the larger jackfruit. It’s possible without, but it creates a lot more work. If you’re eating it ripe, just cut the fruit in fourths, peel away the hard tethers, pull out the seeds and eat the soft fruit. If you’re making a recipe with green jackfruit, I’ve now learned all you need to do is peel off the outer skin and cut. You will still need to take out the seeds, however. In either scenario, the seeds shouldn’t be discarded. Keep them and roast, they have lots of health benefits and are great when added to a trail mix (which, by the way, I have a great recipe for that I’ll be posting soon).

There are a multitude of recipes out there for jackfruit, Asian and otherwise. I’ll be posting a few of mine over the next few days, which include a couple Latin recipes that are completely unique. If you have any questions about the jackfruit, or are looking for a place to purchase in South Florida, please let me know and I’d be glad to help.

 

 

July 15, 2011

Garden Lites has done it again – and with TWO vegan products!

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I recently won Garden Lites’ blog contest, in which I won a month’s supply of Garden Lites products. I was really excited, as not only am I a tremendous fan of their Roasted Vegetable Soufflé, I have been looking forward to trying some of their other products that are not available for purchase at Publix in South Florida.

I was most looking forward to trying their Butternut Squash Soufflé, which I had seen on their website, but lo and behold I was blown away by their Zucchini Marinara. I’ve heard a lot about zucchini pasta and have been saving up to buy a vegetable spiralizer myself,  so when I saw this product in my prize I couldn’t wait to try it. Not only is it vegan, which I’m leaning more and more towards lately, but it is just like eating pasta marinara without the heavy caloric content. Fresh, crunchy zucchini noodles are enveloped in an amazing sweet marinara sauce that is absolutely divine. I can’t imagine homemade tasting better than this. Now all I need is for my local Publix to carry it! So if anyone is a Publix executive or knows one, please let them know!

The Butternut Squash Soufflé also certainly did not disappoint. It is heavier than the Roasted Vegetable that I like so much, but that was to be expected. I think this one is something I could share equally as a side dish rather than eating an entire one next time. But the rich flavor is what makes it so delicious, so I’m more than happy to try and stuff it down all by myself =)

Overall, I’m even more impressed (if that is possible) with Garden Lites after trying their full line of products, my absolute favorites still being the Roasted Vegetable Soufflé, Zucchini Marinara (VEGAN), Zucchini Portabella (VEGAN) and the Butternut Squash Soufflé. Thank you Garden Lites for this wonderful, and unexpected, prize! You certainly have made a huge fan out of me!

June 22, 2011

Healthy Detox Snack: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Day 2 and 3 of our Detox Diet (click here to see our Detox Confessions page) have so far been super easy with the help of advance planning and some creative snack ideas. Yesterday I decided that I needed some veggies to snack on, but I didn’t want the normal carrot sticks or celery, I wanted something with more taste and nutrition. So I picked up a few bags of Brussels sprouts and decided I would roast them, and then keep them around in the refrigerator for snacks.

The recipe is super simple, fresh and healthy.

Ingredients

1 lb Brussels sprouts

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp garlic powder

Olive oil spray, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and move the top rack to the highest position.  Spray to coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray, set aside. In a large bowl mix the sprouts, salt, garlic powder and a little olive oil spray until the sprouts are evenly coated. Pour onto the baking sheet and place on top rack in the oven. Bake 10-15 minutes, shaking the rack every five minutes to evenly roast. They are done once evenly browned.

Serves 4-6.

These are great as snacks or a side dish. For the past two days, I’ve kept a freezer bag full of them next to me for munching on my allotted snack times. While they are certainly best fresh from the oven, they are still good the next day.

Enjoy!

June 17, 2011

Delicious, Delightful and Sinful Plantain Tortas

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I am in love with the Global Table Adventure blog. I am addicted to her recipes, her rich writing and her adorable daughter. Yesterday I saw her recipe for sweet plantain tortas and I just knew I needed to make them, the sooner the better.

I left work and went straight to the market, picking up the ingredients and rushing home to start making my little masterpieces. I am no stranger to empanadas, I’ve probably made at least a few thousand in my lifetime, between home cooking and working in several restaurants. But I’d never heard of making dough out of plantains for empanadas, or tortas, as they are called in some countries. So I gathered up my ingredients, setup my laptop in the kitchen on Global Table’s website and got to cooking.

I followed the directions religiously, taking time and care in every little step to ensure they came out perfect. And perfect they were. My boyfriend came home and devoured quite a few, and the next morning my coworkers and I enjoyed the rest. They are gooey, greasy goodness to the last bite. Are they vegetarian? Yes. Are they vegan? They certainly can be, just substitute Earth Balance for the butter and your favorite vegan cheese for the filling. Or you can try filling with vegetables, which would also be tasty.

Thank you, Global Table Adventure, for your amazing blog. I am your number one fan!

For the recipe, visit http://globaltableadventure.com/2011/06/16/recipe-plantain-cheese-turnovers-tortas-de-platano/

%d bloggers like this: