Posts tagged ‘Food’

May 7, 2013

Healthy Authentic Vegetarian Palestinian/Israeli Breakfast: Shakshuka

by ashley

Healthy Authentic Vegetarian Palestinian/Israeli Breakfast: ShakshukaOriginally a Tunisian dish, Shakshuka is now served throughout the middle east and most popularly in Israel. There are many Israeli and Palestinian restaurants that serve Shakshuka, a rich egg and tomato dish which is traditionally a breakfast food (although I eat it just about any time of the day!).

The ingredients are surprisingly simple and despite its popularity through the middle east, it rarely strays from this simple recipe of eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper. In order to make it as authentic as possible, you will need a nice cast iron pan to cook and serve it.

The way I like to make Shakshuka is actually quite a bit healthier, as I cut down on the oil by a lot. You can also cut calories and cholesterol by using only egg whites or taking half of the yolks out. Being that I don’t eat it very often, I usually keep a whole egg and just lower the olive oil. It still tastes delicious. I also love that it is traditionally vegetarian, so there are no substitutions necessary to experience the authentic meal. In order to make this vegan, all you would need to do is omit the eggs and substitute a tofu scramble.

Healthy Authentic Vegetarian Palestinian/Israeli Breakfast: Shakshuka

Serves 4

Cast Iron Pan

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup chopped sweet peppers

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon whole cumin

Pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste

4 eggs

Heat olive oil in cast iron pan over medium heat. Once the oil has coated the bottom of the pan, add the onions and garlic. Allow to sauté until translucent and starting to caramelize. Add the sweet peppers and mix until they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and sauté for another few minutes until they begin to break up. Add the tomato paste and spices, stir to incorporate. Allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring gently. Once the mixture is fragrant, gently drop the eggs onto the top of the mixture to poach in the juices. Remove from heat and serve in the cast iron pan.

This can be served as is, or more traditionally with white flat bread. Enjoy!

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April 30, 2013

SoFla Healthy Vegetarian Meal Delivery: ECO Healthy Meals

by ashley

2nd UPDATE 31st July 2014: I’ve just come off the phone with Eco Healthy and they have confirmed that they are no longer in business.

UPDATE 31st July 2014: Unfortunately ECO Healthy Meals stopped delivering to many areas of South Florida last year and I haven’t been able to try them again. Their prices have also been increased to $24-29 per day for their meal plans, which is now on par with many other meal delivery services. I have written a message to the owner to ask if they expect to start delivering to more areas in South Florida again, I will let you know once I receive a response!

Despite trying several different healthy food delivery services throughout South Florida, I’ve never found anything that impressed me enough to justify the extra cost. I enjoy cooking at home and usually can create meals that please me, and my family, without much effort. However, I would like to continue losing weight (I have kept off the 16lbs I lost originally!) and if a meal service could help with this, I’m all for trying it.

The price is what first drew me to ECO Healthy Meals. They are significantly less expensive than any other meal delivery service (save for greasy home-style cantina delivery services, which, of course, are not healthy). Jessica wanted to give them a try because she has no time for cooking with the new baby boy, and I decided I would try out lunch delivery for calorie reduction. At $9.99 USD per day for lunch it isn’t exactly cheap, but the food is very high quality. Larger packages can be purchased and reduce the price down to $8.49 USD per day.

Here is this week’s lunch menu, for an idea of what they offer. Each week you must choose your lunches, and they do offer omnivorous options, so you have to ensure you choose the vegetarian options. It doesn’t appear that they have an alternative vegetarian choices, so you get what they have mostly. I had a slight issue with menu selection, however the owner, Lionel, resolved this for me within a day.

MONDAY

Tofu, tomato and portobello napoleon with basil cream sauce

Mediterranean farro salad

Kale croquette

Flowerless chocolate cake

TUESDAY

Red wine braised mushrooms

Roasted butternut squash

Spinach salad with honey mustard sauce

Ricotta tart

WEDNESDAY

Baked eggplant with Portuguese sauce

Saffron Idaho potatoes

Tomatoes and onions salad with no oil balsamic vinaigrette

Strawberry cheesecake

THURSDAY

Wild mushrooms stroganoff sauce

Spatzle

Watercress salad with no oil ranch dressing

Fruit merlot

FRIDAY

Sesame crusted soy nuggets with soy reduction

Stir fried rice

Mango slaw salad

White chocolate pudding

I have already tried the tomato and portobello napoleon, which was quite delicious. I really enjoy large pieces of portobello mushroom and these were grilled nicely. Last week was my absolute favorite meal: the vegetable lasagna. I hope they feature this again. Today I had the red wine braised mushrooms, which were nice, but I had hoped it would have been seasoned a bit better. The desserts have been very good, with a few being spectacular (namely the apple muffin from last week and the flowerless chocolate cake). Overall the food is of good quality with a few star dishes, which is a lot more than I can say for other delivery services I’ve tried.

Yaribel, our delivery driver, is so sweet and let us take a look at the Prius ECO Healthy Meals uses. It is a great way to deliver their message of environmental awareness, along with the compostable containers and utensils they provide. This is the first service I’ve seen of its kind in South Florida. Check out their website at http://www.ecohealthymeals.com/

 

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April 24, 2013

Anniversary (and Earth Day!) Giveaway 2013

by ashley

***UPDATED – NO PHOTOS NEEDED! JUST TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU LIKE TO VOLUNTEER!

Visit our Facebook Page to enter!

Announcing the Two Year Anniversary (and Earth Day) Giveaway!
We are giving away a $30 gift certificate to VeganEssentials.com, with over 1200 different all-vegan items to choose from. A winner will be randomly chosen from our readers who complete the following steps:

1. Like us on Facebook
2. Share the post with your friends
3. Tell us on Facebook about where you like to volunteer!

“The highest of distinctions is service to others.”
King George IV (1762-1830); King Of Great Britain, Ireland And Hanover

A winner will be announced on Friday, 03rd May 2013!

April 19, 2013

Announcing the TWO year anniversary of Veg On The Run!!

by ashley

It’s been such an amazing journey getting to know so many new things about food, health and people from around the world. We thank each and every one of our readers, new and old friends, for sharing this incredible journey with us.

We will be doing another anniversary giveaway to show our appreciation. Please check back next week for the details!

In the meantime, we have truly enjoyed getting to know all of you and hope to hear from you more often. Let us know what you like, or even don’t like, about us! We have thick skin, we can take it 😉

Hope to hear from you soon! Don’t forget to check out our Twitter and Facebook pages too!

https://www.facebook.com/VegOnTheRun

https://twitter.com/vegontherun

January 4, 2013

GoPicnic Hummus+Crackers Vegan Ready-to-Eat Meal

by ashley

GoPicnic Vegan Hummus+CrackersI found the cutest pre-packaged lunch today – GoPicnic hummus+crackers. It reminds me of what a healthy American-style bento box might be, which I’ve always wanted to make for myself yet never found the time. It comes with several individually packaged snacks, which can be eaten together or spaced throughout the day. Because everything is well packaged, nothing needs refrigeration (including the hummus), which means you can literally bring this anywhere. I have travelling on the brain right now because of my trip next week, so I’m thinking this would make an awesome meal to bring in your GoPicnic Vegan Hummus+Crackerscarry-on. No more nasty airplane meals! You could also bring this camping, on long car rides…so many possibilities. The variety I chose, hummus+crackers, is only 400 calories total, making it a great lunch/mid-day snack. I’m on a lower calorie diet right now (between 1200-1300 calories per day), so this fits well into the middle of my day. I have been snacking on it for a couple of hours now and feel completely satisfied.

GoPicnic Vegan Hummus+CrackersThey have two 100% vegan varieties to choose from: hummus+crackers and sunbutter+crackers. I found them in my local Nutrition S’mart with a $1 off coupon, bringing the price to just $2.89. That’s an amazing deal for such a healthful and filling meal. I’m excited to try the sunbutter one next time!

 

 

 

You can see their vegan offerings here : http://www.gopicnic.com/Special-Diets/Vegan-Meals

January 2, 2013

100% Natural Chiquita Super Crunchy Fruit Chips

by ashley

Chiquita Super Crunchy Fruit ChipsI’ve never been a huge fan of commercially made dehydrated or freeze dried fruits. Usually they taste like cardboard and are loaded with preservatives, which completely negates any health benefits. So I was torn as to what to snack on while at my conference next week (will be flying off to Denver), while still maintaining my diet. Yes, I know – so cliché, I’m dieting in January LOL. Wandering the crowded aisles of my local Walmart (tough times call for budgeting!) I was super excited to find these cute, individual 45 calorie packets of Chiquita Fruit Chips. The ingredients are so simple, literally just pineapple. Yup, that’s it. No chemicals, no oils, no sugar. Just the fruit of choice.

Chiquita Super Crunchy Fruit Chips - PineappleThey have three varieties: pineapple, mango and banana. I grabbed a pack of six individual baggies: three banana and three pineapple. So far I’ve only tried the Pineapple, but they were so tasty I knew I wanted to share it with our readers. Chiquita says on the package that they are “100% air-crisped fruit, never fried or freeze-dried”, and the end product definitely shows the care they took in preparing them. While not quite like dehydrated fruit, which I love when executed properly, these are crispier. This makes them a great alternative to fat-laden chips, and also healthier being that there are no added ingredients. There is the obvious sweetness of the fruit, mingled with the satisfying crunch and the fruit “re-hydrates” in your mouth while chewing, giving a great finish. The 45 calorie snack bags are also unbelievably satiating, even for heavy appetites like mine!

Chiquita Super Crunchy Fruit Chips - Pineapple Nutrition FactsIf you can’t find them in grocery stores, you can also purchase them on Amazon (albeit larger containers):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chiquita+super+crunchy+fruit+chips&sprefix=chiquita+super+c%2Caps%2C177

Healthy, delicious and 100% natural – a wonderful pre-packaged snack! Great for kid’s lunches, road tripping and even detoxing!

December 19, 2012

Kitchens of India Black Gram Lentils Curry (Dal Bukhara)

by ashley

BlackGramLentilsCurryAffordable, quick, nutritious and delicious – when I need to whip something up fast for lunch, dinner or even a snack, Kitchens of India’s Black Gram Lentils Curry (Dal Bukhara) is one of my favorite options. Even my meat-loving better half loves this as a snack with warm naan.

A 1/2 cup is only 150 calories, and the preparation couldn’t be simpler. Cut the package open, heat in a pan or microwave, and serve with bread or rice. Garlic naan is my favorite combination.

Once opened, store in the refrigerator in a sealed tupperware – I like to take some for lunch the next day.

KitchensofIndia Black Lentils Curry

December 10, 2012

Vegan Kofta Curry from Tandoor Chef Frozen Meals

by ashley

ImageWith the piquant tastes of India, Tandoor Chef has quickly become one of my favorite fast meal options. Healthier than normal Indian-American restaurant fare (no cream, less oil), yet with the same flavors and textures, Tandoor Chef has done a great job with their frozen meal lines. Even the rice tastes fresh, which is hard to find in a frozen meal. The portion sizes are great, and while the calories are a little higher than your normal frozen diet meal, they are also a lot more nutritious. I also love that the company is based here in the United States.

A fair warning for anyone not used to curry or Indian cuisine – the food has quite a spicy edge to it. I think it’s great, and I usually am sensitive to spice, however it can make my eyes water just a bit when biting into the Kofta. Great for awakening the senses, which can help beat my after lunch lull at work.

ImageThis particular meal, the Kofta (Vegetable Dumpling) Curry comes with channa masala (which is chickpeas in a tomato sauce) and spinach basmati pilaf. The pilaf is the savior to your taste buds after biting into the deliciously spicy Kofta. The ingredients are simple, with extremely few preservatives.

INGREDIENTS: KOFTA CURRY – water, tomatoes (tomatoes, tomato juice, sale, calcium chloride, citric acid), onions, squash, spices, olive oil, chickpea flour, canola oil, wheat flour, carrot, soy protein isolate, wheat farina, salt, garlic, turmeric, sugar, cabbage, green peppers, baking soda, paprika oleoresin. CHANNA MASALA – onions, water, tomatoes (tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, calcium chloride, citric acid), chickpeas, olive oil, spices, garlic, salt canola oil, mango powder, turmeric. SPINACH BASMATI PILAF – water, basmati rice, onions, spinach, carrots, olive oil, spices, garlic, sugar, turmeric.

There are 400 calories in the 283g meal, with 19g of fat and 10g of protein.

*I purchased this product directly from Publix and have not been asked nor paid to write a review for this company.

August 30, 2012

Ethos Vegan Kitchen: An Affordable Vegan Gem in Central Florida

by ashley

There is hope for Central Florida’s dining scene after all – a late night vegan option on a Sunday! We were driving through the streets of Winter Park at 10:00 PM on a Sunday, scouring Yelp for something yummy, healthy and OPEN. When finally I stumbled upon Ethos Vegan Kitchen, I knew instantly that we had to try it. Ethos Vegan Kitchen has been in Central Florida since 2007, although recently moving to Winter Park from Downtown Orlando. They have a large, welcoming dining area and are open seven days a week until 11:00 PM. They also serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays – which I’m excited to try the next time I’m in Orlando.

If you are vegan, you must try this restaurant. If you are not vegan, you must try this restaurant. If you are a beer drinking, steak devouring man, you must try this restaurant. Ethos Vegan Kitchen is the epitome of vegan-conversion restaurants. Bring your whole family here, they will be amazed that there are absolutely no animal products in the dishes. Ethos has a great FAQ section on their website, where they explain that they aren’t interested in converting you. Believe me, you won’t need to be persuaded with food this delicious.

According to the reviews online, and Ethos’ menu, the most popular menu items are their “What’s the Dilly, Philly?”, a philly cheese-seitan sandwich, and the Pecan Encrusted Eggplant, which we tried cheerfully. We opted for the garlic knots as an appetizer and a vegan beer to drink. The biggest compliment my longtime boyfriend gave was that he couldn’t even tell the food was vegan. Coming from a big meat-rice-and-beans guy, that is a huge accomplishment for Ethos.


Oh, the garlic knots ($3.95) – I will be dreaming of you. Who cares if I had to down a pack of Altoids after, every bite was worth it. A great opening dish, the garlic knots are fluffy, garlicky rolls served with a simple butter sauce.

The “What’s the Dilly, Philly?” ($8.75), a crusty roll filled with grilled onions, red and green peppers, mozzarella cheese, veganaise and succulent marinated seitan. Absolutely, deliciously addictive. We took half home and it was even better the next morning for breakfast. Just pop it in the toaster oven, it gets gooey all over again.

Skip the Tofurky next Thanksgiving and go to Ethos – the Pecan Encrusted Eggplant ($12.95) tasted like Thanksgiving on a plate. Crispy eggplant drizzled with a sweet red wine reduction, served with the daily vegetable (I got asparagus) and mashed potatoes. I’ll ask for a bit more red wine sauce next time, which was my only complaint.  The sauce was so good, I wanted every bite of eggplant to have some.

I’m really excited to come back for brunch – and a few more times for lunch/dinner to try some of the other menu items. You just cannot beat the price compared to the quality of the food, coupled with the amazing ambience and location. I also loved reading Ethos’ website, seeing how dedicated the owners Laina and Kelly are to their business and their employees. Please, Laina and Kelly, bring your amazing food to Miami – we need an affordable vegan restaurant down here!

Ethos Vegan Kitchen

601-B New York Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

http://www.ethosvegankitchen.com/

June 12, 2012

Discovering Indian Cuisine at Mint Indian Brasserie

by ashley

Everything seems to be more vibrant and intense in India, dizzyingly colorful and filled with rich scents and spices. My interest was initially piqued by their beautiful clothing, especially their tunics and accessories, which were things I could easily wear. Despite years of searching for exotic clothing and décor, I had never actually set foot in an Indian restaurant. Maybe it was my aversion to spicy food, maybe it is just the fact that there extremely few Indian restaurants in Miami, but before this weekend, the extent of my experience with Indian food was limited to frozen foods. Jessica loves Indian food and we had been planning to have an Indian-themed lunch for quite some time, so when a coupon on LivingSocial popped in my inbox for a new upscale Indian restaurant in Brickell, I knew we had to try it.

Mint Leaf Brasserie in Brickell (Financial District, Downtown Miami, FL) is relatively new to the downtown scene, although their original restaurant in Coral Gables has been established since 2008. It is definitely an upscale version of Indian food, and quite possibly not the best choice for an introduction to the cuisine, but all the same we enjoyed it tremendously. While there was some haggling to be done to actually use the coupon they had advertised with LivingSocial, the food itself was wonderful. We visited the restaurant at noon on a quiet Sunday, we were the only patrons in the entire establishment for most of our meal. Being that all the items on the menu were foreign to me, we opted for their vegetarian thali, meaning plate in Hindi. A thali is an array of traditional dishes served as a platter, typically consisting of rice, vegetables, curd, chutney, dhal (pureed lentils, chickpeas or other starchy vegetable), a sweet dish and bread.

A vegetarian thali at Mint Leaf Brasserie costs $35 per person and includes vegetable bhajjia, tandoori paneer, sooki sabsi, dal makhani, channa masala, Bombay aloo, pillau rice, naan and a choice of either kofta or makhani mattar paneer for your main entrée. If you are anything like me, most of this sounds like gibberish, but fear not as it is all wonderfully delicious. My favorite was most definitely the kofta, which is vegetables and grains made into a paste, and then formed into balls. They are then simmered in a spicy sauce, absorbing the flavors and becoming very soft. They are excellent when scooped with a thick piece of naan (grilled flatbread).

While the prices may be a bit higher than you would pay on average for a Sunday lunch, the experience is priceless. In one afternoon I feel I have learned a tremendous amount about Indian cuisine, the tastes that I favor and feel much more confident venturing out to another Indian restaurant. If you are in the Brickell or Coral Gables area during the weekdays for lunch, they also have a smaller portion thali for only $14.50.

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